Baking to me is a scary thing. Maybe because I’m totally hopeless with measurements and have a limited capacity of patience. Ha Ha. That’s why I have a very strong admiration and respect for bakers. To all the bakers out there, “Continue what you are doing because baking is great!”
This is my third attempt at baking with the first on Japanese Chiffon Cheesecake, then followed by Red Velvet Cupcake. So far, I have been a good girl by following the cardinal rules of baking and the results have been satisfactory.
Cream puffs have been my favourite shopping centre snack. Never missed giving them a bite because of the delicious cream that goops out when bitten into. But why pay when you can make this at home and enjoy with tea and coffee 🙂
So, it was from the addictively superb cooking show, Masterchef Australia, that I found Choux pastry or classically known as Choux bun is the culinary challenge du jour and a very technical skill to perfect at home! I think this is a myth that all pastry chefs wanted us to believe. Choux pastry is actually much easier to make than I thought – it contains only 4 simple ingredients – water, flour, eggs and butter. I followed the recipe and every measurement very carefully. It was daunting since making puffs is the first for me. But you know what? Once the puffs went into the oven, they were rising beautifully! I was very encouraged as the puffs came out just the way I wanted it to be – light and airy.
So, if a beginner baker like me can make it, I’m very sure you can too! Perhaps next time, I might be confident enough to tackle my very own Croquembouche 🙂
Cream Puffs with Chantilly Cream (adapted from Mark Jensen’s The Urban Cook)
Makes 10 Puffs
50g unsalted butter
63g plain flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
icing sugar, for dusting
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
100ml pouring cream (not less than 35% fat)
1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1. Mix the butter and water together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. After the butter has melted, stir in salt and sugar, then remove from the heat.
2. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a loose dough. Return the saucepan to medium heat and continuously stir the dough until the remaining dough come off from the sides. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
3. Crack and add the eggs to the dough one at a time. Make sure you stir the eggs completely into the dough before adding the next one. When all the eggs have been added into the dough, the mixture should look moist and when lifted up with a spoon, it should be elastic and want to drop off slowly from the spoon.
4. Preheat the oven to 220 celsius. Line one baking tray with baking paper. Place a tablespoonful of dough on the baking paper. Ensure you leave a 3-4 cm space between each tablespoon of dough. Repeat the same. Once you’ve completed placing the dough onto the baking tray, bake for 15-20 minutes or until the dough has risen with a nice crisp golden colour on the top. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely.
5. While waiting for the puffs to cool, it’s time to make the puff filling – chantilly cream. I use vanilla bean because of it’s evocative and pure vanilla flavour and fragrance which I love. Using a small knife, split it lengthways and slowly scrape out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Add the seeds (or vanilla extract) to a mixing bowl with cream and icing sugar. Whisk together the ingredients until the mixture turns creamy and stiff. Then, place them into a piping bag and set aside.
6. Once the puffs have cool down completely, cut a small incision on the top or side of the puffs. Then slowly pipe the cream and fill the hollow puffs completely with cream.
7. Line them on a tray and dust with icing sugar. Serve.