Pastry week is always a good one for a variety of different bakes. Sweet and savoury, hot and cold, puffy and firm, there were pastry bakes by the dozen this week. And while Paul Hollywood delivered a fiendish technical which no-one had ever heard of (Kouign amann) it was Luis’ peanut butter éclairs that stole (or stopped) the show.
Luis’ Peanut butter éclairs
Chocolate choux pastry filled with peanut butter cream and strawberry jam – a Franco-American fusion that’s sure to make an impact.
Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need, four piping bags, 15mm plain and star nozzle, a 5mm round nozzle, a 15mm wide ribbon nozzle and a cook’s thermometer.
For the peanut butter crème pâtissière
1 medium egg, beaten
3 medium egg yolks
45g/1½oz caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
420ml/¾ pint full-fat milk
1 tsp good-quality vanilla paste
100g/3½oz smooth peanut butter
For the chocolate choux pastry
110g/4oz plain flour
40g/1½oz cocoa powder
4 large free-range eggs
50ml/2fl oz full-fat milk
100g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
¼ tsp fine sea salt
For the strawberry jam
150g/5oz strawberries, hulled
1 tbsp lemon juice
150g/5oz jam sugar
knob of unsalted butter
For the salted peanut brittle
75g/2½oz caster sugar
75g/2½oz salted peanuts
For the topping
200g/7oz strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
250g/8oz readymade fondant icing
red food colouring paste
For the crème pâtissière, place the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until pale and smooth. Add the cornflour and whisk until incorporated and smooth.
Place the milk and vanilla paste in a large saucepan and bring just to the boil. Pour over the egg mixture slowly whisking all the time until smooth.
Place all the mixture back in the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for three minutes, whisking all the time. Pour into a large bowl and mix in in the peanut butter until well incorporated.
Cover with cling film touching the mixture to prevent a skin forming. Set aside to cool.
For the chocolate choux pastry, preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
In a bowl, combine the flour and cocoa powder. Place the eggs in another bowl and whisk.
Put 110ml/4fl oz water, the milk, butter and salt in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the flour mixture until well combined.
Place back on a medium heat and cook for two minutes, stirring all the time. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs a little at a time until the mixture reaches a thick dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture in a large piping fitted with a 15mm nozzle and set aside to cool slightly.
Cut two pieces of non-stick baking parchment to line baking trays. Mark each piece of baking parchment with six 15cm/6in long lines, spaced apart to allow for the pastry to expand as it cooks. Turn the paper over so you can see the lines through the parchment.
Dab a small spots of the choux mixture into each corner of the baking trays and stick the baking parchment to it. Pipe 12 éclairs on the lines and spray lightly with sunflower oil. Place in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until well risen, golden-brown and crisp. You may need to swap the trays around to ensure the éclairs cook evenly.
For the strawberry jam, place the strawberries in a small food processor and blend to a purée. Transfer to a large saucepan with the lemon juice and jam sugar. Bring to the boil stirring all the time. Add a knob of butter and boil for four minutes. Pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
For the salted peanut brittle, place the sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat and cook until it forms a caramel. Stir in the salted peanuts and pour out the mixture onto a large piece of non-stick baking parchment and allow to cool and set. (CAUTION: sugar gets very hot. Take care not to burn yourself.)
To assemble, cut the chocolate éclairs neatly in half lengthways. Pour the strawberry jam into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm round nozzle and pipe a line of jam in the base of each éclair.
Spoon the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a 15mm star nozzle and fill each éclair base over the top of the jam.
For the topping, place slices of strawberries in a row on top of the filling and put the tops on the éclairs.
Put the fondant in a large saucepan with four teaspoons of water and enough red food paste colouring to make it a deep red colour (you will only need a tiny amount). Gently heat until it reaches 38C/100F on a cook’s thermometer, stirring all the time.
Place the icing in a large piping bag fitted with a 15mm wide ribbon nozzle and pipe a line of fondant over the top of each éclair. Break the salted peanut brittle into small pieces using a rolling pin and scatter pieces on top of each éclair while the fondant is still wet.
Paul Hollywood’s Kouign amann
We have France to thank for these caramelised buttery, sugary parcels. Perfect with a café au lait.
Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a 12-cup muffin tin and a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook.
300g/10½oz strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
5g fast-action yeast
1 tsp salt
200ml/7fl oz warm water
25g/1oz unsalted butter, melted
250g/9oz cold unsalted butter, in a block
100g/3½oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.
Sandwich the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 18cm/7in square. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20cm/8in square. Place the butter in the centre of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.
Roll the dough into a 45x15cm/18x6in rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 40x30cm/16x12in rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.
Preheat oven to 220C/200C(fan)/425F/Gas 7. Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelised sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin.
Serve warm or cold.
In Short: Week 7 was pastry week and as expected the variety of bakes on offer was excellent, specifically with some America themed peanut butter eclairs