I’ve made strawberry choux pastries before on the blog and strangely enough I made them on 13th February last year. So there must be something about my mood in February that screams strawberries and choux!
The thing I like about this recipe and the other choux pastries is that two recipes with a very similar name couldn’t be more different. Strawberries aren’t currently in season in February, so the addition of freeze-dried strawberry powder gives these a really intense strawberry flavour when there isn’t any good fresh fruit around.
Instead of using cream in this recipe, I’ve made a chocolate ganache with the freeze-dried strawberry powder and some delicious 66% Valrhona chocolate. I know that this chocolate is expensive, but I really think that you should buy the best quality chocolate you can afford. Brands like Valrhona, Amedei and Callebaut do cost a lot, but they are great chocolates to work with.
What do I mean by that? Well they are very stable if you want to temper the chocolate to enrobe truffles or make chocolate decorations. The white chocolate is much easier to melt without burning it, and the taste is amazing. If you have the chance, try to get hold of some and bake with it. At first I was really anxious, I’ve just spent £7.00 on a 250g bar of chocolate, what if the recipe doesn’t work? What if I temper it wrongly?
Well things do go wrong in the kitchen and I’ve felt like crying when something doesn’t work out and I dwell on how much money I’ve just put in the food waste bin. However when it works and you bite into something like one of these strawberry choux pastries, you know spending that bit extra, really was worth it.
These choux puffs are so customisable thanks to the vast range of freeze-dried fruit powders available. A passion fruit version would have been perfect for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t bother with that flavour for two reasons, I think Valentine’s Day is a bit rubbish and I didn’t have any passion fruit puree!
All of the different freeze-dried fruit powders can be bought from Sous Chef, which is a site I’m always going on about. I can assure you, I genuinely use their online shop and I don’t get any discounts for doing so.
The fruit puree in these choux puffs can be made in a number of ways, I like to buy the fruit purees by a brand called Funkin’. You can buy 1kg packs of their puree for really reasonable prices, either direct from them, or from Sous Chef or Ocado. I normally freeze the puree in 100g portions and then defrost them as and when.
Or you could make fresh fruit puree if it’s in season – I stress in season because not only will it be cheaper, it will be juicier and sweeter. The other option is to buy frozen fruit and then puree it down yourself and strain it. So I’m sure you can see why I buy ready-made puree, it’s easier and pretty affordable.
The Funkin’ purees do have some sugar added, so do keep this in mind when experimenting with them as you might want to remove some of the sugar in your recipe, so that it’s not over sweet.
- ***Strawberry Cracquelin***
- 10g Freeze-dried Strawberry Powder
- 90g Plain Flour
- 75g Unsalted Butter
- 90g Caster Sugar
- 1 x Quantity of Choux Pastry
- ***Strawberry Ganache***
- 250g Strawberry Puree
- 250g 65% Dark Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 60g Unsalted Butter, diced and at room temperature
- ***Strawberry Icing***
- 100g Icing Sugar, sifted
- 10g Freeze-dried Strawberry Powder, sifted
- 30ml Milk
- First make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and then heat the strawberry puree until it comes to a boil. Don't let the puree boil for too long as you don't want to reduce the volume at all.
- Take the strawberry puree and pour it on the chocolate and stir it to melt all of the chocolate, slowly add the butter and stir it until it is all melted and combined.
- Cover with clingfilm, making sure the cling film touches the top of the ganache so that you don't get any condensation and put to one side to cool.
- To make the craquelin, mix the flour, sugar, freeze-dried strawberry powder and butter together in a bowl, using your fingertips rub the ingredients together until they resemble breadcrumbs.
- Then press the breadcrumbs together until they form a dough. Place the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper and roll out the dough until it's 2mm thick. Place the dough on a baking tray, still covered in the greaseproof paper and put it in the freezer.
- reheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan) Gas 4, line two baking trays with grease proof paper or silicone baking sheets.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm straight nozzle and pipe out 3cm sized blobs of choux pastry that are spaced well apart. You should have around 18-20 choux puffs.
- When you have piped the choux, take the craquelin and cut out enough 3cm circles to cover the top of your choux pastry and place one of top of each blob.
- Bake the choux puffs for 35 mins, you may need to rotate the baking tray half-way through cooking. Leave the choux puffs in the oven for a further 30 mins to dry out.
- Take the choux puffs from the oven and place them on a rack to cool, using a sharp knife pierce a hole in the bottom of each choux puff.
- Make the icing, by mixing the strawberry powder, icing sugar and milk together until they form a thick icing. Leave the icing to thicken, whilst you fill the choux puffs with the ganache.
- Place the cooled ganache in a piping bag and snip off the end with a pair of scissors so there is an opening small enough to fit inside the hole in the bottom of the choux bun. Fill each choux puff with ganache, just until it puffs up a little and before ganache oozes back out.
- Stir the icing to make sure it hasn't crystallised and dip the tops of the choux puffs in the icing and let the excess fall off. Dip all of the choux puffs in the icing, towards the end you may not have enough icing to dip it, so you'll need to use a spoon to spread it on top.
I hope all of that information about how I work and source my ingredients has been helpful and I hope I didn’t go on too much about using the best chocolate possible. If you ever have any questions, I’ll try to help where possible.
Thanks for reading.