Cream Puff Masterclass
Choux Pastry Masterclass: Eclairs, Profiteroles, Paris Brest
500 ml milk
5 ml vanilla essence/extract
5 egg yolks
100g castor sugar
2.5 ml salt
160g cake flour
150g semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Place the milk on the heat in a medium size pot, preferably a heavy base saucepan. Add the vanilla essence and bring to the boil. Heating the milk with the vanilla will result in a better infusion.
- While the milk is heating up, make a slurry with the cornstarch, egg yolks, and castor sugar. This will prevent any lumps from forming in the final mixture.
- Once the milk has been scalded, temper the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour the mixture back into the pot and return to the heat, whisking constantly. The mixture will start to thicken after about 3 minutes, or longer depending on the heat of the stove. Once it is bubbling and the whisk leaves marks in the thick pudding-like liquid, both the eggs and cornstarch are cooked out.
- Strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve. This process ensures a smooth end product.
- Using a whisk, incorporate the cold butter one piece at a time into the hot pastry cream. Cover the surface of the liquid with cling wrap, this will prevent the mixture from forming a skin. Place in the fridge to cool down.
- Once the mixture is cold, whisk the cream to medium peak stage. Fold the cream into the pastry cream in three parts. Make sure the cream is fully incorporated without knocking out too much air. Scoop some of the mixture into a piping bag ready to fill the pastry products.
Preheat oven to 190C/375F
- In a heavy base pot bring the butter, water, and milk to a rapid boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling turn off the heat and add in the flour and salt. Using a spatula, vigorously stir the paste until the mixture starts to come away from the sides. This is called a panade.
- Transfer the panade to the KitchenAid bowl. With the paddle attachment, mix on a medium speed until the mixture cools down, about 5 minutes. This can be gauged by feeling the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Whisk the eggs and gradually add to the choux paste, pausing between each addition. Mix on medium-high for about 5 minutes. The paste is ready if you scoop up some of the mixture and it forms a deep ‘V’ shape on a spatula or the paddle attachment.
- Place mixture into a piping bag with 1 cm tip. Keep a cup of water with a small offset spatula to the side to neatly cut off the choux paste after piping each ‘shape’.
- On a tray lined with parchment paper, pipe out the desired shapes.
- Sprinkle the tray with water. The water will create steam in the oven, resulting in a better rise. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the choux are golden brown.
- Cool the puffs and poke holes in the bottom of each puff to allow the steam to escape. Cool completely before filling with the pastry cream.
- Assemble choux pastry by filling them completely with the pre-made pastry cream.
- Make the ganache topping. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and in 15 second intervals melt in the microwave, stirring between each interval until a glossy chocolate liquid is achieved.
- Carefully dip each choux (eclair or profiterole) into the melted chocolate. Set on a serving platter and enjoy!