Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Almost Perfect Savoury Cream Puffs

About ten years ago I attempted to serve Terribly Impressive Chorizo Puffs* to friends who had come to dinner. This was not long after I'd moved to hot, humid Darwin. I'd made them successfully several times previously (in another more temperate climate) so I wasn't worried. But they flopped terribly (and not so impressively). It was mortifying (picture little soggy blobs). After some research I concluded that humidity was the enemy of choux pastry and wiped it off my baking list. However ten years on and I'm induced to try choux pastry again through the Alpha Bakers. And, lo and behold, it seems that the problem was mine rather than the climate. A fact slightly mortifying in itself... 

So there are plenty of reasons for me to view this recipe with disdain but, because my puffs actually worked, I have only warm feelings towards the choux and all of its relatives. I haven't filled my puffs yet but I'm planning to dip the tops in chocolate ganache and fill them with sweetened cream. I've had a lovely and highly competent university student working with me for the last two weeks and I think he deserves a cream puff-thank you morning tea this Friday. 

I have some of the choux mixture left in the fridge and today I'm off to buy some chorizo sausage. Those little chorizo puffs really are very delicious and ten years is a long time to wait. 

*From Jill Duplex's book New Food which was central to entertaining in my student days. Jill is a master in inspiring cooks to expand their repertoires. The first book of hers I bought was called I Hate to Cook which was aimed at tricking nervous cooks into making more sophisticated food. Similar to Rose in that one minute you're thinking 'I'll never be able to make, for example, Kouign Amann', and next minute you're whipping them up at the drop of a hat. Okay it would have to be a very long probably multi-day drop, but you get the idea.

I think previously I've made the choux paste completely by hand. I just remember mixing furiously when adding the flour, then the egg to the liquid. This time I used the food processor to mix in the egg, In my current state of choux smugness, it all seems very easy. 

This dough was very sticky and a little bit stuck on your finger can go a long way as I discovered...on the laptop, the bench, the tap, the oven, the laptop again... I'm fairly sure the insides of my laptop are filled with flour already so I don't want to add anything else. One of the perils of using an eBook.

Of course, my puffs would never win a beauty pageant. My aversion to piping anything unless I really have to, remains strong. I dibbed these out using two teaspoons and then smoothed them over with a finger dipped in water. The raw blobs are pretty uninspiring but it's surprising how they puff up and start to look almost perfect (in their mother's eyes).

I was very careful to cook the puffs long enough to really dry them out. After the initial baking period I poked a little steam hole in the side of each one before I put them back in the oven to dry. No soggy blobs for me.

Next week we're making Cream Cheese Butter cake. This has to be good.


  1. The golden puffs win beauty pageant in every way. Don't forget to share with us the pic of your chorizo puffs.

  2. Your puffs are perfect!! Woolies have cheese and chorizo puffs on their website at moment. Yes, post a pic when you make them.

  3. i'm so happy you conquered fear of choux puffs! and that the chorizo worked so well. not sure if i told the story in any of my books about how when Carl Sondheimer, father of the food processor, first launched the processor he called food writers regularly to make sure they were overcoming their fear of it and when he called me one day i was in the midst of making choux by hand. he admonished me soundly saying what an easier better job the processor does so i tried it and was won over. it took him years to get ppl to embrace the food processor. when i wrote for magazines at the time we had to say food processor or blender. of course they are not interchangeable but everyone had a blender and much fewer a processor. now it is the reverse!

  4. What a fun post! So glad your puffs puffed perfectly!

  5. So glad you posted a picture of the chorizo puffs on FB--both kinds look splendid!

  6. I saw the photo of your chorizo puffs! Look amazing! I want to try some too! Maybe I try with bacon? hee hee..

  7. Chorizo puffs sound yummy!