These are adorable! Okay, it’s pretty well documented that I don’t like sweet things. I’m not even really much a fan of ice cream (I’ll take something spicy and hot over something sweet and cold any day). But something this adorable? I’m so glad that I made it!
And I made it as part of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally. So before you read any further, hop on over to The Sensitive Epicure to bookmark all of the other fabulous gluten-free pâte à choux recipes, and thank Erin for all of her hard work in hosting!
And thanks to the rest of the bloggers for kicking my baking butt into gear! Each month, we come together to bake a gluten-free good. We do this using a ratio, so that we can adjust and substitute as we see fit. Using a ratio based on weight allows us this freedom, since flours, egg substitutes, and fats have different weights. When you substitute one for one by weight instead of by volume, the results will be more consistent.
This month’s challenge is pâte à choux, or choux pastry. It’s used in a bunch of things: éclairs, French crullers, beignets—the most ridiculous, in my opinion, is croquembouche. I decided to make cream puffs mostly because I asked Ryan what I should make and he told me to make cream puffs.
I did make littler cream puffs, as I believe that sweet things should come in serving sizes of about two bites—three’s pushing it, four’s the limit. I like biscotti after dinner with espresso, love to pop a rich truffle for dessert, and bake my cookies in all different sizes to be eaten depending on how big or small a cookie people want. These cream puffs were no different.
Since it’s summer (okay okay, still spring, but unseasonably warm after weeks of rain), I’m craving refreshing things. I made lassis last night, and wanted to transfer the cool taste of the rose water and cardamom to these baked goods. If you don’t have rose water and cardamom, then you could always make the Rad Whip without them. Easy-peasy.
This recipe comes with some assembly required, but if you come home, change, start doing laundry, clean the kitchen, and then jump around screaming, ‘I’m going to do all the things!’ while pumping your arms in the air, then you should have no problem working up the energy to get it all done.
Serves: 6-8 (makes 8 or so cream puffs—it could make one really giant cream puff if you wanted it to, so don’t let this number dictate how many cream puffs you make)
Special equipment: blender, hand mixer, food processor, pastry bag, and a silpat or parchment paper
For the Rad Whip:
Follow Isa Chandra’s recipe at the PPK.
To the heated mixture in the pan on the stove, I added about a half teaspoon of freshly-ground cardamom seeds and a teaspoon of rose water. Continue as normal.
Note that the total time for the Rad Whip is at least six hours and at most two overnights, so plan ahead accordingly!
For the puffs:
First, get your pastry bag ready with a medium-sized circular tip. Is it ready? Sitting there by the stove? Are you sure? Because this is the last time that I’m going to ask nicely.
Next, preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF).
Then prepare your egg replacer by whisking the Ener-G eggs with the water. Keep this mixture and your food processor close to the oven.
Heat the second measure of water, Earth Balance, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Stir constantly and bring to a boil—a really, really angry boil—a boil like it means it.
At a really, really angry boil, reduce heat to medium, add the flours, and stir rapidly. After a few minutes or so, the mixture will form a dough and will pull away from the sides of the pan. When this happens, remove the pan from heat.
Once the dough is touchable, but still hot, turn it into a food processor. Process for a few seconds, then, with the food processor still running, add the egg mixture in three batches. After each batch, it should appear glossy and smooth.
Alternatively, you could beat by hand in a bowl, but if you’ve just made Rad Whip without a hand mixer, then your arms will let you know that they respectfully decline to participate in this pâte à choux mixing.
Either way, the end product will most definitely be a paste.
When the paste has formed, turn it into a pastry bag. For cream puffs, pipe through a circular tip into irregular mounds about an inch and a half long and an inch high (4 cm by 2.5 cm). I did (or tried to do) three close piles and a pile on top, if that makes any sense. (For other pâte à choux pastries, like éclairs, may I redirect you to Google?)
[Note: This attempt resulted in much flatter puffs than I was hoping for. I might have let too much water steam off when making the paste, or I might have not had enough air incorporated after food processing, but I think mostly that I should have piped happy little piles of puffs instead of snaking them around themselves. My first puff was a happy pile, and it ended up poofing up pretty all right.]
Now, the oven. This part’s important, so pay attention!
Bake at 220ºC for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190ºC (375ºF) until the tops and sides of the pastries have browned—about 25 minutes.
Whatever you do, do not open the oven during any part of the baking cycle. You don’t even want to know what kinds of horrors will be unleashed upon the world if you do.
See, this is what they looked like just piped, through the oven door, because by the time I remembered to take a picture, they were already in the oven, and under no circumstances was I about to open the oven door:
Once the tops and sides have browned, remove the puffs from the oven to a cooling rack. Poke them in the side with a toothpick or whatever (we don’t have toothpicks, so, you know, I used a nail…) to help them cool. You’ll also be piping filling into this hole later, so yay hole!
When the puffs are completely cooled and your kitchen is sparkling clean except for the rack on which the puffs were cooling, put a small circular tip on your pastry bag (or, if you’re like me, on a ziplock bag because your pastry bag isn’t cut for the 230 tip) and fill with Rad Whip.
Pipe the Rad Whip into the puffs one at a time, being careful not to overfill. If you’re feeling fancy and your Rad Whip is holding up well, then you could overfill them just a little.
Alternatively, you could cut them in half (use a serrated knife), pipe filling onto the bottom half, and top with the, well, top half.
Dust with powdered sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, or whatever and serve! You could also dollop some ganache on these and call them profiteroles, if you like.
Garnishes: a dusting of powdered sugar, a sprinkle of cardamom seeds, or throw some chocolate ganache on there and call them profiteroles
Goes well with: espresso, a square of dark chocolate, or a glass of sherry—I’d recommend an Amontillado