A little time with choux…and you

There are some things you shouldn’t do alone.

NB This list doesn’t come from me; from some much wiser friends.

It includes moving house and visiting amusement parks. See? I told you they were wise. 

I think I’m going to add making profiteroles to that list.

Not because they’re impossible. Actually, they were much easier than anticipated.

The problem is that they’re very very good. So you want another mouth around to help make it through the fruits of your labour. And another set of hands to stop you swiping the coffee creme patisserie before you’ve even started piping it into the eager bellies of the choux buns.

Which is why I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night than with one of my oldest friends, drinking pine wine, talking about when we’d return to Paris and making coffee and chestnut cream profiteroles.

This is how we rolled

You melt together 100grams of unsalted butter with 200 ml of water and 25 ml of water. When the butter has melted and the liquid comes to a boil, take it off the heat. Then dump in 150 grams of plain flour, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt all at once.

Beat it around with a wooden spoon until it comes together in a paste that shirks away from the side of the saucepan and clumps together.  You want to dry it out and knock the heat out of it.

You then let it cool a bit more while you break and beat four eggs. The eggs then get slopped in to the paste. bit by bit. You have to work at the dough to get it to accept the eggs. It’s a little like trying to make new friends. You might not need to add all the eggs. You want it to be smooth and glossy and to drop off the end of a teaspoon happily if you jerk it. 

You then make little rounds on a baking tray lined with paper. Apparently slicking the top of each bun-to-be with a little bit of water helps make them crispy.

These then get put in a 200 degree oven and baked for twenty minutes. Then you take them out, flip them over, puncture their bottoms and put them back in for a couple of minutes to dry out. Try not to open the oven too many times to check on them. And if you can handle just cooking one tray at a time, you’ll probably get better results. The ones on the bottom tray get a can get little stunted. It’s the younger child syndrome put to work in pastry.

We filled ours with a creme patisserie tainted with ground coffee and topped them with my favourite souvenir from Paris. No jangly Eiffel Tower totems for me; just Bonne Maman’s chestnut jam. It’s the sleek European cousin of peanut butter or nutella. Rounded, sweet and slightly grainy, it’s also best friends with coffee.

Hard to think of a better Friday night really.

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