Having realised that profiteroles and eclairs can be seriously tasty and flavoursome after watching the most recent episode of Great British Bake Off, and not just filled with cream as seems to be the norm with those found in local bakeries, I was inspired to try my hand at choux pastry in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen.
Choux pastry, or choux paste as our elderly neighbour - a retired baker who once baked for big names like Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother! - refers to it, isn't a recipe which I regularly make. In fact, until this past weekend, I've only made it the once before! You see, as a child when we visited bakeries for a treat I always veered away from eclairs and profiteroles because they were filled with cream - a product that I particularly disliked as a child and which I'm still not overly fond of. So making my own choux paste and understanding this pastry, which is cooked on the hob as well as in the oven, wasn't high on my list to 'master' to become part of my repertoire.
These raspberry and white chocolate profiteroles were seriously delicious having been filled with a white chocolate creme patissiere (just like these raspberry and white chocolate tarts and our raspberry and white chocolate mini trifles) and then topped with a pretty pink raspberry water icing and finished with a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberries which I picked up from our local Sainsbury's supermarket.
I mean, who doesn't love the fabulous flavour combination of raspberry & white chocolate?!
Now, with profiterole recipes not being part of my repertoire, I turned to one of my favourite pastry chefs, James Martin, for some choux pastry hints and tips. As luck would have it, back in the summer I recorded an episode of Saturday Kitchen Best Bites where James Martin shared his choux pastry recipe masterclass! There were tips about not allowing the water to boil thus reducing its volume and therefore affecting the ratio due to evaporation, to listening for a quiet popping sound when the paste is cooked on the hob (this sound apparently comes from the gluten) and the consistency you're aiming for when the eggs are added. I include these tips in my printable profiterole recipe, below.
The missing piece of information I needed was what sort of flour to use when making choux pastry. You see, the recipes I looked at had used different flours (even James Martin seemed to switch his flour in different recipes!). Some listed plain flour in the ingredients and others strong white bread flour. Some months ago I even came across a discussion on Twitter about this very subject! So not being totally sure as to what type to use, but guessing that a good gluten content was important given that it created a 'popping' noise when the choux paste is cooked out on the hob, I chose to use a 50 / 50 mix of bread flour and plain flour.
So, here's how to make Raspberry & White Chocolate Profiteroles.
treat for afternoon tea! This profiterole recipe is filled with a white chocolate creme
patissiere, glazed with a pretty pink raspberry water icing and finished with a
sprinkling of freeze dried raspberries.
Hands on time: 45 mins Bake time: 30 mins Yield: about 15 Profiteroles
2 x Piping Bags
1 x 1cm plain Piping Nozzle (see note a below)
1 x long nose Piping Nozzle (see note b below)
For the Choux Pastry
- 133ml Cold Water
- 13g Caster Sugar
- 56g Unsalted Butter
- 37g Plain Flour
- 40g Strong White Bread Flour
- small pinch of Salt
- 2 Medium Eggs, lightly beaten
For the White Chocolate Creme Patissiere
- 200ml Double Cream
- 200ml Milk
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 100g Caster Sugar
- 40g Cornflour
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 70g White Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
For the Raspberry Icing
- 200g Icing Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Raspberry Jam, seedless
- about 4g Freeze-Dried Raspberry Pieces
Notes a) A 1cm piping nozzle would make piping your choux buns easier, but if you don't have one simply pipe them without a nozzle (as we did!). Just cut a suitable size hole in your piping bag. b) A long nose piping nozzle (the type used for filling doughnuts) will make filling the choux buns with the creme patissiere easier, but a plain piping nozzle poked into the bun will still work.