Tag Archives: Afternoon tea bites

Chouquettes (sweet choux pastry)

When I’m bored, I like to cook desserts. Just the thought of the yummy sweet bites I will be eating afterwards fills me with joy and excitement. Thank god I am not bored too often as I would be quickly piling on the pounds (not that it would deter me, mind you). So, on a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to make these sweet choux pastries, called “Chouquettes”. It is traditionally sprinkled with sugar pearls but I know these are not easy to find (even in France), so if you don’t have them, just make a caramel or roll them in sugar as they are still hot. You can also fill them with crème pâtissière, as they say, the world is your oyster!

Source: La cuisine de Gabie

Ingredients

75g milk
75g water
80g butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
120g flour
3 eggs
30g sugar pearls (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 200C
  2. Put the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter in the TM bowl and set to 4min/100C/speed 1.
  3. Add the flour and mix 1min30/speed 3.
  4. Plunge the bowl into cold water (up above the plastic base) and leave for 1 minute to cool down (this step might be skipped but I prefer doing it to avoid my eggs to cook in the mixture during the next step). Dry the bottom of the bowl well, especially the metal heating elements. I am told by Yvette, a French Thermomix demonstrator, that they are advised not to plunge the bowl in water anymore but rather put the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Thanks Yvette for the info, one can never be enough up to date!
  5. Put back the bowl on its base and set to speed 5. Break one egg at a time and add it through the hole in the lid while the blades are spinning (there should be 30 seconds between each egg, roughly).
  6. The mixture should be soft but not runny.
  7. Prepare a baking tray with a silicone sheet or oiled baking parchment and spoon in the mixture (about a heaped teaspoon of mixture and space well as they expand when cooking).
  8. Sprinkle with sugar pearls if using.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 180C and bake another 15 minutes.
  10. When they are cooked, open the oven and leave them to cool inside for about 10 minutes to dry them inside (otherwise they will collapse).
  11. While they are still warm, roll them in sugar or wait until they are cooled down and fill them with crème pâtissière and/or dip them half way in caramel and leave the caramel to harden before eating.


Eclairs au chocolat/café (coffee and chocolate éclairs)

After a long pause, I have finaly found time to post again some mouth watering recipes and because it’s been a while, I will post 3 recipes today!

Now this is one of those pastries that are not too hard to make and are very impressive for an afternoon tea. Of course, it’s a walk in the park to make if you have a Thermomix as both components can be made effortlessly in it. However, I will also put the recipe for those who don’t have (yet) this wonderful appliance…

Source : Fast and Easy cooking for the choux pastry and crème pâtissière. Christophe Felder for the éclairs recipe.

Ingredients

Choux pastry

80g butter
120g plain flour
3 eggs
150g water
1/2 tsp sugar
A pinch of salt

Crème pâtissière

500g milk (or half cow’s milk/half soja milk for a lighter version)
100g sugar
40g corn flour
2 eggs
50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tsp coffee extract

Icing

2 heaped tbsp of ready made icing (I used Betty Crocker “Rich and Creamy Icing”)
1 tsp coffee extract
1 tbsp dark cocoa powder mixed with 1 tsp of hot water to form a paste

Method Thermomix

  1. First, make the crème pâtissière: put all the ingredients except chocolate and coffee extract in the TM bowl and cook 7 minutes, 90C, speed 4.
  2. Pour out immediately in a bowl and cover with cling film (make the cling film touch the surface of the cream so it doesn’t form a skin). Leave to cool at room temperature.

    Step 2, make the cling film touch the cream so no air is in contact with it.

  3. Clean the TM bowl and proceed with the choux pastry recipe:
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  5. Put the butter, sugar, salt and water in the TM bowl and heat 5 minutes, 90C, speed 1.
  6. Add the flour and mix 1 minute 30 sec speed 3.
  7. Plunge the base of the TM bowl in cold water for 1 minute to cool the mixture slightly. Dry the TM bowl thoroughly (especially the electrical contacts) and place back on the base.
  8. Put on speed 5 and add the eggs one by one and continue to mix for 30 seconds.

    Step 8: this is what the choux pastry looks like once done in the Thermomix.

  9. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a wide nozzle either star shaped or not.

    Step 9: place choux pastry in piping bag. I use a coffee jar to rest my piping bag in so it’s easier to spoon in the mixture.

  10. Pipe 7 or 8 cm long and 3 or 3 cm wide lines on the baking tray lined with baking parchment. Leave some space between them as they will expand while cooking.

    Step 10: Piping the éclairs

  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When it’s cooked, open slightly the oven door (use the handle of a wooden spatula to keep it open if needs be) and let them dry and cool down completely in the oven. This step is important to avoid the pastry from collapsing.
  12. While the pastry is cooling down, prepare the chocolate and coffee crème pâtissière. Mix 50g dark chocolate in the thermomix for a 10 seconds, speed 8.
  13. Melt it for 3 minutes, 50C, speed 3.
  14. Take out half of the crème pâtissière and put it into a second bowl. Add the melted chocolate to one half.
  15. Add the coffee extract to the other half of the crème pâtissière.
  16. Prepare the icing: for the chocolate icing, mix 1 tbsp of ready-made icing to the chocolate paste. For the coffee icing, mix 1 tsp of coffee extract to 1 tbsp of ready-made icing.
  17. When the pastries are cool, cut them in half lengthway.
  18. Make the chocolate éclairs by either piping or spooning in the chocolate crème pâtissière in one half and close the pastry. Ice the éclair on the side that is flat (the one the éclair was resting when cooking) with the chocolate icing.

    Step 18: pipe or spoon in the crème pâtissière in one half of the pastry.

  19. Make the coffee éclairs the same way, using the coffee crème pâtissière and the coffee icing.

Conventional method

  1. Crème pâtissière: bring the milk to the boil.
  2. Beat the eggs with the sugar and the corn flour until just mixed.
  3. Pour the boiled milk little by little into the egg mixture while whisking
  4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook on high heat while constantly whisking
  5. When the cream has thickened, take it out of the heat and pour into a bowl and cover it with cling film so that the cling film touches the surface of the cream. This will prevent the cream from forming a skin. Let it cool down at room temperature.
  6. To make the choux pastry, preheat the oven to 180C
  7. Put the water, butter (cut into cubes), sugar and salt into a saucepan and cook on medium heat. WHen it starts simmering, take the saucepan from the heat and pour the flour, a bit at a time, while stiring until the mixture becomes dry.
  8. Put the saucepan back on the heat and stir vigorousy for 2 minutes with no interruption until the dough doesn’t stick to the side of the saucepan.
  9. Take the saucepan away from the heat and add 1 egg at a time and stir well until each egg is well mixed in before adding the next one (this is the hard part as the dough is very thick and the egg takes a while to mix in).
  10. Fill a piping bag (with a wide nozzle either star shaped or not) with the choux pastry mixture.
  11. Pipe in the mixture in a 7 or 8 cm length on the baking tray lined with baking parchment. Leave some space between them as they will expand while cooking.
  12. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When it’s cooked, open slightly the oven door (use the handle of a wooden spatula to keep it open if needs be) and let them dry and cool down completely in the oven. This step is important to avoid the pastry from collapsing.
  13. While the pastry is cooling down, prepare the chocolate and coffee crème pâtissière.
  14. Melt 50g chocolate broken into pieces in the microwave (first 1 minute at full power, then heat in bursts of 20 seconds, stiring between each until melted). Careful not to overcook the chocolate. If there are only a couple of unmelted chocolate left, just stir until they are melted rather than put it back in the microwave.
  15. Take out half of the crème pâtissière and put it into a second bowl. Add the melted chocolate to one half.
  16. Add the coffee extract to the other half of the crème pâtissière.
  17. Prepare the icing: for the chocolate icing, mix 1 tbsp of ready-made icing to the chocolate paste. For the coffee icing, mix 1 tsp of coffee extract to 1 tbsp of ready-made icing.
  18. When the pastries are cool, cut them in half lengthway.
  19. Make the chocolate éclairs by either piping or spooning in the chocolate crème pâtissière in one half and close the pastry. Ice the éclair on the side that is flat (the one the éclair was resting when cooking) with the chocolate icing.
  20. Make the coffee éclairs the same way, using the coffee crème pâtissière and the coffee icing.