Strawberry and Mint Choux Puffs

Choux pastry dough or pâte à choux is probably one of the most important recipes to learn if you're serious about desserts. Pastry chefs are known for being more methodical in their approach to a different side of the gluttony spectrum. Choux pastry, thankfully, isn't that scientific. It's all a matter of knowing what you're aiming for (much like the method used in solving a riddle) and applying the base recipe correctly. I thought of this recipe reading the Roux brothers' eponymous cookbook from the early 1980's. I hope you enjoy it!

Homemade Jam
500g hulled and crushed (British!) strawberries
200-300g of jam sugar (with pectin)
1 sprig of freshly picked mint

Pâte à Choux
50g butter
125ml water
70g all purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 large eggs

Sieved strawberry jam with a splash of water
icing sugar
Cornish clotted cream (optional)

Prepare two jam jars. Hull and crush the strawberries in a saucepan. Add the sugar. Heat up the mixture on a low heat (making sure the sugar dissolves completely) and bring up to a rolling boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes and no longer. Pour into jam jars and let the jam cool down completely before adding the mint and refrigerating the jam. This should make one and a half jars of jam.

Choux Puffs
Put the water, butter, salt and sugar in a pan on a low heat. Bring the mixture to a boil (making sure the sugar has dissolved and butter has melted (like that wouldn't happen)) and take off the heat. Pour all the flour onto the mixture and work the flour in (it may appear lumpy but don't fret, keep mixing). Put back onto a medium heat and work the paste for a few minutes to dry out some of the moisture. Pour the paste into a bowl and let it cool down for 5-10 minutes. Whisk the two eggs together and pour them slowly into the cooled paste, making sure to work them until fully incorporated (into a thick mayonnaise consistency).

Using a piping bag form twelve equal blobs of choux paste onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush the 'blobs' (haha) with egg wash and put into a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius for 30 minutes (leaving the door ajar for the last 5 minutes and prodding the side of the pastries with a knife to release steam). Make sure the choux puffs are nice and crispy otherwise they'll collapse. Cool down slowly and then slice the bottoms so you can fill them. I filled mine with the cooled jam (but you can also include some clotted cream with the jam as a filling). Stack the puffs on a plate and sprinkle the icing sugar on top. Eat away. Take a nap. Do it all again tomorrow.


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