Choux, and what not to do

baking, gbbo, recipes

Just for anyone that doesn’t know, you say choux like SHOE. Any puns I may make from now on will probably be based on this, so I thought I should warn you early on.

So this is a day late.

I had a nightmare of a bake on Wednesday. I was in a rush, I took shortcuts, I ran out of time.

And to reward my efforts I got about 30 flat eclairs that would be better employed as slippers. It’s not easy to try to open up and fill an eclair 1 inch thick.

So back to the drawing board.

By the way, does anyone have any idea about what to do with failed choux? It breaks my heart to throw anything out. I’m thinking of maybe throwing them into a bread and butter pudding but any ideas are welcome.

I was in such a rush on Wednesday I didn’t even get to watch GBBO. Criminal I know.

I feel like a traitor.

It was so hard to stop myself seeing spoilers for the next day until I got to catch up. I watched it three times though? So I think I can be forgiven.

I kinda love Patisserie week. It’s a really good challenge for the bakers, to be able to create some seriously elaborate and fiddly bakes.
By that, I mean I love to watch it. I’m hugely terrible at elaborate and fiddly bakes.

I was a big Flora fan this week- she’s a lot more endearing when things are going a bit pear shaped.
At this point I actually love all the bakers though. In a way it’s kind of annoying. We all like to have someone to hate. But everyone is so goddamn lovable. It’s really quite selfish of them.

For my bakealong challenge- cream horns were a no, because when I googled a recipe the first thing they said was “cream horn moulds”, which bizarrely, I’m kind of deficient in? And completely unwilling to buy for one bake. I don’t really see myself baking cream horns on the reg.

As for Mokatines, the general consensus online was that they were difficult, fiddly, and so not worth the effort. Nah on that one too.

So the Religieuse a l’Ancienne. Probs not going to make a giant nun shaped structure (nun, really?! definitely more Dalek looking to me). But I could stretch myself to eclairs.
Or so I thought.

I’d made Choux before and it had worked out like a dream so I was optimistic. Idiot.

The problem was that I was rushing, and I realised I had run out of flour. I was only 30g short, and I had no time to go to the shop to get me. So, like an idiot, I thought I’d sub in cornflour. Do not do this. You need the gluten in the flour to hold the eclair structure together. Otherwise it falls flat as a pancake.
Another thing I did wrong was adding too much egg. I’m not the kind of person that weighs their eggs, but in this case, you should. It just makes getting to the perfect choux consistency so much easier. My first batch I just bunged the stated number of eggs in, and it was so runny it was seeping out of the piping bag.
Once I’d completely effed up the first time I did a bit of research into what makes the perfect eclair. And I stumbled upon this website. It is basically the bible on how to make an eclair, and goes into crazy detail about exactly what to do at each step and what differences they make. I followed the recipe word by word and the choux came out like an absolute dream. Honestly, the lady at Iron Whisk is queen of eclairs. Use her recipe.

For the salted caramel, dark brown sugar topping, I simply combined 3 tbsp golden syrup, 100g salted butter and 150g muscavado (dark brown) sugar in a saucepan and melted on a low heat until the butter was all melted in. I brought the heat up until the mix began to boil, then added 50ml double cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt flakes. I whisked that in like a maniac, and then let it simmer away at a medium temperature for 3 minutes until the sauce had thickened.

I spread this on top of the cooked and cooked eclair cases, although it did start to get a bit thick and gloopy near the end, so I just momentarily put it on the heat to soften it back up.

For the filling, I just whipped up some double cream with sugar and vanilla extract, and pipped them into the eclair cases, which I had split open. Feel free to make a créme patisserie, but tbh by this stage I had already used up 7 eggs for just my eclair cases, so I was not feeling another trip to the shop to go get more for créme pat. I like to use the abreviations for the bakes that they use on Bakeoff. It makes me feel like I know what I’m on about.

Don’t put your cream into your eclairs until the last moment possible, so they don’t become soggy prior to serving. After all that effort you deserve a crunchy eclair.

So you choux-d make eclairs (sorry). Just don’t do it when you’re in a rush. It’s definitely a rainy-day-pottering-around-the-kitchen-listening-to-jazz kind of bake. (Jokes, I don’t listen to jazz, definitely not that sophisticated).

Then eat 1 (or 5) when you’re still in your PJs. You deserve it.


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