my mom used to make these when i was little and i loved loved loved them i kind of totally forgot about them and didn't have any in ages. i always thought they are tricky to make but then my mom taught me the art of making pâte à choux [choux pastry] and actually it is super fast and easy to make. seriously, if you would call me now and tell me you would come over in an hour, i could bake some and they would be done before you even had the chance to knock at the door.
so when i thought about which pasties to make for my birthday party these choux à la crème where the second things i thought of after the galettes aux pomme [apple galettes]. another plus besides super fast and simple was that i could make double the dough and make eclairs with the same dough but different filling.
choux à la crème[makes about 16-20]
pâte à choux
75 g flour
15 g starch
125 ml water
25 g butter
1 pinch salt
about 3 eggs
1 level tsp baking powder
300 g heavy cream
2-3 tsp vanilla sugar
powdered sugar or chocolate ganache
preheat oven to 400°F | 200°C.
in a small bowl mix together flour and starch.
in a small pot bring water, butter and salt to a boil. pull pot off the stove and add flour mixture at once and stir everything together with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.
put pot back onto the stove and "cook" on medium-high heat while constantly stirring for 1 minute. take it off the heat and add dough into a mixing bowl.
let it cool for 1 minute. add one egg and work it in with the wooden spoon. that might seem impossible at first but keep stirring, it will come together. than add the second egg and stir that in as well. whisk the third egg in a little bowl and add just enough of the third egg until your dough is smooth, soft and shiny [it always depends on the size of the eggs. if using large eggs you might not need all 3.] your dough should form peaks when you pull out your spoon and be pipable.
last but not least stir in the baking powder and give your dough a good stir.
now fill dough into a piping bag fitted with a round tip or just snip the tip of a disposable one. pipe your dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. the easiest way to pipe is to hold the piping bag straight up [90° angle to baking sheet] and squeeze dough out until you have a little heap about 1.5 inches wide and 1 inch high, than stop squeezing and pull piping bag up. don't place them too close as they puff up quite a bit while baking. now dip your finger or a little spoon in some water and smooth down the tips and form smooth little heaps of dough.
bake them in the lower third of the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
take them out and let them cool on a wire rack.
whip up the heavy cream and sweeten it with vanilla sugar. fill whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip [like the wilton #230] or snip the tip of your disposable one. poke tip into the bottom of each puff and squeeze in some cream. you can also cut each puff into half and pipe or spoon whipped cream in and put the top back on.
sprinkle your choux à la crème with powdered sugar or dip the top into some ganache.
they are best the day they are baked and filled.
i know they sound a bit intimidating but trust me, they are not that hard and totally worth that elbow grease you need to stir in the eggs.
as i mentioned above, i also made eclairs with the same pâte à choux. i haven't had a chance to take pictures of them as they where all gone by the time i took the pictures of the rest of the pastries. but i will sure make them again and share the exact recipe on here some day soon. i already have requests from my little friends to make some for them.
until tomorrow with some details on how i made my decorations for the party.