I love baking in my pyjamas first thing in the morning, before breakfast, whilst the rest of the household is still asleep, unaware of the sweet treats that will greet them. The gentle sounds of the wooden spoon beating against the glass bowl breaking the stillness of the peaceful morning, the aroma of melting butter filling the kitchen with such luxurious richness.
I love choux pastry and after discovering a foolproof recipe, have made it on numerous occasions. It's quick and easy to make, can be frozen and filled, covered and presented in numerous ways.
The recipe comes from a Greek pastry book, "Greek Pastries and Desserts" by Vefa Alexiadou. It has never failed me. My husband loves buying a box of choux pastry puffs filled with cream and topped with crispy caramel from the Greek cake shops every time we visit Greece. I decided that I wanted to learn to make these delightful treats for him to remind him of home... and I've succeeded!
I have filled my choux puffs on this occasion with fresh cream and topped them with dark chocolate ganache.
Such fun to pile them into a big bowl, drizzle over chocolate sauce and top the treasure with delicate chocolate butterflies.
Yields 20 to 40 puffs, depending on the size
You will need:
1 cup water
125g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
- Put the water, butter and salt in a small, deep saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the butter is melted. Turn off the heat and add all the flour at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute, until the mixture forms a solid mass that comes away cleanly from the sides of the pan. Empty the batter into a mixer bowl. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes.
- Then beat the batter with the dough hook, adding the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to incorporate each egg thoroughly. Continue beating until all eggs are added and the ingredients are smoothly blended to a satiny mass that will drop very slowly from the spoon.
- Spoon the batter into a piping bag and pipe the dough into rosettes onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Leave about 3 cm between them.
- Bake at 210° C for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 150º C and bake for 15-20 minutes more to dry out the inside of the pastries. Cool on a wire rack.
Fill with whipped cream (I used a piping bag with a long nozzle attached) to pierce the choux puffs and top with chocolate ganache.
They're lovely to share and impressive to present!