Monday, 21 March 2011

And forty pianos and ten thousand choux

It's supposed to be shoes, but hopefully that title gives a clue to what we're talking about today. I first made choux pastry in the third form during cookery classes, and was so wowed by the simplicity of profiteroles, choux buns that I vividly remember replicating it in the tiny kitchen in our flat. Beating the mixture like a madwoman I think we had profiteroles for weeks as I insisted on making them each Sunday after church.

This is a late post, one from the hen do again. At the last minute I think we added little eclairs into the mix. Mum felt we needed something else to add to the afternoon tea feel of the day, and remembered my abilities with choux buns. However, I didn't have a recipe, and limited by most of my cookbooks being in storage I was close to resorting to the internet. Not that that's a bad thing, but sometimes tried and tested is best.

And then I remembered, Mum's copy of the Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook. The edition we have from 1970 is brilliant, and much of my early forays into cookery came from there (apart from a Good Housekeeping recipe for Tomato pasta in the sixth form which I ate pretty much daily in the first year of Uni). Gingerbread (the sticky variety) a layered strawberry and fresh cream sponge, flapjacks, New Zealand biscuits all featured heavily in my early attempts at Domestic Goddess-hood. Anyway, naturally it had a recipe for eclairs so off we pottered (naturally it's imperial):

1/2 pint water
2oz butter
2&1/2 oz plain flour
pinch salt
2 eggs

Put water and butter into a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Remove from heat and bet in flour, seived with salt to form a ball which leaves the sides of the pan clean.  If necessary, return to a gentle heat. Beating like a madwoman is the key here, pretty much until your arms feel like they're going to fall off. Allow the mixture to cool to blood heat then beat in the eggs one at a time. I'm not sure what blood heat actually is, but I leave it to cool enough so that I think the eggs won't scramble. I know that''s not very exact, but if you're familiar with eggs, you know how cool that is. As a guide I'd say give yourself time to make and drink a cup of tea (if you drink tea like a Guider that is - as in scalding)

Put pastry into a piping bag with a half inch plain nozzle (I actually used fluted) and pipe 14, 3 inch lengths on a greased baking tray. Bake in a moderately hot oven (Gas mark 6) for 25-35 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove carefully from trays and cool on a wire rack.

Fill with the cream using another piping bag, and when filled dip in melted chocolate. Hamlyn suggests making a mocha topping using chocolate and instant coffee powder. I think if I wanted a mocha topping I'd use melted chocolate and some espresso with a dash of icing sugar to sweeten it slightly. That said we kept things fairly straightforward as we were doing just so much for the hen party.

Owing to time restraints we used Sainsbury's Taste the Difference pouch of creme patissiere for the filling, and dipped the finished eclairs in melted chocolate

Now for confession time, I didn't do the piping. I couldn't do the piping. I cried over the piping. Thanks have to go to my Mum (and her traditional A Level in Cookery) for her piping skills, as I completely failed at that. Anyone who can point me in the direction of somewhere to learn those, will be repaid in clumsily frosted cupcakes!

Some more pictures for you - the big cakes I talked about in Make of our lives one life, post.


No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

 photo copyright.jpg
blogger template by envye