Wow, it’s been a while – work has been keeping me busy. In the meantime, spring has come, and with it heaps of fresh berries ready to be devoured. Just like Pavlovas, choux pastry only feels complete when generously topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
I had always looked at choux pastry from a respectful distance, something only proper chefs and educated bakers can master. But after actually trying my hand at it, I was pleasantly surprised at how straight-forward the recipe is. And while they definitely don’t look like little pieces of art sold in Paris’ l’eclair de genie, my taste-buds were happy all the same.
- Choux Pastry
- 250ml water
- 120g butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 175g all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 5 eggs
- 500g fresh strawberries, sliced
- 300g whipping cream
- 1tbsp vanilla sugar
- 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- For the choux pastry, bring butter, salt and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and sugar at once, stirring vigorously to combine. Keep on medium heat and continue stirring until dough forms a ball and comes away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer the dough into a bowl, letting it cool slightly. Using a wooden spoon or mixer on low setting, whisk in the eggs one by one until a smooth dough forms.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain nozzle, pipe the small profiteroles on a lined baking sheet, about 5-7cm apart.
- Bake in the oven for 25min, until profiteroles have tripled in size and are fluffy, and golden. Don’t open the oven door early, or they will deflate. After they have finished baking, pierce them with a small knife to release the steam, then let them cool fully. Using clean, kitchen scissors, cut off the top for the filling.
- Whip the cream with the vanilla sugar and generously spoon on each bottom half. Distribute the sliced strawberries, add a little more whipped cream, then close with the top half.
- Sprinkle with a little confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately. [i]Filled profiteroles will go soggy, so if you need some time before serving, prepare the choir pastry shells, then fill shortly before serving.
Choux Pastry is very versatile, its merit is texture rather than taste. It can be filled with anything from whipped cream, custard to chocolate ganache. Because I had quite a large batch of pastry, I made a few different fillings to go along with it, but none could compare to the simple elegance of whipped cream and fresh fruit.