Pages 160-163 Bouchon Bakery Book- Thomas Keller
Guess what was released last year??
Seriously this was the best thing that happened to me in all of 2012. Sad? Maybe. But I don't really think so. Anyone who has eaten ANYTHING at Bouchon Bakery must get this book. All his best stuff is in here including the TKO, Better Nutters, Oh Oh's, and an expanded macaroon section.
I decided to kick it a little classic today and talk about Pate A Choux (pronounced like pat a shoe), which is the dough used for cream puffs and eclairs. So excited this was in the Bouchon book! There's actually a whole section of things you can make with Pate a Choux. Thomas Keller of course did a little bit of a twist on a classic and made this crispy "sugar cookie" to go on top of the cream puff that gave it an amazing crunchy texture and made it look a little more rustic. I really liked the combo a lot. Here is a picture of the finished product. How would you not want that to be in your belly?
For the dough:
1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbs Water
4 1/2 ounces Unsalted butter, room temperature
heaping 3/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup AP flour
1 cup whole eggs
For the cookie:
3/4 cup + 3 tbs. Brown sugar
1 cup + 1 Tbs. AP flour
1/4 cup almond meal
3 ounces unsalted butter
Making the Pate A Choux :
Step 1. Combine water, butter, and salt in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Let simmer until butter has melted, stirring regularly. Make sure the liquid reaches a boil, turn off the heat.
Step 2. Add all the flour and stir until it is a pasty consistency. Return to medium heat and continue stirring for about 1-2 minutes or until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away cleanly from bottom and sides of the pan
Step 3. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to release some steam. Slowly add the eggs 1 at a time, letting the dough absorb each addition before adding more.
Once all the eggs are added continue mixing to thoroughly combine the eggs to the dough. If you lift the paddle it should form a triangle dangling from the paddle. It should hold its shape and not break off. If the dough is too stiff, add a little more egg.
Step 4. It is now ready to pipe! Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. You have a couple options for piping. If you have mad piping skills, just line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat and pipe small uniform rounds onto the sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each circle. When piping the rounds leave the tip in place holding it straight up and pipe to "flood" the area. When they are about the size of a quarter, stop squeezing and do a slight twist with the bag so it doesn't look like a Hershey kiss. If it does, just wet your finger and smooth it out by hand.
(I piped these by hand)
Or as an alternative Keller solution if you don't have mad piping skills:
Buy silicone molds that are mini muffin sized. Pipe the Pate a Choux into the molds filling each cavity. Dip your fingers in water to smooth out the tops. Cover the mold with plastic and freeze until firm enough to easily remove the dough from the molds. Remove from the mold and place on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart just like pictures above. Spay the cream puffs lightly with water.
For the cookie:
Step 1. Combine the brown sugar, flour, and almond flour in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until all lumps are broken up and the two ingredients are combined. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until butter is combined and it looks crumbly. It will not form a solid mass.
Step 2. Pour crumb mixture onto a large piece of parchment paper. (you may want to divide this between 2 different pieces of parchment paper) Using your hands, squeeze together the crumbs to form a dough. (it will still be crumbly). Take a second piece of parchment paper that is the same size and place on top of crumbs. (so crumbs are between the 2 pieces of parchment) Roll out so it is square and 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to the back of a cookie sheet and freeze for about 10 minutes.
Remove the dough from the freezer and roll again to 1/16-1/8th inch thick. If gaps or holes form, just patch them with the crumbs from the edge. Freeze again until frozen solid.
Step 3. Using a round cutter that is the same size as your cream puff, cut rounds from the cookie and place on top of each cream puff.
Preheat the oven to 375. Place the baking sheet on the center rack and immediately lower the temperature to 350. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. If baking 2 sheets at once, rotate the pans half way through baking.
Here is a picture of the finished product again.
Let these cool completely, then you can fill them. What you fill them with is entirely up to you. Traditionally for it to be a "cream puff" you would fill it with pastry cream. They can also just be filled with whipped cream or even ice cream. Really, anything with the word cream in it. Lemon curd is also good... Ganache.... buttercream.....are you getting any ideas yet? Get crazy creative here.
You can fill them 2 ways:
#1- You can cut off the top with a bread knife and pipe the filling in the base, then place the top back on top of the cream filling. This allows you to put more filling in it and you can also see what's inside.
#2- Poke a hole in the bottom of the puff and with a piping bag squeeze the filling in the hole until the whole inside is filled.
Either one is fine, you'll just get different looks with each one. Shoot, try them both and see what you like best.