Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What I did on my day off

Besides update once already, I mean.

I spent the afternoon making these: Pate a choux aux framboises.

Aren't they pretty?

Of course, saying that I spent the afternoon doing this makes it sound terribly labour-intensive, and it was really very simple. I had brought home some end-of-the-season raspberries, and was poking around Chocolate and Zucchini when I found this recipe and was instantly inspired. (I am a huge fan of Clotilde's, as you will soon find out - I wish Powell's stocked her cookbook!)

I was too lazy to look up conversions for her recipe, and have yet to get a scale (see my bit about dutch ovens a little earlier today), so I turned to the Joy of Cooking for my recipe and ended up with kind of a mishmash of the two that goes something as follows.

Pate a choux.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a smallish saucepan, combine:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into little pieces
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, and when the bubbles start add all at once:
1/2 cup flour
Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and sticks to itself. It is a very distinctive look. Transfer to a bowl to cool a bit. It will look very unappetizing, but that's okay - it gets better.

After about five minutes, using the same spoon, beat in:
two eggs
Mix until smooth, then drop the dough in generous tablespoonfuls onto a layer of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. They will still look terrible. Do not be discouraged.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes. There will be an amazing transformation during this time:

Now - turn the oven off and let them sit - still in the oven - for an additional 10 minutes. Then pull them out, peel them off of the parchment paper and transfer to the rack that you hopefully own (I don't - again, dutch oven schpeal) and let cool. If you can't resist it, go ahead and eat one now. Matt and I polished off a couple before they ever got filled.

Once they are cool, fill with whipped cream and raspberries (for this version) or anything else that sounds tasty and eat!

The entire experience was very reminiscent of Japan for me, again. In every train station you can find little kiosks selling "shu kurimu," or choux cream - Japanese cream puffs, which I swear are one of the tastiest things you will ever put in your mouth. But if there are no Japanese train stations nearby, give these a shot - they'll do in a pinch.


Lisa said...

So, when you stuff them with whipped cream and raspberries, you just slice the puffs open and put the goodies in like little sandwiches? That's kinda what it looks like in the pics to me.

The delicious, delicious-looking pics.

I'm also curious--do you have your oven for-sure correctly calibrated, or do you use a thermometer, or is there enough wiggle room that it doesn't really matter whether the temp is exactly right? I've always been intimidated by what seems like "fancy baking" 'cause I'm never totally confident in my oven temp. Think this recipe might be a little forgiving?

Another great entry, Shannon!

Shannon said...

Hey Lisa - I was super-intimidated by "fancy baking" myself - that's why I was so thrilled when these came out so nicely! They're really not nearly as difficult as they look like they ought to be.

Yes, you do just slice them open. There will be little cavities inside, where the dough has puffed up and bubbled. And I think my oven tends to run a little hot, though I don't have a thermometer so I'm not sure. I was also worried these might collapse when I opened the oven to check on them, but they didn't, yay!

So yes, I think you do get a little wiggle room in this recipe - just keep a close eye on them and you should be fine! Good luck - let me know how they turn out!

littlebijoux said...

Your cream puffs look gorgeous (Katie here from work, by the way)- I look forward to something as delicious tomorrow!

I created a blog. Check it out! Only one post so far, but I hope you like.

Lisa said...

Well, Shannon, you asked, so here's how it went. As easy as you said, even if mine didn't come out quite perfect on bottom.

Click to see my pics. Especially the glorious final product. Superyum! Thanks for such a lovely, easy recipe, including the suggestion that I not panic when things look a little funky.

claudie said...

Hi shannon
Beautiful cream puffs.
If you fill them with ice cream and spread hot chocolate sauce over it, you will have Profiteroles.
from claudie of albuquerque