Sunday 8 May 2016

Choux Pastry - Attempt 1 goes badly!

I've done choux pastry before, but it's never been pretty. I want to learn a method and recipe that gives nice, consistent, visibly good-looking results. Today's attempts were not that!

I suspect that I had the temperature too high in the oven, which led to the buns burning before the insides could fully dry out. I dug the recipe up from on-line, and my initial suspicion is that the temperatures are either bad Fahrenheit conversions, or do not take account of fan ovens. either way, both batches I tried burnt, well within the recipe cooking times.

I won't do a proper recipe here, as frankly no-one wants to copy this! I will do some notes on what I did, so at least I have something to refer back to.

Into a saucepan;
  • 100g water
  • 100g milk
  • 100g butter
  • 4g salt
  • 8g caster sugar

  • Over a low heat until the butter has melted, and then bring to a boil
  • Add in 120g of plain flour, and stir. Return to the heat and cook for a couple of minutes, until the mixture pulls away from the pan
  • Put the dough into a stand mixer with the whisk/paddle attached (I used the whisk, but I don't think it makes much odds).
  • Add 4 eggs, and mix until smooth and slightly sticky
  • Spoon into a piping bag with an open star nozzle, and pipe ~5 inch lengths onto a baking tray covered with baking parchment

...ok, now for the baking times and temperatures I used

Batch 1

230'C for 5 minutes, then 200'C for a further 30 minutes
Started burning in the first 5 minutes, were black by 15 minutes of the second stage

Batch 2

210'C for 5 minutes, then 200'C for a further 30 minutes
Looked OK, but at about 15 minutes went suddenly dark and turned.

OK, so what changes am I going to make?

1) Slightly less egg. The recipe suggested that all the egg may not be needed, and I think it was a bit runny myself. 3½ eggs next time...

2) Temperatures are clearly too high. From some more reading, most recipes seem to use 200'C for the complete bake (Paul and Mary seem to agree on this). I know my oven runs a little hot, so I'll go for 190'C.

3) Piping nozzle. These seem remarkably hard to find. Most are closed star, which is great for icing, but less good for choux. I found one (specifically a Wilton M1), but I think I need one slightly wider. The recipe is quite specific...a 16mm open star piping nozzle (though it does seem this uses a measuring standard that shops don't seem to use...). I've ordered one from Amazon, so fingers crossed its the right one!