This is not an area of familiarity for me when it comes to baking. Of all the topics we covered in class: Pate a Choux, Meringue, Crepes, and Phyllo I have very limited experience with most.
I’ve never made Pate a Choux (which means paste of cabbages), nor do I care much for the end products which include cream puffs, eclairs, and beignets. Oh, I’ve eaten my share of chocolate eclairs and churros but they are on the list of things I usually avoid. My mother was a big cream puff lover and pastries made with pate a choux are very popular in Japan. Her favorite treat was a cream puff but I always preferred cookies or cakes, preferably chocolate. I have made meringue before, a very good low fat cookie called “forgotten cookies” is made from meringue and I’ve made them before. Problem was they tasted so good I ate them all in a couple days therefore accomplishing nothing by making low calorie cookies. I’ve also made many dishes requiring whipped egg whites but we made some different things in class such as swiss meringue in which egg whites and sugar are cooked over simmering water, then whipped until stiff.
The stiff mixture is then piped into shapes, baked, then can be used as a base or cup for fruit, puddings, mousse, etc. I tried the finished product which looked beautiful but was so sweet it made my teeth hurt! Don’t think I’ll be using too much swiss meringue in the future. Making crepes was very educational. I’ve enjoyed eating them but never made them before. The batter is mixed in a blender, sits at least 1 hour, then spread thinly in the crepe pan. My first few were ugly but then they got much better. I made some apple filling and Tela made some brandy whipped cream. Crepes with caramel apple and sea salt with brandy whipped cream were delicious. (A little too much cinnamon though) We all participated in making baklava. I made the honey/sugar syrup, Eric made the nut mixture, and Lisa prepared the first several layers of dough. Tela, a baklava expert, cut it into perfect diamonds. We’ll taste it next week.
I asked my husband later if he thought I should try to make it and he said he preferred chocolate baklava. Hmmm, I may look into that. Making popovers was a bonus and very interesting. This is another thing I’ve never made but it’s very simple. I never thought about adding ingredients to popovers but Chef Kurima suggested adding fruit, herbs, spices, etc.
I’m including the recipe here. My version had grated parmesan cheese and finely diced fresh rosemary, however anything you like can be added–just keep the quantity small so it will rise.
10 oz vegetable oil
8 oz AP flour
1 tsp salt
16 oz whole milk
3 oz whole butter, melted
Place small amount of oil (1/2 oz) in each muffin tin or popover tin and use pastry brush to spread over all the surface. Place pan in 425 degree oven until hot.
Sift flour, salt together and place in large bowl. In separate bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and butter. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and whip until smooth. OK to do this by hand.
Remove pan from oven and fill each 2/3 full . Bake at 425 for 20 min. (less if using mini muffin pans), then reduce temp to 275 and bake 10 more min. (less if using mini muffin pans)