These Great British Bake Off challenges are getting tough! This week was all about pastry and the challenges were suet puddings, choux buns and 3 types of puffed pastry. They all looked good and they all looked tricky, but a craving for chocolate eclairs inspired me to make a go of choux pastry!
I originally set out to make chocolate eclairs and my first go at choux pastry didn’t go to well, as you can see in the first picture below… They completely deflated after coming out of the oven. I’m not sure what went wrong, maybe I didn’t mix the eggs in slowly enough? Anyway, I tried a different recipe for the choux pastry (I used this one from A Cozy Kitchen) and this time I made eclairs as well as profiteroles and… tada! They rose! (as you can see in the second picture.)
So the second batch worked out great, but maybe a little too great… I ended up with a LOT of pastry. And this isn’t even all of it, I’m serious. I think I ended up with about 14 eclairs and 32 profiteroles. Maybe even more! Thankfully, I was able to freeze them. I might post an eclair recipe separately soon…
Now onto the flavours… I have to say the orange blossom custard was one of the greatest things I have ever tasted in my life. I would have eaten the whole bowl on it’s own! But I’m glad I saved it for the profiteroles. The combination of the delicate, sweet, floral custard with the spicy, bitterness of the chocolate cinnamon sauce is just to-die-for. All the different textures, temperatures and flavours make such an indulgent dessert.
- 125g (4 1/4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 pint of water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 170g (6 oz) strong bread flour, sifted
- 5 or 6 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
- Egg wash (one egg beaten with a splash of water or milk)
- 300ml milk
- 1 generous tsp orange blossom water
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp each plain flour and cornflour
- 200ml double cream
- 100g dark chocolate
- 100ml double cream
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest (+ extra for decoration)
- Start by making the orange blossom custard filling. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it's just about to boil. Whilst it's heating, mix the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and orange blossom water in a separate bowl and slowly mix in the flours to make into a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and then pour all of the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over a high heat, stirring vigorously for a few minutes. Don't worry if the mixture goes lumpy, this is normal. Keep stirring until smooth then remove from the heat and transfer to a heat-proof container to chill in the fridge until needed. You can make this a couple of days in advance.
- Now it's time to make the choux pastry! Preheat the oven to 220c. and line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Mix together the butter, sugar and salt with 1/2 pint of water in a saucepan over high heat til it's just about to boil. Once just about boiling, immediately remove from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, quickly beat in the sifted flour. Return the saucepan to a medium heat and continue beating in the flour for about 30 seconds. The mixture should become quite thick and start pulling away from the sides of the pan with a thin layer forming on the bottom of the saucepan. At this point, it's ready and can be removed from the heat.
- Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (preferably a stand mixer) on a low-medium speed to let some of the heat evaporate. Slowly crack in one egg at a time, making sure it's fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next. Keep beating continuously until the paste is smooth and shiny. Add the mixture to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch nozzle.
- With the piping bag, make small dollops (no bigger than a golf ball size) on the baking sheets, you should have roughly about 30 or more. Make sure they have at least 2 inches in between them to allow for expanding in the oven. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat each dollop with the egg wash. Place in the oven at 220c and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, don't open the door! Just turn the oven down to 170c. and bake for a further 10 minutes after which you can check to see if they've browned enough. When they're cooked, puffed up and nicely browned, transfer them to a cooling rack, poke small holes in the top of them to allow the steam to be released. Let them cool and dry out whilst you prepare the filling and sauce.
- To finish making the filling, whisk the 200ml double cream until very thick. Then add the custard, mixing into the cream to create a thick, smooth mixture. Add to a piping bag with a thin nozzle and fill the profiteroles through the holes you poked in them earlier. Keep in the fridge whilst you prepare the chocolate sauce.
- To make the chocolate sauce, break the chocolate into a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (to act as a double boiler) and slowly melt it with the double cream, cinnamon and orange. Once it's melted, remove from the heat and stir to create a thick but runny chocolate sauce. If it' still too thick, try adding a little bit of hot water and stir in well.
- Remove the profiteroles from the fridge and serve with the hot chocolate cinnamon sauce. ENJOY!
I’m taking part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off, which involves creating your own version of the recipes featured on The Great British Bake Off. It’s ran by The Crazy Kitchen and Mummy Mishaps and you can read more about it here. There is also a #GBBOBakeAlong happening over at Bakers Annonymous.