There is nothing better than eating fresh vanilla cream in a choux pastry. I’ve tested several batches made with longlife milk and fresh milk. Without a doubt, freshmilk is thumbs up. I’ve tested choux pastry with water and half water and milk and found half and half much better. Something I find myself heavy handed with and that’s vanilla esssence. Sadly too much leaves a bitter after taste and that is a terrible spoil for such a classic dessert.
Choux Pastry Custard
125ml water 1 tsp vanilla essence
125ml milk 30g cornflour
250ml flour 80g castor sugar + 10g extra
6 Tbs butter 35g butter
pinch of salt 350ml milk + 100ml cream
4 eggs 4 egg yolks
In a medium pot, bring the water and milk and butter to a boil
Pour in the flour and immediately start mixing with a wooden spoon. Mix till the pastry pulls away from the sides of the pot. Keep stirring and let it cook for a further 1 to 11/2 minutes or until all the vapour has evapourated.
Remove from the stove and let it cool down for at least 5 minutes. Add one egg in at a time, till the dough is a smooth consistency. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a ½” round tip. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, pipe 5cm in diameter circle. The size can vary. Wet your finger and push the tails down or they may burn in the oven.
Without opening your oven, bake 220° for 10 minutes, then reduce to 180º for a further 15 minutes. The high temperature puffs up the dough and the low temperature cooks the base.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Heat the milk and butter in a medium pot, over a medium-low heat until it comes to a simmer. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour till pale and smooth.
Temper the egg mix with a small amount of hot milk. Stir. Pour the balance of the milk into the bowl. Add the vanilla essence. Stir. Pour the mixture back into the pot through a sieve. Place the pot on the stove over a medium-low heat and stir. Keep stirring till the mixture thickens. A little elbow work is required here. Once the mixture starts to thicken to a custard consistency, remove from the heat and keep stirring till smooth. And I mean keep stirring! Leave to cool for a minute, then place plastic clingwrap onto the custard so that it doesn’t form a skin. Leave to cool completely before you use it.
Once ready to plate up, whip the cream with the extra sugar till stiff and mix into the COOL custard mix. Mix till smooth.
Plate up: – slice the puffs in half. Pipe / spoon the custard into the center. Close and eat and enjoy!
Debby Dash Note: don’t be selfish with the custard.