Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cream Puffs, Eclairs, and Swans, Oh My!

This is one of my favorite things to make (which is good because we made it about a million times in class).

Pate a choux

ganache dipped cream puff and swan

*all my school recipes are by weight. Buy a small food scale. They rock and are much more accurate that cups and stuff. Think about brown sugar (no that it's in this recipe). Do you pack it? How packed is packed enough or too packed? 4 oz is 4 oz packed or not. Just buy a scale.

16 oz. Water (2 cups)
8 oz. Butter ( um.. one stick? check the label)
1 tsp Salt
12 oz Bread Flour or All-purpose (1 1/2 cups ish, but weight is better)
20 oz eggs (could be about... 10 eggs... ish)

Preheat oven to 375.

Bring water, butter, and salt to a rolling boil. Sift flour and dump into pot all at once. Stir like your life depends on it for 1 minute on the heat. This will form a dense paste and a skin will form on the bottom of your pot.

Put the dough in a mixer (5 quart) and paddle one speed 1 or 2 for a few minutes until it cools down a little. Slowly add the eggs one at a time, and scrape the sides often. You are looking for a smooth shiny paste. sometimes you need less or more eggs than called for. The Pate a choux is ready when you can pull the paddle out and the dough fall in a nice V shape off the paddle or a wooden spoon.

Scoop the Pate a choux into a piping bag and pipe immediately onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a large star tip, pipe large, individual shells (GOOGLE search the image if you don't know what it is), or rosettes (filled in circles). For swans you also pipe the heads using a round tip. For the head and neck it's just piped in almost a question mark shape, creating a small round for the head and pulling it out for the beak. :D just look at the picture and see if you can figure it out.

Once they are piped, brush and egg yolk/water wash on them. 2 yolks/half cup of water should do it. Bake immediately.

Bake at 375 until golden brown and dried through. I must admit, I can't remember how long it takes...Beaks bake very quickly, while shells and rosettes bake longer.

Cream Puffs - Simple poke the bottom with the tip in a pastry bag and fill. or cut in half, fill, and replace top.
Swans - cut shell if half, creating a top and a bottom. Fill the bottom half with Pastry cream. Cut the top in half creating a left and a right wing. Poke the "wings" into the pastry filling to hold. Place the head/neck in the filling in front of the wings.

I don't have pictures of eclairs, but simple pipe a log shape, bake, cut in half, fill, and replace top.

A Pastry Creme recipe will come out next and you can fill them up!

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