Today I am going to reintroduce an old recipe anew: choux pastry in the form of hearts with a raspberry filling. This is an airy and light dessert. Don’t be intimidated by choux pastry. I have discovered a new recipe which never fails me. Below I piped the choux pastry to hearts, but you are free to also make traditional profiteroles or eclairs if you wish. The raspberry filling is not too sweet, more on the tart side and very fruity. I reduced the amount of butter and cream cheese in order to make is really taste like raspberries.
I was scared of choux pastry for a long time. But as is the case with many things, if you try several times, it will get easier. Below tips will hopefully help you that it works out the first time you try.
Below some tips so your choux pastry works right from the start:
- Choux pastry isn’t prepared like any other dough as it is first cooked on the stovetop. You will boil the water and butter first before you add the flour. Once you have a dough ball, you will mash it against the bottom and sides of your pot. By “burning” the flour, the starches will gelatinize, helping later on for the dough to rise and be fluffy and airy. I recommend doing it for at least two minutes.
- Be sure to cool off your dough before adding the eggs as otherwise they will cook too early. My little trick is to transfer immediately to a cool bowl and to use a mixer to mix the dough a bit so that it cools off quicker. Repeat this several times and it will not take more than a few minutes before you can add the eggs.
- How many eggs you will need to add, depends on the flour you use, the weather and some other factors, so only add about half completely before you beat each egg separately in a small bowl and add about half of this beaten egg to see how much more you actually need. What you are looking for is a dough that slowly drops from a spoon, not too runny, but also not too dense. It will be glossy and pipeable. Don’t let the amount of eggs the recipe calls for fool you, you may need less or more.
- Choux pastry likes a humid environment. You may use your index finger to gently press down the top and also sprinkle the parchment paper with some drops of water for the profiterloes to really puff and rise.
- On the other hand, a cold draft is counter-productive if making choux pastry. If you open the oven door while baking, they may sink, so be sure to wait until the end.
- You may bake them a little longer, but don’t bake too short otherwise they will get very soggy quickl. If you are going for the size of profiteroles, 25 minutes should do the trick. I baked below hearts that amount.
Cream Puffs with Raspberry Filling
These cream puffs are filled with a light raspberry filling and use a never-fail choux pastry.
- 75 grams of water
- 70 grams of milk
- 75 grams of butter
- 1 teaspoon of regular sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 100 grams of all-purpose flour
- 3-4 eggs, at room temperature*
- *It is really important that the eggs are at room temperature. If you forgot to take them out on time, fill a bowl with warm water and place the eggs in there for at least 5 minutes before using them.
- Raspberry Filling
- 250 grams of frozen raspberries
- 150 + 50 grams of milk
- 1 package of instant vanilla pudding
- 2 tablespoons of regular sugar + 50 grams
- 100 grams of butter
- 100 grams of cream cheese
For the batter put the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a pot and bring to boil on stove top. Reduce temperature to medium heat. Now add all the flour at once and stir with a wooden spoon like there is no tomorrow. Fairly quickly a ball should form. Make sure that you "burn" the ball from all sides. This takes about two minutes. If you are unsure, you should have a thin layer of white on the bottom of your pot, otherwise continue stirring until you do. The ball of dough looks white and feels elastic. As long as your stove is not too hot, rather stir for a little longer. Five minutes from the moment the butter melted is fine. Take dough off the stove and let cool for about 5-10 minutes in a big bowl. It should feel warm, not hot when you touch it before you continue. You can speed up the process by mixing it with a mixer. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius at this stage.
Now add one egg at a time, mixing with a mixer for at least 30 seconds before adding the next egg. The dough will first appear crumbly, but with each egg become creamier and will change its consistency to that one of a batter. If your batter feels already very creamy after the third egg, don't add another one. The best test is to take out the mixer and see how fast it takes for batter attached to the mixer to drop back to bowl. If it doesn't drop at all, you need to add more eggs. I sometimes have to add a fifth one, sometimes three are enough. If the batter drops off slowly, it is perfect. Another indication is that it is glossy. You should be able to pipe it. For this recipe I piped the batter in heart shapes onto the parchment paper of a baking sheet. I did smaller (10 cm ∅) and bigger ones (20 cm ∅). Obviously you are free to create any shape you want. Classic profiteroles or eclairs work, too. Keep in mind though that the batter puffs a lot, so leave enough space in between.
Before you transfer the baking sheet to the oven, place a small bowl with water on the ground of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius and then reduce to 200 and bake for another 10 minutes. Do NOT open the oven door during these 20 minutes or your dough shapes will deflate. The batter shapes will puff and should turn golden. Turn oven off after 20-25 minutes, but only open the oven door about a centimeter now. Leave the batter for another 10 minutes inside the oven to be sure it doesn't deflate. Now take out and cut shapes in half horizontally as soon as they have cooled off. It is crucial to cut in half quickly after you have taken them out.
For the filling put raspberries and 150 milliliters of milk in a pot on the stove a bring to boil. As soon as raspberries are soft, take out and blend raspberries (e.g. food processor or even with a fork). Put instant vanilla pudding, two tablespoons of white sugar and 50 milliliters of milk in a mug and stir until you see no lumps. Bring pureed raspberries and milk to boil again and add the vanilla pudding mix. Stir constantly and bring to boil for at least two minutes until it thickenes. Transfer mixture to the fridge and let cool off.
Meanwhile cream butter, cream cheese and 50 grams of sugar in a bowl. Slowly add the cooled-off raspberry mix by the spoonful until you have a nicely colored cream. Put filling for at least 10 minutes in the fridge for the butter to harden a bit and make piping easier. Pipe onto bottom part of your shapes and put top part on top. Also pipe top part to your liking (I piped another heart with the filling on top).
Eclairs freeze beautifully, either with or without filling. I prefer the unfilled version though. Eclairs can be filled with any cream filling you like, butter cream, chocolate cream, lemon curd, etc. Yes, this is a good recipe for Valentine’s or Mother's Day and yes, it can be made in advance!