I love making these for special tea parties and christenings. They are also great as a sophisticated and thoroughly indulgent pudding to serve at a dinner party!
100g unsalted butter (diced)
120g strong plain flour
4 large free range eggs (beaten)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
Preheat oven to 200C
Put the butter and water in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted.
Sift the flour onto a piece of folded greaseproof paper.
When the butter has melted, turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil.
Remove from the heat and VERY quickly shoot the flour into the saucepan.
Beat the flour into the liquid with the wooden spoon or hand-mixer to mix all the ingredients together.
Stop beating when you have a smooth dough that comes away from the sides of the saucepan. This should take only a few seconds.
Pour in a little of the beaten egg into the flour mixture and beat it in well. Keep adding and beating in the egg, a little at a time, until the dough looks thick, smooth and shiny and still holds its shape well. You may not need the last two or three tablespoonfuls of egg.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag; cut off the end to leave a hole of about one centimetre in diameter.
Prepare baking trays with parchment – sprinkle with water and bang off any excess
Pipe the mixture in small and well spaced quantities as the buns double in size when cooked!
Bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes
Then increase the heat to 220 degrees and bake for a further 15-20 mins
As soon as you remove the choux buns from the oven, have a sharp knife ready, and carefully make a neat slit in each choux bun with the knife to let out the steam. Then place on a wire rack to cool.
If you are pushed for time, you can make the choux buns a few days before you need them, but make sure that you keep them in an airtight container. Do not put them in the fridge!
Pistachio Creme Patisserie
275 ml milk
1 vanilla pod
50g caster sugar
25g plain flour
225g chopped pistachio nuts – 125g ground and 100g finely chopped
110g melted white chocolate
110ml double cream (whipped)
Put milk into a pan with split vanilla pod.
Bring to just below boiling point, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and flour with a little milk.
Remove the vanilla pod and put to one side to dry (the pod can be used to make delicious vanilla sugar).
Pour the remaining milk onto the egg mixture.
Stir the mixture, then pour back into pan (if your pan looks very sticky then it is a good idea to use a clean pan instead).
Cook over a gentle heat, stirring all the time.
When the mixture has thickened, fold in the ground pistachio nuts.
Pour into a bowl and cover tightly with cling film (press the clingfilm onto the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin forming).
Allow to cool.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (or carefully in the microwave). Set aside to cool.
Whip the cream until it makes soft peaks.
Once the custard mixture is completely cool, whisk until smooth, then fold in the cream, the melted white chocolate and the chopped pistachio nuts.
Cut the choux buns in half and fill with the pistachio creme patisserie. (you can pipe in the filling if you prefer a neater finish).
White chocolate topping:
110g white chocolate
2 tablespoons of water
Melt the white chocolate, with a few 2 tablespoons of water, in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (or carefully in the microwave).
If you are making the choux buns for a dinner party, these are equally scrumptious and wonderfully elegant when topped with a dark chocolate topping instead.
Dip each filled choux bun into the chocolate or using a spoon smooth the chocolate over the top of each bun.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.
If you are making these for a special occasion, they look beautiful laid on some delicate pale pink rose petals.