Wednesday, November 26, 2014
cheesecake choux puffs.
So I've been in a choux puff craze lately, although strictly speaking I've always loved this pastry. I've actually made another batch using this choux recipe before but didn't post it on the blog as the filling wasn't really up to expectations. The choux pastry was so good though that I found myself churning out flavour ideas just so that I could make the puffs again.
This recipe makes 12 largish puffs so I decided to split the batch into two flavours - matcha and cream cheese. For the latter I would top the dough with streusel before baking to give the puff a crunch that alludes to the texture of the base of a cheesecake. Although if I were to make this again, I would bake the streusel separately and fold it into the mousse instead of using it to top the puffs because it burns rather easily. If you're curious about the matcha ones, the mousse is made from instant matcha pudding with whipped cream folded into it, which is why I'm afraid I can't provide a recipe for them. It tasted good though because the pudding mix is from a renowned Japanese brand!
As for the cream cheese mousse, it's more on the tart than the sweet side which I felt complemented the streusel nicely and quite liked even though I'm not a huge fan of non-sweet cream cheese anything. If you like yours sweeter just increase the amount of sugar. Also note that the mousse has a rather loose consistency so you should try to make it in advance and refrigerate it so that it has time to firm up and is easier to pipe.
The choux pastry is probably the best I've ever tried in terms of its sturdiness when baked. Before encountering this recipe I used Pierre Herme's which calls for an equal amount of milk and water for the liquid component. The milk makes the choux more flavourful but also less crisp. The pastry tastes great but I've always wanted the puffs to be taller just because they look more appealing that way and also because you can pipe more filling into them. This recipe here uses only water so the pastry bakes up more firm and they still taste pretty darn good (read: deliciously buttery) despite the lack of milk. I can't say for sure if this batch tastes better than those made using Pierre Herme's recipe but I think it's sufficiently tasty and any flavour compromised for height is well worth it. I think I might give Pierre Herme's choux recipe another go soon before I make any conclusions.
Oh and this recipe is capable of yielding choux puffs taller than these you see here. I reduced the baking time because I was worried that the streusel would be reduced to charcoal if I were to give them a few extra minutes. The streusel may also have weighed the puffs down a bit. I promise that their maximum possible height is actually very impressive.
I can't even imagine how good these would taste in churro form *lightbulb moment*.
Cheesecake Choux Puffs
choux pastry recipe adapted from here
makes 12 large ones
For the pate a choux:
75g flour, sifted
110g egg (about 2 eggs)
For the cheesecake mousse:
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the streusel (you won't use all of it):
23g brown sugar
pinch of salt
37g butter, melted
60g cake flour
Make the mousse: Beat the cream cheese and 1/2 cup cream together until combined. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Whip the 1/3 cup cream to soft peaks and fold into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside in the fridge.
Make the streusel: Whisk the sugars, salt and butter together. Add the flour and stir until mixture becomes a thick cohesive dough. Set aside.
Make the pate a choux: Preheat oven to 210C. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicon mats.
Combine the water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the sifted flour. Mix vigorously until the mixture becomes a smooth dough. Stir it around for another minute before transferring to a bowl of a stand mixer.
Using a paddle attachment, beat the ball of dough until it has cooled down slightly then beat in the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition. The resulting dough should be smooth and supple. You may not need to use all the eggs.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a round plain tip. Pipe large mounds of dough (2 tbsp worth) onto the prepared baking sheets. Take the streusel dough, pinch off small lumps of it and scatter the pieces on top of the piped mounds of dough.
Bake until the puffs have risen to their maximum size (around 12 minutes) then lower the temperature down to 160C and bake until the puffs are brown, hollow and crisp (around another 12 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Fill puffs and refrigerate until cold.