If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know how much I absolutely adore salted caramel. I have made choux pastry for eclairs twice before – once when we added 2 tablespoons of salt to the mixture (yes, that’s what the crazy recipe said!), and the other time, I undercooked them and they looked like little sunken balls of pancake. So, logically, I decided I would give them another go for Christmas Day lunch. Ta da 🙂
They worked! Thank goodness they did, because the world probably would have ended if they hadn’t. Once again, Taste.com certainly did not let me down, and I will definitely be using this recipe many times over. I already have used it since actually, and the result was just as great. So many people seem to think that choux pastry is a difficult thing to get right, and it can be if you get a little confused or don’t follow the recipe word for word, which can be really easy to do. If you are going to give this recipe a go, make sure to sit down and read it through before you make it – and understand each step. Otherwise, not only can it be really dishearteneing, it’s also a waste of quality ingredients and money 😦 The good news is though, once you do understand the recipe and know what to do from experience, your cooking will be much better for it 🙂 There’s my words of wisdom for the day!
Here is the recipe for Choux Pastry. The only part is, it definitely does not make 25-30 profiteroles like it says. It makes 18 at most, so if you want more, simply double the recipe.
Caramel Maison: (from p. 242 of Adriano Zumbo’s book, Zumbo):
•220g pouring (whipping) cream (35% fat)
•1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (I used 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
•120g water (this is just under 1 cup)
•300g caster (white) sugar
•60g liquid glucose (available at most supermarkets)
Place the cream and vanilla in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Then, remove from the heat, and remove the vanilla bean if you are using one. In the meantime, place the water, sugar and glucose in a larger saucepan over a low-medium heat and cook until the glucose and sugar are fully dissolved, stirring occasionally. Zumbo’s says to use a clean pastry brush dipped in water to clean the sides of the saucepan in order to avoid crystalisation, however you can also just place the saucepan in really hot water with suds just after use and the sugar will melt off really easily. Increase the heat to medium, and cook the sugar mixture until it reaches a dark amber colour. This does take quite a while, and I was getting worried that mine would not work, but persistence is key here, it will eventually darken after 6-7 minutes. Very carefully stir the cream mixture into the sugar mixture slowly – be very careful because it spits and releases lot of heat. I found the best way to do this was with a spoon with a very long handle, as you want to keep your face as far away from the saucepan whilst it is spitting. If you don’t have a spoon with a super long handle, just add the cream really slowly and try to stir as best you can! Keep stirring as much as you can until the caramel settles down, then stir until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl, let it cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Caramel Buttercream: (this recipe is on page 42 of Zumbo’s cookbook)
•150g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
•300g caramel maison
•4.5g sea salt flakes
Place the butter in a bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Warm the caramel maison in the microwave until it reaches a pouring consistency (mine needed 1 min, 20 seconds on high as it was in the fridge overnight), however, just warm it in stages to prevent burning the caramel. With the beater running slowly, add the caramel maison to the butter and continue mixing until thick. Once I had added about half of my caramel, I got a bit worried because it looked like it was curdling, however as I kept adding the caramel, it began to thicken up. So don’t freak out until you have added all of the caramel to the butter. Once you have added all of the caramel, fold in the salt. I did not measure my salt, as I used a shaker. So if you too are using a shaker, just salt to taste.
Place the caramel in piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle. Gently pierce the bottom of the profiteroles with piping nozzle, so that the nozzle itself is inside the profiterole. Squeeze bag until profiterole feels heavier in your hand, and the caramel is slightly coming out of the profiterole. Gently scrape the profiterole on the edge of a bowl to get rid of the excess caramel. Repeat with other profiteroles. If you are not eating them straight away, refrigerate them until they are ready to serve.
You can decorate the profiteroles however you wish! You can see that in both cases I dipped mine in melted chocolate, and sprinkled them with gold edible glitter and cachous. For the ones with the white chocolate, I added some caramel popcorn dipped in chocolate. Yum!
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