Happy New Year!

I’d like to begin by wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and safe new year! Hope everyone had a great time over the holidays. 😀

2014 was a special year for me. I started to blog and met some amazing people along the way! The journey at school has been challenging and inspiring for me nonetheless. It would have been difficult without your encouragement to say the least!

I’ve made some things I would not have dared to try otherwise. I made the traditional French wedding cake, “The Croquembouche”. Apparently the name means, crunch in mouth. That’s it!
The first step in making the croquembouche is to make the chouquettes, the petit choux.
Next, making the nougatine shapes, to hold the choux tower. Working with nougatine can be quite tricky and one must be careful so as to not burn one’s fingers!

Shaping the nougatine :

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Building the tower without a cone:
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Ta Da…..

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The Christmas special buche:

Buche Coffee: Sponge with coffee butter cream

The traditional Xmas Buche

The traditional Xmas Buche

Buche Maracaibo :
Chocolate sponge with a vanilla cream, chocolate parfait and salted shorbread covered with a chocolate glaze!
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Buche Alaska:
Dacquois biscuit, with praline, lemon curd, red fruit jelly covered in milk chocolate mousse and glazed with white chocolate!

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Taking these over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday!
Bon Apetit!

Raspberry Religieuse

Religieuse, which typically means a nun represented by two choux buns, one the head and the other the body.

The Religieuse, presented here reminds me more of a bride than a nun. I am sure you would agree. 🙂
They taste as delicious as they look pretty. I also prefer to use the crumble on top of the choux as it evens out any edges and the choux puffs up uniformly.

The choux buns are filed with a smooth, creamy, delicious pastry cream. They can be decorated as per one’s own preference. Here they have been decorated with pieces of tempered chocolate and buttercream.

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Ingredients:

Raspberry Pastry Cream:

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Raspberry Puree or any fruit puree of your choice 1000 g
Eggs 90 g (2)
Egg yolks 100 g (3)
Sugar 150 g
All purpose flour 50g
Corn Starch/Custard Powder 50g
Vanilla Bean 1
Butter 100g, softened

Instructions:
1. Boil the raspberry puree with half the sugar and the scraped vanilla bean. Keep whisking continuously so that it does not burn.
2. In a bowl whisk the eggs, yolks and the remaining sugar. Add the custard powder and flour, whisk together.
3. As soon as the puree boils, pour one-third of it over the eggs mixture and whisk quickly.
4.Put it back into rest of the puree and heat until it comes to a boil. It is important to keep whisking continuously and quickly the cream so that it does not burn.
5. Once the cream comes to a boil, cook for 1 minute ONLY and remove immediately from heat.
6. Add sofetened butter gradually to the cream and whisk continuously until smooth.
6. Remove in a bowl, wrap with plastic onto the surface of the cream and chill.

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Choux Pastry:

Recipe, click Here. Pipe small and larger choux for the top and base respectively. Egg wash the choux.

Crumble for the choux topping:

Butter 80g, softened
Brown Sugar 100g
Flour 100g
Food coloring

Mix all the ingredients like a dough. Roll it out between 2 silicon sheets or baking paper.
Freeze it.

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Cut into round shapes and place over piped choux just before baking. Bake at 180C like the regular choux.

Assembly:

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Pipe the choux with pastry cream by making a hole on the bottom.

Place the smaller choux onto the larger one and decorate with chocolate discs.

Bon Apetit!

Taking these over to Angie’s fiesta friday! 🙂

Eclairs, Chouquettes & Religeusse

Choux Pastry.

Well, it’s said that this is the basic pastry every chef must have in his or her repertoire. More or less, it is the type of pastry that can be mastered with practice. It is neither easy nor difficult to make a good choux.

Recipe for Pate a Choux:

Ingredients:

Water 250g
Salt 5g
Sugar 5g
Butter 125g
Flour 150g
Eggs 220g (4-5)

Instructions:
1. Heat the water, salt, sugar and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from the flame, add the sifted flour.
3. Mix well with a spatula and put it back on the flame for 20 seconds until the mass moves in the saucepan just by moving the pan.
4. Add the eggs little by little and keep mixing with a spatula until the dough is smooth and shiny.

How do you know that the pate a choux is perfect ?

Make an indentation with your finger, the dough should not fall back.
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The method i prefer to use is the hook method. Take some dough on your finger, if it curves into a hook it is ready. 🙂
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To pipe the choux use piping bag and pipe the choux onto a lightly buttered baking tray.

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For the choux to bake evenly, eggwash or brush with melted, clarified butter with a brush and push down the point of the choux without deflating the piped choux. Bake at 180C with the door open slightly.

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NOTES:
1. Water can be replaced by milk in a 50:50 proportion.
2. If the eggs are not enough, the baked product will be soft.
3. It is important to leave the door of the oven slightly open so that the steam created can escape. Else, the steam once rises will fall on the choux and it will collapse.

CHOUQUETTES :

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Pipe the pate a choux in a round shape and sprinkle with sugar grains and bake immediately.

CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE ECLAIRS:

Pipe the pate a choux into eclairs and bake at 180C.
Pierce the underside of each éclair 3 times with the tip of a pointed nozzle, and gently pipe pastry cream into the éclair as you do so.

For the recipe of pastry cream, click here.

Glaze with chocolate and coffee fondant.

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RELIGIEUSES :

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Pipe smaller and big rounds on a baking tray.

Once baked, glaze with the fondant and top the smaller ones on the bigger choux. Decorate with coffee buttercream.


There are so many things you can do with choux pastry. So many flavors to play with. I want to share with you all the things I saw and tasted at some of the top patisseries in Paris.

It’s always tricky to get a regular shaped choux and I have noticed that all the famous patisseries in Paris use a crumble topping on the choux to give it an even and uniform look. Also, checkout eclairs and religuesses at the famous patisseries in Paris :

Pierre Herme’s famous ispahan :

Rose flavored pastry cream with litchi

Rose flavored pastry cream with litchi

From top Left to Right: patisserie de l'eglise , Laduree, Carl Marletti, Carette

From top Left to Right: patisserie de l’eglise , Laduree, Carl Marletti, Carette

Eclairs covered with marzipan and neutral glaze by Arnaud Larher

Eclairs covered with marzipan and neutral glaze by Arnaud Larher

Last, but not the least Philippe Conticini’s La Patisserie Des Reves take on chocolate eclair:

Chocolate eclair enclosed in chocolate

Chocolate eclair enclosed in chocolate

Next post, I will be sharing the recipe for Raspberry Religuesse!

Chocolate Eclairs

As I was raiding my fridge today I realized I still had some of the orange mint curd leftover from Sunday. I was wondering whether it was time to toss it into the bin, but my heart did not approve of it! While i was contemplating what I should make out of it I realized that I do not have a choux pastry on my blog yet. For any baker, choux pastry is the basic, most important to master. I wouldn’t go to the lengths of saying I have mastered it, but I have a basic grasp of it.

I first tried it about 2 years back using Michel Roux’s recipe, however it did not work out as well for me. I then gave Raymond Blanc’s recipe a go and voila! I made my first batch of edible, good looking choux puffs. I always used his recipe whenever I wanted to make choux pastry and this time I thought of experimenting with a different one.
Here, I have used Christophe Felder’s recipe which is similar to Raymond’s with the exception of milk and lesser use of eggs. It is a good recipe and my second favorite now.

Here too, I have paired my orange curd with chocolate in the form of chocolate eclairs, which turned out to be a brilliant thing if I may say so myself. It leaves a subtle orange flavor back of the throat which is quite refreshing.

I have a strange weakness for these eclairs. While paying the check at a patisserie, I usually end up asking them for chocolate eclairs without even having an inkling. Maybe, it’s bred deep into my sub-conscious mind. haha
I would gorge on croissants and these bundles of joy while i was in Paris for days at a stretch as if the world was going to end 😉

Yours Truly having breakfast ;)

Yours Truly having breakfast 😉

I shall try the same recipe again and hopefully post some different version of the eclairs!

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Ingredients :

Choux Pastry :

125 ml water
55 g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
70 g plain flour
2-3 eggs
1 egg, for glaze

Orange Mint Curd, recipe please click here

Chocolate Glaze :

120 g dark chocolate
100 ml heavy cream
20 g butter, softened

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Instructions:

Choux Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 170 C (non fan). Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

For the choux pastry, place the water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over a high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, quickly beat in the flour until the mixture is COMPLETELY smooth.
Turn the heat down to medium, return the pan to the hob and cook for about one minute, beating all the time, or until the mixture comes away from the edge of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat and gradually beat in one egg at a time. For the third egg, beat it lightly in another bowl. As much as you need one spoon at a time to make a dough that is very shiny and just falls off the spoon.

Transfer the paste to a large piping bag and let the mixture to cool for about five minutes in the bag to stiffen slightly before you begin the piping. Pipe on the éclairs into 8-10 cm logs or small mounds to make profiteroles.

Bake the éclairs in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until brown, then transfer to a rack and leave to cool.

Chocolate Profiteroles

Chocolate Profiteroles

Chocolate Glaze :
Boil the cream in a saucepan. Meanwhile chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Add half of the boiled milk to the chocolate and whisk well. Add the remaining cream and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the butter.

Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs

Assemble the eclairs :

When you are ready to fill the éclairs, transfer the orange mint curd filling to a piping bag. Pierce the underside of each éclair 3 times with the tip of a pointed nozzle, and gently pipe a little of the filling into the éclair as you do so.

Pipe or brush the glaze onto the top of each éclair, then place in the fridge for the glaze to set before serving.

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There are amazing eclair festivals in Paris which I am so keen to experience… hopefully, some day! 🙂

Bon Apetit

Bon Apetit

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