Ever since I bought my new oven - a full size, free standing Zanussi - I've been on a baking spree.
For the longest time, my faithful Pensonic oven toaster has been serving us well, enabling me to bake a wide range of pastries but within a very confined size and quantity. Because of its limited capacity, I also need to be extra mindful of the standard recipe instructions for oven baking, and tweak it to suit that for a much smaller oven toaster. Hence my bakes sometimes turned out well, sometimes they bombed.
This full size oven allows me to follow all the baking instructions to the dot (well, almost) and as such, I've started trying more ambitious recipes such as baking choux pastry.
Stephanie Jaworski's baking blog is a great resource that I've come to rely on more and more. Her recipes include advice on those small little details that can either make or break your baking results. For noob bakers like me, that's crucial. That's why even my first attempt at seemingly complicated recipes such as this choux pastry actually turned out as it should be! The puffs were a beautiful golden brown, perfectly puffed up, and as light as air. I was absolutely delighted.
|Puffing up beautifully.|
|Nice large cave to pipe in lots of custard|
For the custard filling, I turned to my fellow blogger and baking sifu, Wendyinkk. I adapted her yummy and easy vanilla custard recipe to make a tangy lemon version.
Custard Puffs - the easiest choux pastry recipe
Makes about 20-25 medium size puffs or 30 mini puffs
- 65g plain flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp castor sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 57g butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water
- 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly whisked
- 1 small egg for the egg wash
- In a mixing (heatproof and glass) bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar.
- In a non stick pot, add in the softened butter and water and bring to a quick boil.
- Remove from heat and quickly pour in the flour mixture. Stir gently to form a sticky dough/paste.
- Put back the pot on medium fire and stir for 1 minute to allow some evaporation of excess moisture.
- Remove the pot from heat and pour back into the mixing bowl and put under a fan for about 5 minutes to cool down until it feels lukewarm to touch.
- Pour about 3/4 of the beaten egg into the dough and beat until well blended, adding the remaining egg mixture until the right consistency is reached. Add a small amount of water if needed. The dough should fall from the spatula, leaving a long V shape overhang.
- At this juncture, preheat the oven at 200celcius and prepare a non stick tray or regular tray line with parchment paper.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop a small ball of batter onto the tray, with a gap of 1 inch between each ball. You can also use a piping bag to pipe out the batter. Gently brush the top with egg wash.
- Bake for 15 minutes on 200celcius, then turn down the temperature to 180celcius and bake for a further 25-30minutes until the top is golden and crisp and the inside is dry.
|I used a flower piping nozzle|
Adapted from Table for 2 or more
Makes about 1.5 cup
- 500ml milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 130g castor sugar
- Juice and zest of half a lemon (for a more distinct tang, add up to 1 lemon)
- 2 tbspn custard powder
- 2 tbspn plain flour
- In a glass bowl, beat the eggs with sugar until it turns a light pale colour. This should take less than 1 minute.
- Add in the custard powder and flour, and mix until smooth.
- Pour the milk, water and vanilla extract into a saucepan (use a medium size, heavy duty saucepan) and bring to a boil. Add in the lemon juice and zest.
- Strain 1/3 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Strain the balance and mix well.
- Return the custard mixture to the saucepan and cook on low heat until it boils and there is no floury taste. As it cooks, the custard will thicken and takes on a glossy smooth sheen.
- Remove from heat and let it cool down before covering and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
|Adjust the quantity of lemon juice to suit your preference. I like to add more for a stronger zesty tang. Really, nothing beats freshly made custard. Stale custard is yucky.|
|You could pipe it in from the top and leave it with a little ooze on top as decoration|
|Or slice the puff halfway and pipe it as a sandwich, which is the traditional way|
|Once piped, it must be kept in the fridge until ready to serve|
1. Custard can be made 1-2 days ahead and keep chill in the fridge
2. If you are baking a large quantity of choux pastry, it is best to bake one batch at a time - ie one tray at a time. The baking process relies on the internal oven heat to steam up the moisture in the batter, thus puffing up the balls of batter. Baking multiple trays may result in too much moisture in the oven, and flat puffs that do not rise properly. The extra batter will happily sit and wait in the bowl in room temperature till its turn to bake. Just cover the bowl with a moist and clean kitchen towel.