This month's Random Recipes challenge, hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen, has joined forces with Tea Time Treats via Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked. The idea was to randomly pick a tea time treat to cook and then blog about.
So for me, the book that this challenge fell to was 'The Tea Time Cookbook' by Valerie Ferguson (although Amazon have it under a different title). It's in some ways an odd little book, with a mixture of recipes covering cakes, cookies, pies and tarts, breads, jams and jellies and then a section on decorated party cakes. Recipes are contributed by a number of authors, including Angela Boggiano, Roz Denny and Jeni Wright. Some of the content seems a bit dated - it was first published in 2007 - but I guess, though, that you'd be spoilt for choice when choosing something for tea.
When I opened it, the recipe that the book chose for me was one for Chocolate Profiteroles. I was pretty pleased with this. I have made choux pastry once before, when I did the pastry introduction course at Eckington Manor back in March. I've wanted to try it again but just haven't got around to it. This recipe intrigued me, though, as it uses cocoa powder to flavour the choux buns.
I have to be honest though - this did not turn out to be one of my favourite recipes. Following the instructions in the book (to bake at 200 Fan / 220 Conventional / Gas 7 for 35-40 minutes) led to some severely overbaked choux pellets that could have been used for the shot put in the Olympics. They were inedible. That being the case, I took some poetic license and reverted to the recipe sheet I was given at Eckington Manor. Baking at 175 Fan for 25 minutes gave a much better result. Sadly, by this time, I had only enough choux paste to make 5 profiteroles and one tiny little taster bun. The cream filling is simply double cream whipped to soft peaks with a little icing sugar, and some mashed raspberries mixed through. The chocolate sauce is a simple chocolate and cream ganache.
Chocolate Profiteroles with Raspberry Cream
Ingredients (should make around 24)
For the pastry
150g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 tbspn sugar
115g unsalted butter
5 medium (57 - 63g) eggs
For the filling
150ml double cream
3 tbspns icing sugar
For the chocolate sauce
25g double cream
Preheat the oven - I used 175 Fan. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.
Put the water, butter, sugar and salt into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and add the flour mix all in one go, and stir vigorously until the mixture comes away form the sides of the pan. Place back over the heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, so that the flour has time to cook out. Remove from the heat.
In a jug, lightly beat together the eggs to mix, and then a little at a time, beat them into the flour mixture. You may not need all the eggs (I did) so stop when you get a smooth, glossy mix that has a dropping consistency. Place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe buns 2 inches apart on a lined baking tray. You can use a dampened finger to gently pat the little peaks flat.
So for the batch that actually turned out OK, I then baked them in the oven for 25 minutes at 175 Fan. Took them out and cut them in half, then replaced them in the oven for five further minutes to dry them out. Remove and then put on a wire rack to cool completely.
I then filled them with the raspberry cream - whip the cream until the soft peak stage. Mash the raspberries with the icing sugar and then fold this gently through the cream. place a scoop of the cream on the bottom half of one of the choux buns, and cover with the top.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat gently until it melts, stirring to mix. Leave to cool a bit but then spoon over the choux buns to form the sauce.
As well as Random Recipes does Tea Time Treats, I'm also sending this to Ros at More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline at Caroline Makes, for Alphabakes, as the letter this month is 'P'.
I still love the idea of Chocolate Profiteroles which have a double dose of chocolate via the choux, but think this recipe could usefully be tweaked a bit. The choux was almost too chocolatey, and the first batch made at the higher temperature were decidedly bitter. The raspberry cream was lovely though, and complemented the dark chocolate ganache. It was just like a big 'ol flavour bomb going off in my mouth.
So I may just have to have an experiment!
I'm also entering these into Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes' monthly Classic French Challenge. As Jen notes below, the topic this month is choux. If your a 'choux' addict, or even a 'shoe' addict, then check out the blog at the end of the month for her round up. [Sorry, currently on a sugar high and couldn't resist that ;) ]