Thursday, 17 September 2015

Choux Pastry Cream Puffs - with Caramel and Strawberries

I became more than a little adventurous today, deciding to make choux pastry again.  This time I decided on a sort of cream puff, but instead of just whipped cream I decided to put some strawberry slices in as well and then top with a lovely caramel icing, and let it drip down the side a little.

For the choux pastry I read several recipes and decided go with the one on Joy of Baking . But I departed from the recipe for the filling and icing, and also for the size of the buns.

I must say I am very pleased with the result of the bake, though I could have used just a little more cream in the filling.  But since I only had 300ml on hand that is all I could use.  Nevertheless there is ample cream in each bun and the strawberries give a lovely flavour hit, mixing very nicely with the sweet caramel topping.

The recipe below will make six buns of about 3 inches in diameter, which is a great size for one person to really enjoy.
Cream Puff with strawberry slices and caramel icing

Ingredients:
For the choux pastry:
  • 65 g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 57 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 120 ml water
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
For the filling:

  • 300ml double cream
  • six small, ripe, strawberries hulled and sliced into about 4 pieces
  • 2 tbps icing sugar

For the caramel topping:
  • 250g butter
  • 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 70ml double cream
  • 50-100g icing sugar, sifted
Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C/180C Fan) and place rack in center of oven. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly butter or spray the pan with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a bowl sift or whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.

Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. (Make sure that the butter melts before the water boils to reduce the amount of evaporation.) 
Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture, all at once, and stir until combined. 
Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 1-2 minutes). 
Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or use a hand mixer, and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough (about a minute). 
Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs (dough will separate and then come together) and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste (dough will fall from a spoon in a thick ribbon). 
Spoon or pipe 6 mounds of dough, about 2.5 - 3 inches in diameter onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. (you can make smaller if you wish).
Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/160c). Continue to bake for a further 30 to 35minutesor until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are almost dry inside. 
Turn the oven off, poke a couple of holes in each puff and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells completely cool (and dry out). 
To make the sauce, heat the butter, brown sugar and cream  together in a small pan for 5 mins, stirring now and again until silky and smooth. 
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then add the icing sugar and stir to fully combine.  You can vary the amount of icing sugar to obtain the consistency you want.
Whisk the double cream and the 2tbsp icing sugar together until it has thickened and stands up in stiff peaks.
Cut each of the puffs in half and pipe or spoon cream into the base, place slices of strawberry on top of the cream and then add more cream on top of the strawberry slices.
Place the top half of the puff on top of the cream and gently ice with the caramel topping, allowing it to slightly drip down the sides.
Place in the fridge to cool, and until they are to be eaten.  Of course these are best eaten on the day they are made.


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