Air cakes, which appeared thanks to Marie-Antoine Karemu, who served not only the French court, but also the Russian Emperor Alexander I, quickly gained popularity in Europe and beyond. Light, delicate, coated with sugar or chocolate icing, with cream filling - eclairs were loved by both adults and children.
Moreover, not only as a separate dessert, but also as the basis for the cake "Lady fingers". After their modifications appeared - shu and profitrolls, but they are all prepared on a choux pastry.
Key principles of choux pastry
Perhaps, this dough is really in the group of the most difficult, sharing the leading position with puff pastry. However, the tricks and nuances of many absolutely any dish, so to say that in cooking there are very simple and not requiring attentiveness recipes, it is impossible. However, sometimes it is necessary to tinker with eclairs even to those who are far from trying to cook pastries for the first time, and this applies to all their subspecies.
- Eclairs are sweet cakes that are coated with icing or chocolate, and filled with cream inside. Accordingly, the dough for them can be both sweet and sweet. But profiteroles mean mainly meat, fish or vegetable fillings, since they are the main snack food on the buffet tables, so they need unleavened dough.
- For proper choux pastry, the temperature of the ingredients plays an important role. Eggs must be removed from the refrigerator and allowed to warm at room temperature, before beating, butter should be reduced to softness. And, of course, these components should be as fresh as possible.
- If we talk about the classic recipe for choux pastry, then neither vegetable nor olive oil can be present in it, even margarine is prohibited, as this will spoil the structure of the finished product at the time of baking. Either the proper “air” will not appear, or it will be in abundance and in the form of small bubbles. Take only good butter 82% fat.
- It is noteworthy that some French chefs do not use butter at all, and, surprisingly, baking is no worse than with it. This is a great way to get a relatively dietary dish if such a definition can be applied to sweets.
- The pomp that appears when placing blanks in the oven is laid out even at the kneading stage: it needs to be produced with a mixer that runs at high speed for quite a long time - 5-7 minutes. Manually to achieve the same effect is very difficult, and the whipping time is increased to 12 minutes.
- The consistency of the finished dough is also important; To check if everything is done correctly, lightly press down on it with your finger and look at the reaction - if the dent is gradually straightened, but not completely, you can form eclairs. If the dent is very deep and keeps its shape, the dough does not have enough liquid; quickly disappeared, on the contrary, speaks of a flour shortage.
- To achieve that unsurpassed fluffiness and zero gravity of the cake, you need to place a container with water (approximately 150-200 ml) in the oven on the bottom shelf: this is the way to activate the process of inflating baking from the inside, the appearance of "chambers" without baking powder and yeast.
- If it so happens that you need to make several batches on the same baking sheet, before you lay out new blanks, pour cold water into it and leave for 3-5 minutes. As soon as he cools, you can continue to work with him.
You should talk about the rest of the nuances directly when studying the step-by-step combination of ingredients and their transformation into billet blanks. As for the filling and the glaze, the latter should not be very liquid, otherwise the cake will be wet after a while. Inside it is desirable to introduce an oil cream that is prepared on the basis of milk, yolks, butter, sugar and flour.
The classic choux pastry for eclairs: a step-by-step recipe
In the traditional technology, the main liquid is milk, but you can use regular water if you need to reduce the caloric content of the dish or remove excess protein and lactose. Sugar is put only in dough for sweet pastries - if you want to cook profiteroles, use the same recipe, but without sugar and on water. Eggs can be of the highest category, but their total weight for the specified volume of ingredients should not exceed 280 g, otherwise the dough will be liquid and will not rise.
- Milk - 185 ml
- Wheat flour - 200 g
- Butter - 100 g
- Eggs 2 categories - 6 pcs.
- Granulated sugar - 40 g
- Warm the milk with sugar in a water bath, bringing the liquid to a boil, and the granules - to dissolve. Gently enter the soft butter here and, while stirring, achieve a uniform consistency. Do not let it boil: the power of the burner should be average. If the oil is not salty, add 1/2 tsp. salt in the dough.
- Sift the flour into a separate bowl, start to pick 1-2 tablespoons from there. spoon and sift again, but this time in a bowl with the milk-milk mixture. While pouring flour, mix the dough right away so that no lumps form - it will be very difficult to cope with them afterwards, even with a mixer, and the baking will be ruined. When the flour will be introduced all within 2 minutes. Stir vigorously while keeping it in the water bath.
- Now remove the main bowl from the heat and transfer it to a large bowl with cold water, thereby cooling the dough. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, gently, with a teaspoon, transfer to the dough as soon as it cools. Otherwise, there is a high probability that the eggs will roll when in contact with a hot surface. Mixed recommended mixer at high speed for 4-5 minutes.
- Proper choux dough will stretch, but when you try to pick it up on a spoon, and then knock it over, it will fall back into the bowl. If it happens that you need to add some more flour or milk, you will need to heat the dough again in a water bath.
- The next step is the creation of blanks on a baking sheet, which is pre-covered with parchment. For this purpose, it is recommended to use a special pastry syringe or cut off a corner from a regular package. An ordinary spoon, you can not give baking the desired shape, and instead of a cake you get a thick bun.
- Try to make the products have the same size - for eclairs it is no more than 14 cm in length, and, due to heat, they increase in volume, therefore the initial length is only 7-9 cm. It is recommended to cut the dough from the syringe with your finger, which is wetted in a cold water. The preparations themselves should also be smoothed with palms pre-moistened with water. However, if you used a shaped nozzle for a syringe and want to get relief on the surface of the cake, you can skip this step. Keep in mind that there should be a distance of 4-5 cm between the cakes, otherwise they will not have enough air.
Bake eclairs recommended at a temperature of 200 degrees, if convection is enabled, or 210 degrees - in its absence. The baking tray should be located at an average level, during the whole time of cooking the oven door cannot be opened. The timer is recommended to set for 12 minutes, then another 12-15 minutes. oven at a temperature of 160 degrees. Then through the glass you need to check the color of the cake: if it is pale golden, you can remove it. Here it is very important not to overdo the baking, otherwise it will not only darken much, but also acquire a bitter taste.
How to cook choux pastry for eclairs in vegetable oil?
Of course, according to leading French chefs, vegetable oil cannot be present in such a dish, but if you are not a strict gourmet who adheres only to traditional recipes, you should also try to implement such an idea. Ready-made pastries turn out to be as tender as on butter, but they have a rather bland taste, so the recipe is focused either on snack profiteroles, or on very sweet fillings.
- Water - 200 ml
- Vegetable oil - 70 ml
- Eggs category 2 - 5 pcs.
- Flour - 180 g
- Salt - Pinch
- Mix water, oil and salt in a bowl, heat in a water bath, enter the entire volume of the sifted flour and beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes. When the dough begins to lag behind the walls, remove the bowl from the stove and leave it for a while to allow the dough to cool to room temperature.
- Eggs alternately enter into the chilled dough, at the same time turning on the oven to warm up to 200 degrees. After each egg, mix the dough well, keeping an eye on its consistency: depending on the properties of the flour, more or less of them may be required. For this reason, professionals do not advise laying the entire volume of eggs at once.
- If the dough is plastic and holds the form, you can begin to create blanks. Parchment on a baking sheet, sprinkle with water, put balls or cylinders on it, formed by teaspoons or a pastry syringe, then put in an oven for 15 minutes.
- After the specified time, reduce the temperature to 170 degrees and bake eclairs for another 15 minutes. If their readiness raises questions, gently and quickly remove 1 cake from the pan, let it cool on a wire rack. In case of readiness, it will not decrease in size, i.e. not "blown away". After that, turn off the oven and leave the baking for another 5-7 minutes. to reach.
Finished eclairs are removed on the grille and immediately pierced from the side, releasing hot air. Before cooling, they are wrapped in towels to prevent them from drying out, and then immediately stuffed. If you plan to introduce the cream later, put the cooled eclairs in the bag, tie it up and put it on the bottom shelf of the fridge - so you will save both the pomp and softness of the cake.