Tuesday 3 February 2009

In which we make choux pastry

Today we tackled a new pastry of the week in our first practical: ye olde choux pastry. This was also my first practical session with the new teacher since the change of groups.

I was in the interesting position of learning the pâte à choux for the second time since we had already done it when I left the school in Aurillac.

Choux pastry is an extremely humid (moist?) pastry. When it cooks the humidity locked in the pastry vapourizes causing massive expansion. Hence the hollow cavities in eclairs and profiteroles for cramming with creamy calories.

I was very disappointed that the demonstration by my new teacher did not include a lot of the tips I had received from my prof in Aurillac... such as how to spot the curst on the bottom of the saucepan which lets you know when the pastry is sufficiently cooked and a decent method for testing the consistency (i.e. letting the pastry drip off a spatula and checking for a triangle where the pastry separated... you need to see it to know it).

We made chouquettes which are little choux buns with crystallized sugar on top.

We also made an extraordinary and rather delicious tart called a Norman soufflé. This is a sweet quiche with flambéed apple topped with crème Chiboust which is a mixture of crème pâtissière and Italian meringue. It is very light thanks to the meringue but holds its form very well.

The photo is appalling but the tart had travelled all the way to Reigate via Paris and Oxford by the time it got snapped. It was battered.

1 comment:

  1. It may have travelled but it tasted DELICIOUS and seduced one into eating far too much!!!