pastries

Choux Trouble – Fig and Mascarpone Puffs

Fig and Mascarpone Choux Puffs by Yudhika Sujanani

Fig and Mascarpone Choux Puffs by Yudhika Sujanani

The first time I made choux puffs was when I was about 16 years old. My mom was a huge fan of the Food and Home magazine and there was a feature on choux pastries which I found intriguing. I marched myself to the kitchen with my mother egging me on to make up a batch and they turned out perfect.

This started a craze and the Saturday arvie Swiss Roll was replaced by Profiteroles or Eclairs. The pastry was filled with scoops of fresh cream and then drizzled with chocolate. For some reason, I can’t even remember why, we just stopped making them. I have been working on some recipes for Eid, and remember that these puffs are a Persian favourite. They are called Nan Khameii.

I created these with a fig and mascarpone cream – ordinary whipped cream tends to flop after a bit and makes these pastries go soggy. The thicker the cream, the better the puff. I have tried these with chopped dried figs in the cream but much prefer a swirl of good red fig jam instead.

Fig and Mascarpone Puffs – Nan Khameii

Ingredients

For the choux pastry:
250ml cold water
125g butter, cubed
140g cake flour
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs

In a thick bottomed pan, bring the water and butter on a medium heat until the butter melts.
Add the flour and salt, then stir until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan.
Remove from the heat, and leave to cool until slightly warm.

Cooking up the flour butter and water in an AMC pot!

Cooking up the flour butter and water in an AMC pot!

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Beat the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Pipe the mixture onto a greased baking tray leaving enough room in between them.

Piped choux pastry on a baking sheet

Piped choux pastry on a baking sheet

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180 degrees celsius and bake for 20 minutes.
Switch off the oven and leave to cool in the oven.

Pretty and puffed!

Pretty and puffed!

For the filling

2 x tubs Mascarpone Cream
2ml vanilla paste or essence
120ml icing sugar
50ml red fig jam

70g white chocolate, melted

Place the cream and vanilla into a mixing bowl, then whisk while gradually adding the icing sugar.
Continue whisking the cream until stiff.
Stir the fig jam into the cream.
Slice through the puff and fill with cream.
Drizzle white chocolate over the puff to garnish.

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The joys of jet lag….

Freshly baked croissants

 

I have just got back from a fabulous holiday…three weeks of pure bliss.  I am such a lucky girl…Bangkok, Koh Samui and Singapore in one holiday.  Luckier still, the Bangkok leg of the trip was sponsored by the Royal Thai Embassy in Pretoria, who arranged an invitation to Bangkok Fashion Week  as well as a few days at the world famous Blue Elephant cooking school.

We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of our three week holiday stint – great weather, fantastic food, 5 star service, and above all such friendly and helpful people. Despite this, we were still happy to get back home last week. I think that is the benefit of a 3 week break instead of 2 – you are not left still needing a bit more. Plus, I have to say that despite the taxis, broken traffic lights and the billing shambles, Joburg is actually not such a bad place (I must be getting soft!)

After all the holiday fun comes the work – I am now way behind on my blogging. But for now, I am going to jump the queue with this blog because this recipe needs to be shared with the world!  In the last week I have dealt with my jet lag troubles by indulging in a few decadent treats. On Sunday morning I woke up at 3am, and after spending an hour tossing and turning in bed I decided to get up  and do something useful.  I briefly thought about watching a movie, reading a book, or sewing a dress. I decided instead to fulfil an early morning craving for home-made croissants – light and delicious freshly baked pastry was what  my troubled tummy was calling for.

So at 4am, with just the afghan hounds for company, I tiptoed downstairs and crept into the kitchen.  An early morning start is always enjoyable once you are up, and it also meant the croissants were ready for tea at 3pm.

 

My butter stash…

 

I always keep a stash of Spar butter in the refrigerator so I don’t break the bank when I make these.  I love cooking and baking with butter and maybe you have noticed that it has become quite expensive.  If you are going to give this recipe a bash – stay away from the margarine….it just won’t work!

Here is my recipe for Butter Croissants….

Ingredients:

500g cake flour

7g dried yeast

10ml salt

50g sugar

40g powdered milk (I used Klim)

350ml iced water

275g butter, at room temperature

1 large egg, beaten

Icing sugar, optional to dust

Here’s how:

Sift the cake flour into a large mixing bowl.

Add the yeast to the sifted flour.

Dissolve the salt, sugar and milk powder in 100ml of the iced water.

Stir the ingredients into the iced water.

Make a well in the flour and pour in the iced water mixture.

Use your fingertips to work the flour into the liquid.

Slowly add the remaining iced water taking care not make the dough too sticky.

Knead the dough lightly and then leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles.

Knead the dough for a few seconds and cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate the dough for 6 hours.

While the dough is resting, lightly cream the butter.

Leave the butter in the refrigerator to chill – it should be cold but not hard.

Place the butter on grease proof and work it into a 10cm x 10cm block.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and then roll into a large rectangle.

Place the butter block diagonally over the centre of the dough.

Fold the edges over the butter ensuring that it is properly enclosed with the dough.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle.

Fold top third of the dough over the middle section.

Fold the bottom third over the middle section.

Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface with the folded flap facing right.

Roll out the dough out and repeat the process twice more – The dough must rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator each time.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle and cut out 2 x 35cm rounds.

Use a ruler to mark each round into eight ‘triangles’.

Refrigerate the triangles for 20 minutes.

Roll each triangle starting at the base and tuck the point under the roll.

Gently curl the roll into a crescent shape.

Leave the rolls to rise at room temperature.

Beat the egg with 5ml cold water.

Brush the croissants with the egg mixture.

Bake at 230 degrees celsius for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Croissants lightly dusted with icing sugar

Dust the croissants with icing sugar when they cool down.