These little choux puffs are crispy and hollow, perfect for filling with whatever cream, custard or chocolate you fancy, so adapt this to whatever you feel like.
For a lazy filling, I whipped some cream with a sprinkling of icing sugar and piped it in on top of a small scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream, stuffed in a few sliced frozen cherries, all finished off with a sprinkling of icing sugar on top. You could also fill them with whipped cream and cover in melted chocolate for an alternative.
They should be eaten on the day of making, altough you can make the choux paste a little in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or so if that helps with your preparations.
I use our organic ciabatta flour for these, which gives a lovely crisp and hollow puff. This white flour is designed for high hydration so I thought it would also be a good match for a pastry with a high water content. It creates a crispy, firm shell, ideal for filling.
Makes 30 puffs
Preheat your oven to 200°C. Line your baking trays with baking parchment (you may need to bake the puffs in batches depending on the size of your oven).
Measure the water and milk into a saucepan, and add the butter and salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
Add your sifted flour to the pan quickly, and turn off the heat. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan, and there are no lumps.
Allow the mixture to cool to a tepid temperature.
When it has cooled, gradually add the beaten egg, incorporating it vigorously. It will initially look sloppy, before transforming into a thickened paste. Control the amount of egg you add so that you can monitor the dropping consistency of the choux paste – it should reach dropping consistency of 5-6 seconds (the time it takes for it to fall off your wooden spoon). You may not need all the egg. Alternatively if it is too tight, add a dash of water sparingly. You want a satiny finish. Different flours absorb liquid slightly differently, so pay attention to how yours is reacting and tweak accordingly to achieve the dropping consistency.
Take a teaspoon at a time of your choux paste and place roughly eight cm apart in little balls on your baking trays, to give them room to expand. You can pipe it for a neater effect, but I don’t mind them looking a bit “rustic” personally.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check them after 15 minutes, and if they’re colouring too quickly adjust the temperature slightly. You want them to achieve a lovely deep golden colour and be cooked through.
Remove from the oven, turn the oven off, and pierce the side of each puff with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Place them back in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes. Remove, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Enjoy with your filling of choice.
(In this instance, whip your cream with a couple of teaspoons of icing sugar until fluffy. Slice the choux bun in half, and place a small scoop of ice cream inside. Using a piping bag and nozzle, pipe whipped cream on top, and add a few berries or pieces of fresh fruit if in season. Dust with icing sugar on top and enjoy immediately.)