Confessions: I don`t speak French. And I` ve never been to French restaurants. And it`s one of my biggest dreams to visit France someday!
Clearly, this is the fanciest name ever I used in this blog, thanks to Julia Child`s cookbook. And since I don`t know how to pronounce those words, let me just refer this appetizer as Cheese puffs as how she translated it.
If you are a fan of cream puffs, eclairs, and even gnocchi, then you need to know how easy it is to make the choux or puff shells. I used Julia`s recipe and I think it`s quite a foolproof one since the result is pretty satisfying despite my first time making it.
So let`s start with the choux paste.
Place butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in water and slowly bring to boil on low heat.This paste will be used for making cheese puffs, so the paste needs to taste a bit salty.
Note: If you`re making dessert puffs, reduce the salt to a pinch and add a tsp of sugar.
When butter has melted and boiled, remove from heat, immediately pour in flour all at once, and quickly stir.
Then, put back the pan over medium-high heat to evaporate the remaining water content. Keep stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and the spoon.
Remove from heat again and beat in an egg.
Beat it until smooth and repeat the process with the rest of the eggs, one egg at a time.
The more egg you added, the longer time it takes to be smooth.
This is how it looks after the last egg was beat in and this means, your choux paste is done! If you`re making the puff shells for dessert, you can continue with piping and baking.
However, as the name says Cheese puffs, we need to fold in grated cheese to the paste. I used camembert and parmesan (cheap ones, probably not real, lol).
Now, line a baking tin with parchment paper and place some paste in a pastry bag. I`m a messy person (and everyone knows that), so whenever I have to use a pastry bag, I always clip it with this potato-chip-bag-clipper to avoid dough/batter oozing out during the piping. If the batter easily flows out from the opening (like whipped cream or macaron), you can add another clip right on the upper side of the fitted nozzle when you fill in the bag with the batter.
Pipe out the paste onto the paper making small mounds (mine was about 3-cm in diameter) and space them about 2-cm apart. And by the way, I shouldn`t have bothered to choose the nozzle shape.
The next steps are optional. Lightly brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake in 210 C for 20 mins. You`ll see how they fantastically swell up turning into fat round balls.Cute!
Cheese puffs!! Cheese puffs!!
The puffs have firm and crusty exterior with soft layer underneath. Calling them as cheese shells sounds more proper, though.
Oh shoot, I should save some for him.
Eclair is what`s on my mind right now. Maybe next time. Tomorrow? Nah, let`s get real.
Choux paste (about 2 cups)
1 cup water
85 g butter
150 g flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups choux pastry
80 g grated/powdered cheese
210 C for 20 mins
*Recipe from Julia Child`s Mastering the Art of French Cooking