choux pastry challenge

I love making choux pastry. It’s the kind of recipe that is so ridiculously simple to make; but it packs such a punch – impressing the socks off of your friends and family.

That’s why we decided it would be the perfect baking crew challenge.

Simple recipe with jaw-dropping results. Win – Win.

I’ve been making choux pastry for the past several months; but I’ve only made eclairs: choux pastry filled with pastry cream (or eggnog pastry cream during the holidays) … so I decided that I wanted to make profiteroles. Little balls of doughy goodness filled with both whipped cream and chocolate chantilly (whipped chocolate).

Doesn’t that sound perfectly delightful?

I thought so.

Until I arrived for our baking crew gathering.

table of choux

Mother of pearl … was I ever impressed!

Tom & Aimee had decided on making swans. That’s right. Perfect little chocolate choux swans filled with chocolate chantilly.

showstoppers

A showstopper? Heck ya.

Meredith decided to up the ante a little by making a gateau st. honore. This decadent cake is made up of a base layer of puff pastry, ringed with choux pastry piped on the outer edge. The centre is filled with pastry cream, and then more cream puffs are baked and filled with whipped cream, dipped in caramelized sugar and then placed, side by side, on top of the choux pastry ring. A layer of piped whipped cream finishes it off.

Not only did Meredith make the choux pastry. She also went ahead and made the puff pastry.

So impressive.

I loved it.

slice of meredith's choux

Cory either couldn’t decide on what he wanted to make … or he really wanted to impress the heck out of all of us. Either way … the result was a plethora of absolutely delicious pastries.corys choux

Whipped dijon potatoes with rare beef and chives sandwiched between a little choux pastry bun.

Chocolate caramel variation of a Paris-Brest (a cream puff ring filled with flavoured cream): whipped cream, chocolate, caramel. I’d just like to mention that the caramel was perfectly bitter.

Caramel drizzled profiteroles filled with whipped cream.

Braided strawberry choux wheel with creme patisserie and creme chiboust. Another showstopper.

Ridiculous right?

Why I thought my little chocolate chantilly, whipped cream filled profiteroles were going to impress my friends … I do not know!

People keep asking what we do once we all sit down and start to eat our baked treats. Well … this challenge was a perfect example of the baking crew at its best.

A great choux pastry is light and airy on the inside (it puffs up as it bakes), but has a crust on the outside. Make sense?

Since we all used different recipes, we were able to compare the different results.assortment of choux

Tom & Aimee used the Thomas Keller recipe – which called for them to rest the choux pastry overnight, as well as bake it for 75 minutes … we all agreed they could have used a little longer in the oven. It wasn’t quite crispy enough. But in impressive factor … they knocked it out of the park.  They made chocolate swans!  Who doesn’t love a chocolate swan?

Cory had a similar issue with all his choux. I thought his was the best flavour, but it didn’t puff up quite as much as he would have liked. Since we had so many to choose from … I’d have to say that the braided strawberry choux wheel was addictively delightful. Think of it as an updated strawberry shortcake … only 100 million times better. It was THAT good.

Meredith’s gateau st. honore had a great texture and flavour: add to that rich pastry cream and perfectly flakey puff pastry … you’ve got yourself a real winner.

I’d tell you more about my profiteroles … but really … they were a little ho hum. I found after tasting the others choux that mine was a little too eggy. I can claim to having the best exterior crunch and puffy interior … as proclaimed by the baking crew, not my own huge ego ;0)

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