Have You Ever Made A Choux?

Yesterday, tired of cold sandwiches and grilled cheese, I set out to find a new exciting recipe for lunch. Really I was attempting to find something that did not involve bread or wheat, but of course I always fall back on white (unbleached) flour, my delicious friend. I also had a week old eggplant sitting in the fridge wasting away because, as you may know, its not one of my favourites.

Now, this might be a weekend lunch for some, or even a light dinner. I am lucky enough to work from home and have my kitchen at my disposal all day… a cooks dream!

I decided to try my hand at making Pâte à Choux. Weird for lunch? Well, it was a savoury choux pastry for one, and when I saw this recipe – I knew instantly that it was going to be my lunch… no question. A plus is that this recipe is in weight measurements. I couldn’t possibly mess up my first choux if I was dealing with weights!

I had seen some pretty scary stories about making choux pastry in the past, so I was a little scared to try this, especially for lunch. Theres nothing worse then:

1. Being starving
2. Having a major meal catastrophe
3. Resorting to eating a doughy mess

I thought this would be my fate, but I tried it anyways. The recipe for the choux pastry looked easy enough, and claimed to only take 20 min.. and 10 minutes of that was the dough cooling. I think it took me more like 30 min because I am slow… but don’t be overwhelmed by the instructions… they are detailed, but not complicated!

Prosciutto and Eggplant Gougere

Recipe from kitchenster for Prosciutto and Aubergine Gougere

 

For the Choux Pastry:

85g | 3 oz butter cut into small cubes
220 ml | 7 1/2 fl oz water
105 g | 3 3/4 oz plain flour
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
55g | 2 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon english mustard (I used homemade mustard)


For the filling:

1 small eggplant cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
85 gr. | 3 oz prosciutto, cut into shreds
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
4 tablespoon 35% cream (recipe calls for double cream)
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
salt and freshly ground black pepper
butter for greasing ramekins

To make the Choux Pastry:

1. Place the butter and the water in a saucepan over a low heat and allow the butter to melt.

2. Meanwhile, add the salt to the flour and sift the flour 3 times on greaseproof paper (or into a bowl) to aerate  it  and ensure it is free of lumps.

3. When the butter has melted, turn the heat to high to bring the mixture to boil.

4. As soon as the water comes to a fast boil, so that the liquid climbs the sides of the pan, turn off the heat and quickly dump the flour into the liquid, all at once.

5. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour vigorously into the liquid until a firm, smooth  paste has formed. Beat the paste until it comes away from the edges of the pan, forming a ball. Do not beat it any longer than it takes to come away from the sides of the pan or the baked choux will have a cracked appearance.

6. Spread the paste in a thin layer on a cold plate. Leave it to cool for about 10 minutes, until it feels just warm to the touch. (While the pastry is cooling, cook the filling – see recipe below)

7. Return the paste to the saucepan and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. It might seem as if it doesn’t want to blend, but it will.

8. Continue adding the eggs until completely combined. The mixture will hold its shape and have a slight sheen. (At this point the pastry dough can be used immediately, refrigerated for 24 hours if tightly covered, or frozen for up to 1 month.)

9. Lightly butter 4 small (or 2 big) ramekins.

10. Fill a pastry bag with the paste, and using a 1 cm (1/2 inch) plain piping nozzle, pipe the pastry around the inside of the ramekins, all the way up the sides to just below the top edge of the ramekin… leaving space in the middle. Basically like a chimney of pastry dough.

To make the filling:

1. Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C)

2. Fry the eggplant in the oil until soft, then add the prosciutto, basil and cream. Season.

3. Spoon the filling carefully into the centre of the ramekins and srpinkle over the remainig cheese.

4. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen and well-browned. The baking time  depends on the size of your ramekins. It might take longer for bigger ramekins, so keep an eye on it.

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