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Choux Choux Be Doo

I got it into my head that I wanted to have a bash at making some choux pastry.

The original plan was for prefitoroles, but then I thought…why make life easy? Why not have a go at some classic chocolate eclairs?

Why not indeed.

I melted some butter in some water (what?)

Weird

Before adding flour, some sugar and a pinch of salt

Now for the beating…

I beat the flour into the wet mix until it formed a ball of dough…only it didn’t really form a ball. It formed a paste and in my stupidness naiveness, I thought that this would be ok. I then let the paste cook off for a couple of minutes, giving it a bash with the spatula now and again.

Choux paste-try

If it looks like this…it’s wrong.

I removed the mixture from the heat before adding and beating in eggs.  The first egg was a double yolker – WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? – so then I was a bit confused about how many more eggs I should add, plus it was chicken twins, PLUS the yolks are important, but so are whites so OH GOD THIS IS NIGHTMARE.

I landed on the side of adding less eggs, so I only beat in two more.

It’s all looking a bit…”wet”

Instead of thinking at this point “This dough looks a bit sloppy, I should probably stop adding liquids” I beat in another egg. Which left me with this:

THIS. IS. WRONGO.

Let’s skim over the fact that I actually tried to shove this mixture into a piping bag and make some desparate eclair shape.

No.

*covers eyes*

So I added some more flour to the mixture to make it more dough-like. I vacillated between putting the dough over the heat and cooking out the flour and doing something weird to the eggs, or keeping the dough cool and not fucking it all up completely. A mixture of the two seemed like the worst possible option, so of course, this was the route I took.

I managed to get a somewhat dough like substance, and piped some strips onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.

There are no words. Other than “Oh no”

Right. If you’ve followed this so far and are thinking…”Oh, it’ll be OK” then you really need to read the rest of my blog. It certainly WON’T be OK, and it certainly WILL make me swear a lot. So you might want to bail out at this point if you are of a sensitive nature.

Baked the fuckers. The fuckers didn’t rise, the fuckers didn’t brown, the fuckers were fucked.

They don’t look too awful do they? Well looks can be deceiving (AND I THINK SOME OF THEM LOOK LIKE PENIS)

They were as flat as pitta bread once cooled. There was no way they could be split in half and stuffed with cream.

Disaster!

DING DING!

Round TWO.

So, I’ve paid good money for cream and butter and chocolate. I’m not prepared to let the ingredients go to waste, and so I start again. Mum told me that she’d tried to make choux pastry for a dinner party back in the ’70’s three times before she succeeded. She said this while giggling behind her hands.

Damn Her.

Butter and water. BOIL THE BASTARDS.

FLOUR IN

Beat, beat, beat

BEAT IT.

Oh YES!

EGG IN

YAY! DOUGH! not doh!

2ND EGG IN

Getting glossy

3RD EGG

Whoa scarily split! Keep beating and it’ll mix in OK.

FINAL DOUGH

Hmmm, yellowy goodness. *arm aches*

Into a piping bag with a nozzle. In retrospect I would leave the nozzle off and pipe straight from the bag.

It’s thick and PIPEY

PIPE THE STUFF

NOT LIKE PENISES. (except for that one that looks like a penis)

BAKE.

IGNORE THE DIRTY. The eclairs are rising

TA DAH!

Comparison shot

I whipped the cream

OH! Nana rang mid whip so it’s gone a little past it’s best. You can’t judge me because I was being nice to an over 80 year old. *smug*

And then got on with the chocolate glaze.

So, I decided to half the glaze and only make enough eclairs for 4 of us – I can freeze four of the pastries.

Half the chocolate into a saucepan with some water, and then I forgot that I was halving the recipe so I shoved the full amount of icing sugar and cocoa power into a bowl and, well..

Disaster. Again!

A drop of water sorted that out.

CHOCOLATE ICING

I halved the buns. There were three types.

The good:

The Good

The bad

The Bad (eugh)

And the ugly

Eclair and knife

Um

The buns were cut in half, and piped with whipped cream

HMMM-MMMMMMM

And then I topped them with the chocolate icing

Ta fucking DAH

Here we go with an ostentaciouis picture

Naughty but ACTUALLY ANNOYING

They are delicious though.

This is a scary shot. The cream + chocolate + choux pastry = DEVIL EYES

*ominous silence*

You can find the recipe I used here.

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Chocolate Eclair Cheesecake. No, I’m not joking.

My friend Vicky is pregnant (Yay! Babies!) and sent me an email telling me that she had just pigged out on Cadbury’s Chocolate Eclairs.

As I slurped on my green tea, and eyed my snack of a fresh fruit salad mournfully, it came to me in a blinding flash! A chocolate eclair flavoured cheesecake would be utterly brilliant and so, my strange and short lived obsession began.

I flirted with the idea of a digestive base with fudge pieces, a cheesecake topping with fudge pieces and a chocolate sauce with toffee shards, but then I remembered that I had a tin of Carnation Dulce de Leche in the cupboard just aching to be used.

So my plans changed and became…a chocolate biscuit base, a caramel flavoured cheesecake filling with a butterscotch sauce for the top.

NOW WITH EVEN MORE CHOC CHIPS. Yeah. Take that.

I dropped my food processor on the floor a few weeks ago and it has broken in the most annoying manner possible – the tiny little piece of plastic that locks the “bowl” thingy into the “motor” thingy snapped off and now it won’t cut or grate or blend or anything. *technical*

So for the chocolate biscuit base I used a whole pack of Maryland Double Chocolate Cookies and smashed them into smithereens with a rolling pin and a freezer bag. *Old Skool*

I do so love a bit of violent cooking

I melted 90g of butter in a saucepan and stirred in the crumbly biscuit crumbs.

I sprayed a 23cm springform cake tin with Cake Release spray and pressed the biscuit and butter mixture into the bottom of the tin.

Biscuit base

At this point I went a bit mad and couldn’t decide whether to bake the base or refrigerate it. So I baked it for ten minutes and it went all squishy and peculiar so don’t do that – instead just pop the base into the fridge while you get on with making the filling.

I used 750g of philadelphia cream cheese and beat it gently in the mixer to soften. Once soft I added 100g caster sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a tin of dulce de leche and mixed until well combined.

Seriously.

I then added three large eggs one by one, ensuring each egg was throughly incorporated before cracking the next one in.

I transferred the mixture into the cake tin and there was bloody LOADS of it – honestly it was like the magic porridge pot, and it just about fitted into the tin. *phew*

*blinks*

I didn’t want to use a bain marie to bake the cheesecake, so instead I placed a roasting tray on the bottom shelf of the oven and the cheesecake on the shelf above it. Steam should prevent the cheesecake from cracking. Should. That’s an important word.

Steamy

I baked the cheesecake for one hour on Gas Mark 3. When the topping has firmed up, but still has a slight wobble in the centre it is ready to come out of the oven.

Almost perfect!

I allowed the cake to cool in it’s tin and after 20 minutes I returned to see how it was getting on.

Crack is Wack

So, I don’t know why this happened – maybe I should have gone for the full on bain marie…or maybe there was just too much filling and it just starting collapsing under it’s own weight. Whatever it is isn’t a major big deal as there is still a sauce to go on the top. I did want to pour a thin layer of butterscotch onto the top of the whole cake and then refrigerate which would have been pretty hardcore, but that gaping chasm scared me a bit and I decided to make the sauce and just pour it over individual slices as I served them.

The cheesecake needs refrigerating for a couple of hours, but remove from the fridge about half an hour before serving.

So, a basic butterscotch/toffee sauce to top the cheesecake and give that lovely toffee flavour:

45g dark muscovado sugar

2 x tablespoons golden caster sugar

150g golden syrup

30g unsalted butter

125ml thick cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

I melted the sugar, butter and syrup in a pan.

You can get a toothache just looking at this.

I didn’t stir as I’m pretty sure stirring does something weird to sugar so just sort of swilled it all around a bit and then boiled ferociously for five minutes.

Foamy

Stir in the cream and vanilla and take off the heat. I then allowed this to cool right down to room temperature before serving.

I sliced the cheesecake and drizzled a little sauce over the top, you don’t need to be too heavy handed and the sauce is really, very sweet.

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

It was pretty tasty and did evoke the flavour of a Cadbury’s Chocolate Eclair, BUT, not quite chocolatey enough. I think I can improve this by making a toffee base, chocolate filling and toffee on the top…the experiment will continue.

Oh, I invented this recipe so please do use it – and let me know how you get on. You won’t regret it.