So choux pastry was successfully made. I can now reel in the hope that I can bake just about anything. Speaking of which, I was greatly oscillating towards making something sweet with my choux pastry, of course; a profiterole or maybe even a croquembouche.
But I said wait a minute, I have all these beautiful cheeses I bought from ABC Farms, Pune. They have all these amazing homemade cheeses at a reasonable price, so anytime I get a chance to go to Pune, I grab as much as cheese as I can and come back. To let you in on some more information on ABC – you also get homemade liqueurs such as Sambuca and Cointreau, organic flours, honeys, herbs and oils among other wonderful things.
I had this big block of emmental that I wanted to use in my choux pastry. Originally, I wanted to make gougère – grated cheese is incorporated into choux pastry and then little circles are piped on to a baking sheet. It’s great to eat with a side of wine and traditionally the French would pair some of the finest wines with gougère. But then where’s my “filling” factor?
As I bite into that wonderfully, crusty little choux bun, I wanted to be surprised by something creamy, something that would so beautifully harmonize with the bun in such a way that both would melt in my mouth into nothingness (after which I would sadly think of running the extra mile the next day).
What’s creamier and cheesier than béchamel? So, béchamel it was. As expensive as cheeses may be, I am hardly stingy with them. A generous amount of cheese was added to the lovely béchamel and a pinch of paprika was tipped in for that punch. The velvety béchamel was then piped into the choux buns, some grated cheese was sprinkled on top and then they were baked again for a few minutes.
They were gone one after the other, just between me and Pavan and then I thanked my lucky stars for having been blessed with such wonderful things to eat.
- ½ choux pastry recipe (use half the dough and save the rest for another day)
- 1 egg beaten, for egg wash
- 1 cup emmental, grated (you can substitute with a mild cheddar)
- 1 ½ cup milk
- 50 g plain flour
- 50 g unsalted butter
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of paprika
- Preheat the oven to 200 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Fit ½ inch plain tip into a disposable piping bag. Fill the piping bag with choux pastry little at a time.
- Holding the bag at 90 degrees, ¾ inch away from the baking sheet, pipe 1 ½ inch rounds, 2 inches apart from each other. When you’ve achieved the desired size, release the bag, and with a quick twist of your wrist, cut off the tail on top of the pastry round with the edge of nozzle.
- After piping, brush the piped rounds with a beaten egg.
- Bake at 200 C for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up. Reduce the temperature 170 C and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, for the béchamel, melt butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir continuously. Now add the milk and keep whisking until you have reached a thick consistency. Remove from heat, incorporate cheese (save a little for sprinkling), salt to season and paprika. The béchamel will thicken more in time.
- Allow the baked choux pastry buns to cool. Fit a disposable piping bag with ½ inch plain tip and fill it with béchamel a little at a time.
- Make a small snip just with the tips of your scissors at the back of each choux pastry bun. And then use your index finger gently to drill a hole at the back. Pipe the béchamel into each choux bun until the bun plumps up. Sprinkle cheese on top of each choux bun and bake again for 5 minutes. Serve warm.