Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mini Rose Pâte Choux

Spring is my favorite of all seasons because I love how colorful everything becomes, the weather is just warm enough and to me watching the flowers growing back on for another year help me remind of how incredible the cycle of life is. 
To celebrate spring and inspired by many Middle Eastern's recipes with roses this pâte choux is filled with rose and raspberry crème légère (pastry cream enriched with whipping cream) and raspberry glaze, all natural color. Basically I would say that flowers are to fruits what 80F is to spring season - the perfect match!

There is something about the size of these choux that really catches my attention and makes me relate that to spring too, it's probably its capability to be so cheerful and colorful even in a little tray just like colorful flowers hanging from a small tree. 
You may not know but there are many common flowers  that are eatable such as pansy, violet and roses but in order to become safe to eat they must be free of pesticides so always stay away from florists when you plan to use flowers in your recipes, going organic is really the right way to do this but picking your own flowers from your own garden is probably the best way even though I haven't experienced that yet ;(

Pansy, rose, lavender, violet and fennel mini choux
If using flowers of any kind, even fennel and lavender, they should be added with caution in a recipe because their piquant taste easily overwhelms the dish, in fact, flowers should be seen as a condiment, a little bit is enough and from my end this raspberry and rose crème légère was spot on. Strawberries and raspberries are all from the same family so it wasn't hard to match them in a recipe, they are already relatives ! 
This technique to flavor the pastry cream with fruits and flowers can be used in a widely way with infinite compositions, any fruit juice you want and any eatable flower you want but raspberry and roses are one of my favorite flavors, sweet and tangy, my love affair.

This pâte choux recipe creates a perfectly dry and hollow choux which becomes room for this amazing raspberry and rose filling and that's exacly how a pâte choux should be. If not dried enough it leaves an egg taste and a mushy texture in your mouth and that's not the proper way to appreciate this great confection invented in the 15th century. 
The glaze I made here was an easy way to make my choux  aesthetically more appealing but the classic way to make a choux glaze is by making a fondant were sugar is first cooked and then kneaded and then melted again. I find all sugar glazes kind of gross but sometimes it's really hard to avoid them, just like here for example.

yields about 60 mini choux
pâte choux:
250g water - 1 1/4 cup
110g unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
pinch of salt
pinch of granulated sugar
140g all purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs
raspberry and rose crème légère
240g heavy cream -1 cup 
200g raspberries - 2  cups
120g granulated sugar divided in two - 1/2 cup total
4 large egg yolks
40g cornstarch - 4 tbsp
120g whole milk - 1/2 cup
200g heavy cream - 3/4 cup
2 tbsp rose water or rose jelly 
125g confectionary sugar - 1 cup
20g raspberry puree - 2 tbsp

Preheat oven at 400F.
In a pan add water, cubed cold butter, pinch of salt and sugar. Bring this to a medium heat and as soon as the butter melts, turn off the heat and add the flour stirring it constantly until it forms a mass. Bring this dough back to heat and dry it out (dessécher) for one more minute or until the dough starts to form a very thin layer around the pan.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment on or using a whisk, whisk the dough until it cools, add one egg at a time and when the dough reaches a ribbon stage it's ready (ribbon stage is when the paddle attachment is lifted and the dough is heavy enough to fall down creating a ribbon connecting the attachment to the bowl).
Pipe the 1in round choux in a baking pan with a silpat or parchment paper on, press down the peak created and bake the dough until in gains a brown color (around 30 minutes). When it looks brown turn your oven down to 300F and leave your oven door ajar (put a wooden spoon on the door to leave it partially open). Let this choux dry until there is no more humidity inside (around 10 more minutes).

Prepare your pastry cream first by combining heavy cream, sugar, raspberry puree (raspberries blended or processed and sifted) and milk. Bring this to a low simmer, meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar (blanchir) until pale yellow, add the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Temper the egg yolk mixture with the simmering raspberry cream whisking constantly to avoid egg coagulation, bring this back to medium heat and whisking constantly waits for it to come to a full boil, then let it boil for 3 extra minutes always whisking (when using a thickening agent such as cornstarch always let it boil for 3 minutes to achieve its full thickening power).
Let this raspberry pastry cream cool and then add the rose water or jelly and the whipped cream (heavy cream whipped to medium peak) to turn this pastry cream into a crème légère. Put this filling in a pastry bag and pipe it inside the hollow choux (use the empty pastry tip to open a perfect hole in the base of the choux). 

Prepare the glaze by combining the confectionary sugar and raspberry puree, dip the surface of the mini choux in the pink glaze and let it sit to dry. If not serving in the same day just storage the choux and the filing in two different airtight container, pipe the filling in few hours before serving. The glaze can't be made ahead.