Over the last few months, I’ve been working on expanding my kitchen skills. Because of my busy work and blog schedule, I’ve turned to the internet for options I can do on my own time.
First up? Salted TV. Salted is a subscription service that offers a wide range of cooking classes that range from how to make the perfect bone marrow, to mastering the croissant and everything in between. I loved this option but there were so many videos I quickly got overwhelmed by the choice, did a little of a bunch of them and then forgot I had subscribed.
Next up was YouTube. I know, it sounds silly but I’ve actually gotten some great food tips from YouTube. Did you know that you can make fresh pasta dough in a food processor without getting your hands dirty? Neither did I until last week but it worked so well! The videos are free to watch (a nice change) but the downside of course is that anyone can add videos so there’s no telling how qualified your instructor really is.
Unlike Salted TV, on Craftsy you buy one class at a time but each class is so in depth that it’s worth it. Earlier this month, I took a pâte à choux class. Eclairs have always been my favorite so I thought that if I could master pâte à choux I could make them for myself all the time. Dangerous right?
As with all things, I started small with cream puffs to get a handle on pâte à choux. Even though they are made from the same dough, in my mind the their smaller shape made them easier to master.
While not overly challenging, pâte à choux was time consuming and took an attention to detail. If your dough gets too wet there’s no fix – you have to toss it and start over.
If you get the cream puffs done and have the energy to make a pastry cream filling, more power to you. I got so antsy to eat these that I went straight for the ice cream in my freezer to use as filling.
- ¼ Cup (150g) all-purpose flour
- ½ Cup (125ml) water
- ½ Cup (125ml) milk
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 Large eggs, room temperature
- 1 container of cookies and cream ice cream
- Chocolate sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Line two sheet pans with a non stick baking sheet and fit a large pastry bag with a large open plain tip and set both aside
- In a 2-quart, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter
- Stir over low heat until the sugar, salt and butter have completely melted
- Turn the burner to high and let the mixture briefly come to a rolling boil.
- Take the pan from the heat and add the flour
- Using a large wooden spoon, stir the mixture vigorously until smooth and there are no lumps of flour remaining in the mixture (This is called the panade)
- Return the panade to the stove and stir over medium heat, making sure not to scrape the bottom of the pan
- Continue stirring until there’s a starch coating on the bottom of the pan and the temperature of the panade reaches 170 F
- Transfer the panade to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes to allow some heat to dissipate (Adding the eggs too early while the panade is too hot will lead to scrambled eggs so wait until the penade reaches 140 F
- Whisk 4 eggs together in a small bowl
- Add ½ the egg mixture to the panade on medium-low speed and mix until the eggs are fully incorporated
- Add the remaining eggs slowly with the mixer running
- To check that your paste is the right consistency, add a small amount to a plate, wet one finger and run it down the middle, coming up at the end
- If the panade is smooth and shiny and holds it shape (it should look like a ski jump), it is ready
- If the paste is too dry and not well hydrated, whisk the last egg and add as much of the egg as you need to get to the right consistency
- Transfer the choux paste to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open plain tip
- Pipe 1½ to 2 inch (4 to 5 cm) rounds
- Bake for 30 minutes at 375 F
- Remove from oven and let cool
- Cut open and fill with ice cream, top with chocolate sauce, and enjoy!