Baking Club #2 : mini choux party!

Last Sunday, we held our second Baking Club. This time, Delphine welcomed us in her lovely kitchen in West London. The Baking Team was composed of Delphine, Karine, Fabienne & I, and  I had the pleasure to introduce my new friend Vijiti (Winner of the Great British Chocolate Cake Off 2011) to them. It was an english speaking (-gibberish for myself) Baking Club!

The theme of this month, due to some "post-Christmas" concerns, was "Light Delight". The recipe was determined online, on a poll posted on the blog. Cheesecake, fruit mousse and flan caramel were suggested but it's finally the mini-choux that won the vote. Not sure it was really a "light" delight though! :-p
We decided to make some choux filled with vanilla crème pâtissière and then some chouquettes.

As the hostess, Delphine had the opportunity to present a recipe that she likes. And she rightfully chose "Madeleines à la praline rose". If you don't know what a praline rose is, I shall explain it really soon (Oh! I did it there). In the meantime, just imagine a big almond covered in pink sugar and crushed into some nice madeleines that turn right away into the most gorgeous pink color. And the praline not only gives color to the madeleine : it adds an extra crunch and a nutty taste!

As you may know, choux pastry can be tricky. The success depends on how well you first "cook" the pastry in your pan and then how well you know your oven for the second bake. Yes you read right : choux pastry is cooked twice!
What I find the most tricky is the oven cooking part. You really need to know your oven to determine your cooking time and temperature. You'll generally find recipes that recommend to bake for 30 min at 180°. Well, it can be OK in certain ovens, but not in all of them.
I prefer my method, though a bit complicated. But first, let's have a look at the recipe that we used.

Choux pastry is a classic of baking. I have that recipe from my father, that I'm sure he received from my grand-father who worked in a bakery. Not a family heirloom though! Just a classic recipe.

Ingredients ( for approx 40 choux) :
  • 250g milk (or water if you want, but choux will be less tasty)
  • 100g butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 150g flour
  • 4 to 5 eggs
  1. Put the milk, the butter and a pinch of salt in a pan on a medium-low heat.
  2. When the butter is melted in the milk and it reaches the boiling point, turn the heat off and add all the flour in one go.
  3. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the pastry forms a dough ball that keeps together.
  4. Turn the heat on (low heat) and beat the dough for approx. 4 to 5min, to "dry" it. This will help take a lot of the moisture out of the pastry to achieve puffed choux. You should end up with a nice, shiny dough, not sticky.
  5. Place the dough in a bowl and wait for 10min to let it cool down.
  6. Then you have two options :
    1. the traditional one : use your arm's muscles to mix the eggs into the dough
    2. the lazy modern one : use a food processor
  7. The idea stays the same : add one egg at a time and wait for it to be well combined before adding a second. You may need a fifth egg (if you use small eggs) : if you think you need it, just beat it in a separate bowl and add a little to your dough first.
  8. When your dough is stiff and forms a beak or ribbon, it's ready.
  9. You can now spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag (with a plain nozzle) and pipe choux of 3cm wide and 2cm high on to baking sheets lined with baking paper. Space then quite enough because they are going to spread a little while baking.
  10. Gently flatten the choux with a fork or your finger.
  11. Glaze then with egg wash (a yolk beaten with a little water)
  12. At this point, if you want "chouquettes", add some sugar grains.
  13. Now the real tricky part : the baking.
The piped choux (#9)

Brush with a little egg wash (#11)

Baking instructions : 
  1. When you start this recipe, preheat the oven full whack (between 240° to 260°).
  2. When your choux are piped on the baking sheets, quickly open the oven, put the baking sheets inside (2 at a time) and then wait for the thermostat to be back at the temperature you set it on.
  3. Then turns the oven off.
  4. After 15 minutes approx, when the choux are puffed but still a bit pale, turn the oven on to 170°-180°.  (After 4 to 5 minutes, keep the oven door slightly open with a wooden spoon)
  5. After 10 to 12 min, depending on your oven and the size of the choux, they should be baked.
These baking indications can varie from one oven to another and, most of all, from one choux pastry to another. You have to stay focused on it while cooking, sorry!
Choux are baked when they are slightly brown, don't stick anymore to the baking sheet and you can feel that they are very light, with a nice crust.

Mini choux.


You can then fill these little darlings with crème pâtissière, flavored with vanilla, chocolate, coffee or any favorite flavor of yours (mine are passion fruit and orange blossom water!).

We decorated some choux with disks of marzipan , brushed with food coloring and sprinkles. What do you think of them? Nice aren't they!


Thanks to Delphine for having us. I hope she'd like to have us back some day for another Baking Club.
And thanks to her lovely daughters for helping piping the choux. If it wasn't for Héloïse, I might have forget the egg wash!

If you'd like to take part in the next Baking Club (probably end of March), please get in touch.
Stay tuned via Facebook or Twitter so you won't miss a thing!

    French version of this post coming soon...

4 commentaires:

  1. I really enjoyed this delicious afternoon.
    Thanks for sharing your little secret choux baking timing.

  2. Thanks Cindy for this lovely afternoon, AND for leaving out the part where I poured 1L of milk instead of 250 ml into the creme pâtissiere...

  3. Hi Cindy, please can I join the next baking club in March? It looks like you make some wonderful treats!!! I would also love to hear how Delphine made the "Madeleines à la praline rose". They look beautiful. My email address is probably best to contact me on: I promise to send you the madeleine photos from your recipe this weekend - sorry about the delay. x sharon

    1. Hi Sharon!
      Of course we'd like you to join us for the next Baking Club!
      But because we don't have a lot of space in our kitchens, the places are limited. And to be fair with everyone, I prefer to open the "booking" when the recipe is chosen, on the "first-come, first-served" basis. So stay tuned here (or Facebook or Twitter) to know when the theme is announced, and when the recipe is voted.
      I'll pass your message to Delphine and let you know about the recipe. Do you have some pralines roses? I heard that they are pretty difficult to buy in England.
      I'm looking forward to your madeleines photos!


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