Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pâte à Choux and Éclairs!!

Oh yes my petit choux... today we enter the glorious world of puffs. What is required for this journey I hear you ask? Well, a hearty appetite for all things sweet is a must, but the choux is not for the faint of heart when it comes to calories. As such, I strongly advise you to leave that at the gate before entering. You will also need lots and lots of arm power. I don't know about you guys sitting there reading this as I do all the work, but I for one will be ripped before this week is over. Muscles are developing in my arms where I never knew I had them. Mechanical leavening at its best as they say~~~

For those who don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about, Pâte à Choux forms a family of puffs and Éclairs. In this coming week, you will get to see most of all the traditional types made in France as we make them in the classroom. 

Today we learned to make the dough, how best to bake them and then assembled Éclairs :)

 The Holy Trinity of Éclairs- The Chocolate, Coffee and Vanilla

 But first, the dough. Heat over a stove till butter has melted.
Tidbit: This is the only french dough that is cooked twice!

 Add in bread flour and furiously beat with a wooden spoon till a film forms on the base of the pan... 
Meanwhile, if you think we patissieres are the non-violent sort, think again. We join this profession we we get to vent our frustrations on a daily basis. True story.

 Beat in a mixer to remove steam and cool the mix down before adding up to 12 eggs one by one until desired consistency is met. Yes, I said 12. I did warn you these were decadent.

 Pipe the lil beauties out, as evenly as possible, egg wash them then score them with a fork to force a rise in the sides

 Out of the oven: tadah!

 Now flip them over and poke 2 holes on either end then fill with respective fillings, for today we lightened some creme patissiere with creme chantilly to form flavoured creme legeres. For those who did not follow the above, that translates to pastry cream lightened by folding in whipped cream and adding flavourings of choice- Chocolate, Coffee and Vanilla

 Now we take those filled puppies and glaze them. Dip, rock, tap, tap, tap. Repeat.

 The aim is to create an even glaze on the top of the Éclairs but maintain a halo of pastry around the glaze as seen from above

Tip of the Day!
When baking in an oven at home, to promote a good rise and not to over bake the puff, preheat ovens to 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 degrees Celsius, place the puffs or eclairs in and turn off the oven. Let them sit in the hot oven for 10 minutes and then turn the oven back on to 360 degrees Fahrenheit or 176 degrees Celsius. Bake at that temperature for another 10 minutes or so or until puffs are brown all over. 

Leave them in the oven with the door cracked oven to dry out for another 5-10 minutes to prevent the steam within to turn the puffs soggy.

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