This week with Dorie we’re making pâte à choux, a magical pastry that’s cooked twice (once on the stove and once in the oven), puffs, and tastes so light that you think it could be good for you! Ever since I saw a picture of choux swans, I’ve wanted to make them. And this week I had my chance.
Pâte à choux (pronounced “shoe”), also called choux paste, dates back to 1540 and comes from the word “choux”, which means cabbage in French— that’s what pâte à choux looks like when baked as traditional cream puffs, supposedly.
Traditional choux paste contains four simple ingredients: butter, water, flour, and eggs. Dorie’s recipe includes some milk, sugar and salt for extra flavor. I ended up adding a bit of extra flour (about ¼ cup) so that the batter would come together in the pot. This meant that I had to add an extra egg as well, but everything worked out fine in the end.
Pâte à choux is such a versatile recipe, and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes, such as Gougères or chouquettes, Pommes dauphine, Croquembouche, Paris-Brest, and Gnocchi à la Parisienne.
To make the swans, you can pipe teardrop shapes, which become the wings when cut in half. I used a cream puff bottom for the base of the swan. The other half of the cream puff can be cut to make wings if you don't want to pipe out tear drop shapes.
To make the neck, pipe the number "2" on parchment paper. Make sure you watch the oven when you bake these since they burn really fast. (I only had one that was photo-worthy!)
To make the eyes, use a toothpick and dot some melted chocolate at the end of the number "2".
Here’s a great article with step-by-step pictures of what the choux paste should look like along with some history.
Here’s a video of Alton Brown making choux paste.
You can find the recipe for Peppermint Cream Puff Ring in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or at Epicurious. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger! Thanks to Caroline of A Consuming Passion who chose the recipe for this week (and has also posted the recipe).
The minty, fresh taste of the cream with the lightness and slightly chewy texture of the choux and the richness of the chocolate was a perfect combination of flavors. I absolutely loved it! It was worth all the pastry bags I went through to make this dessert!
My kids enjoyed some of the cream puffs filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce since their palate is not refined enough to like mint! Another favorite was the peppermint cream over raspberries. Mmm, delicious.
I also used the peppermint cream on top of lemon bars! Mint and lemon are a winning combination, and this cream is so versatile.
You can store the cream puffs in an airtight container for a week or in the freezer. This is so dangerous to have on the counter that I think I’ll have to find room in the freezer! Another winning recipe from Dorie!
Note: I just read several great posts about choux paste over at Joe Pastry. Check it out!
Recipe for Next Week (June 24)
Mixed Berry Cobbler on pages 416-417 chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life.
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