Monday, August 15, 2011

Choux - SRC August

I love Pate a Choux.  It is easy to make, extremely versatile and a lot of fun to watch come together.  It is also something that I have been wanting to make with the kids, so I was thrilled when I came across it while checking out the Cooking Rookie and her blog Cook Book of Trial and Error, for this month's Secret Recipe Club Challenge.   This is a great blog to check out there are lots of recipes from past Daring Baker's challenges - the profiterols were from the May 2010 challenge - plus a wonderful assortment of delicious looking sweet and savory dishes.

If you haven't made Choux, you definitely need to give it a try.  It is the base for eclairs, cream puffs or profiterols, but it is equally tasty when used with savory fillings.  There are only a few ingredients and it is beautiful to watch these basic items come together to form a puffy golden container.  Because there are only a few ingredients it is a great recipe for kids and beginning cooks.  You can make it using a stand mixer, but it is great to do by hand.  Your really get to see the ingredients come together, plus your arms get a good workout.

I gave my two oldest the task of making these one afternoon, while their sister was sleeping - the help of a 2 year old would have been a bit much for this project.  While they had the challenge of making our dessert for the evening I challenged myself to take a step back and let them work.   I have been trying to do this more when it is just the two of them cooking.  Putting them in charge is not only a good way for them to build their confidence in the kitchen, but it is also a great way for them to learn how to work things out. It is very hard for me to take a step back.  I want  to correct every mistake and make sure they are doing everything my way,  but I am always amazed at what they accomplish when they are given the opportunity to work with my limited input.

Today I was especially amazed at how they worked things out.  Will took on the role of reading the recipe out loud while Maggie hunted for the ingredients, since there are only 5 ingredients she was able to easily find everything.  They took turns measuring out ingredients, then I joined back in when it was time to head to the stove.  At the stove they had fun watching the butter melt and catching steam.  When the flour was added a little help was needed to make sure it didn't burn.  When we moved back to the table they engaged in some impressive negotiations and figured out who would add the eggs and who would stir.  Again, a little help was needed with the stirring, but they each gave it a good try.  The piping was little frustrating, but another good thing about Choux is that it really doesn't matter what they look like going in the oven, they still bake beautifully and puff up into amazing shapes.

For dessert we served the puffs with some vanilla ice cream and a quick chocolate sauce.  It was a yummy dessert and the kids were very proud of their work.  We even had enough puffs leftover to have a puff lunch the following day - puffs filled with tuna salad then another round of puffs filled with ice cream.

Pate a Choux
(Printer Ready)

¾ c. Water
6 Tbs. Butter
¼ tsp. Salt
1 Tbs. Sugar
1 c. All-purpose Flour
4 Eggs

Preheat oven 425.  Line baking sheet with parchment.
In saucepan combine water and butter and sugar.  Over medium heat bring to boil, stirring occassionally.  Once boiling remove from heat and add flour, stir until combined.  Return to heat, stirring continuously, cook until mixture appears dry and pull from pan.
Transfer to bowl and allow to cool slightly.  Add eggs one at a time, stirring until egg is fully incorporated after each addition.  Mixture will look like mashed potatoes and will be very sticky.  
Transfer mixture to pastry bag, fitted with a large round tip.  Pipe into desired shape, keeping them about 1 inch apart.   Place in 425f oven, until puffed and light golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350f and continue baking until deep golden brow and dry, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.

As always be sure to check out the rest of the SRC challenges, lots of great dishes to try.  The group has grown and there will be three reveals throughout the month, so go to the Secret Recipe Clubs new site and see all of the challenges.