Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Check out my buns

Perhaps it's something to do with the terror of being schooled by nuns from a young age, but I've always been obsessed by those coffee-iced choux buns they sell in French patisseries called Religieuses. So today I decided to make my own choux pastry - for the first time ever. I'd heard it's pretty easy, and yes, I did have misgivings when the pastry turned out to have the consistency of pancake batter, but I had faith in the recipe (and a decade of mumbled childhood prayers and unwilling Sunday mornings in church). You can see the results of my first attempt at the end of this post. Refusing to accept defeat, and spurred on by the scorn of the "it's easy" brigade, I finally got there with the help of a Delia recipe:

A line of choux buns with chocolate and coffee icing (alternating)

Chocolate and coffee choux buns

Delia says this will make 30 buns but I made about 10, being totally ham-fisted. It kind of depends what shape you're making and how big each one is.

60g plain flour (she stipulates 'strong plain flour' but I used the ordinary sort)
a teaspoon of caster sugar
150ml cold water
50g butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, beaten well

Preheat oven to 200/gas 6. Put the water and butter into a pan and heat gently until it reaches boiling point and the butter has melted - then remove from the heat straight away. While that's happening, measure out the flour and sugar and beat the eggs. Locate and plug in an electric hand-held mixer. When the water and butter is ready tip the flour and sugar in quickly while beating vigorously. Keep going for about a minute until you have a smooth ball of paste. Now add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating well all the while. This should result in a smooth, glossy paste. Spoon mounds of it onto a greased baking sheet, leaving at least a couple of centimetres between each one. Bake on a high shelf for 10 minutes, then turn up the heat to 220/gas 7 and bake for another 10-20 minutes until the buns are a light golden brown colour. I would suggest watching them like a hawk at this stage. Once out of the oven, transfer them to a wire rack and pierce the side of each one with a knife to let the steam out.

Fill with whipped whipping/double cream. I topped mine with chocolate sauce (see below) and coffee glacé icing, but you could use melted chocolate, or just icing sugar. You could put jam or lemon curd inside the buns with the cream.

Chocolate sauce: Melt together 50g butter, 2 tablespoons golden syrup, 2 tablespoons drinking chocolate. Remove from the heat about 30 seconds after it starts to boil.

Coffee glacé icing. Melt a teaspoon instant coffee in a little boiling water, then add enough icing sugar to make a thick but spreadable icing.

Failed attempt: choux buns which have not risen and which look like poppadoms
First attempt: Anyone for poppadoms?


  1. Love the way you write these recipes, they make me smile and drool simultaneously.

  2. Thank you - that's made my day. Keep smiling and drooling.