30 November 2009

Choux Pastry 101 Workshop

Attended the Choux Pastry 101 Workshop conducted by Guest Chef Christopher Tan on Sat at Shermay's Cooking School.

Although I attended his Retro High Tea Workshop 2 years back which he demonstrated the Cream Puff with Custard Filling (similar choux pastry), I'm attracted to this workshop as he is teaching a master choux pastry recipe with several variations for both sweet and savoury desserts and snacks. These recipes would come in handy for nibbles during parties.

4 recipes were demonstrated during the workshop (with 3 bonus recipes).
  • Classic Choux Pastry - how to make, shape, bake, fill and serve, the base for cream puffs, eclairs, profiteroles, gougeres...
  • Smoked Ham Gougeres - savoury cheese choux puff flavoured with grated cheese and finely chopped smoked ham.
  • Matcha-Kinako Eclair - Jap-inspired eclair filled with green tea & white choc pastry cream, topped with dusting of roasted soy bean powder.
  • Cookie Choux A La Creme - airy puffs baked with a topping layer of crunchy cookie-like dough and filled with vanilla whipped cream.

The very first recipe demonstrated was the classic choux pastry, since it is the base for all the other recipes. Choux pastry is best served just after bake as the pastry turns soft very quicky in our humid weather. In fact, the choux pastry tasted just as nice on its own without any filling.

With the choux pastry, we proceeded to the savoury smoked ham gougeres which was basically adding grated cheese and smoked ham to the pastry batter. We could explore with different flavours of semi-hard cheese and add herbs, spices, chopped nuts or diced mushroom.

We got to taste the freshly baked smoked ham gougeres and it was totally addictive. Dense and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside with heavenly combi of cheese and ham... YUM! It is definitely great as a party snack!

Next, the Matcha-Kinako Eclairs. First, pipe the choux pastry into 'fingers' and send to bake. Meanwhile, prepare the matcha-white chocolate cream.

Slice the cooled pastry lengthwise and pipe with the green tea cream.

The matcha-white choco cream was very light and not too sweet but we found the matcha taste a little weak. Probably could add more matcha powder. The kinako powder was a nice complement to enhance taste as well as appearance.

Cookie Choux A La Creme in baking. This sort of resembles Crystal Jade's Polo Bun and Roti Boy's Coffee Bun but not quite the same. The centre of the cookie choux is hallow for whipped cream filling and texture airy (unlike polo bun or coffee bun).

The whipped cream was meant to be piped into the cookie choux but the choux was still hot and we ran out of time so the cream was served as a side (can be a variation as well). The cookie layer was very sweet and crispy, which was a pleasant contrast in texture to the airy puff.
Yet another fulfilling class and I definitely see myself baking some of these recipes since they are quite easy and fuss free.

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