Hello, hello, hello! I am taking a break from savouries this week as I am deciding which of the various delicious ones I have found should be the next I cook! I’m thinking some sort of savoury slice, but time will tell! However, I do also have some good news on the fitness front! I have noticed that I have had an increase in stamina! When I first started I was at a very low level, and technically still am. My condition makes me easily fatigued and prone to injuries, and unfortunately I had received a lot of bad advice from doctors in the past which exacerbated this. But since I started doing walking at the gym each morning, I have noticed a definite increase in stamina and a reduction in my knee pains! I have also been loving learning ballroom dancing, and am even having another class tonight! But even I know the benefits of allowing yourself a treat every now and again, and as our freezer is full and I can’t make my favourite dairy free chocolate ice-creams, I will have to settle for these beauties.
This post falls into the Experiments category because they were very much a labour of love. As many of my followers might not know, I am a fan of tabletop roleplay. I love exploring each new story with friends, developing characters and their motivations, and just generally being surprised and delighted with each plot twist we encounter together. In fact it was due to a particular tabletop roleplay game that I decided to do something I have previously avoided doing before, gluten-free pastries. And as it seems like almost every country around the world has their own version of this delicious treat, I couldn’t resist giving it a go!
Previously I had felt like I wanted to improve my know-how and instincts when it came to gluten-free cooking and baking, so I would then have the knowledge under my belt to do troubleshooting when it came to pastries. I think that was definitely the right decision. The first few times I made these, I could identify areas I thought that needed improving, and a little at a time this semi-final version came together. Now, I say semi final, as I will probably continue to tinker and tamper with this recipe in the future. But for now, I am very satisfied with how it turned out. It was a real amalgamation of several recipes, and they all came together perfectly.
Adapted from Four Spoons’
Makes: 15-18 Puffs, Prep + Cook + Chill: Allow a large portion of the day
Choux Pastry Ingredients
- ¾ cup fine brown rice flour
- ½ cup tapioca starch
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 pinch of salt
- ½ cup almond milk/regular milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 very large eggs (I used a mixture 700g and 800g eggs)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, heavy cream, or a mix
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup gluten free plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 tesp vanilla extract
NOTE: You could also replace the pastry cream with ice-cream.
- 1 egg
- 1-3 tbsp milk, or water
- 250g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup thickened cream
Cream Puff Method
- Note! If you are using pastry cream, and not ice-cream, and want to be able to eat the cream puffs shortly after baking, you will need to make the pastry cream ahead of time. However, I will add their method after that of making the cream puffs, along with the ganache for convenience. If you are using ice cream or something like that, you don’t have to worry about order.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200C (non fan-forced), and line two trays with baking paper.
- Combine the flours, xantham gum and salt, and set aside.
- In a small to medium sized saucepan, combine the butter, the milk, almond or otherwise, and the caster sugar, Bring this mixture to the boil, stirring to make sure the sugar dissolves and the butter is fully melted.
- Remove from the heat and tip in the flour mix, stir thoroughly until the dough comes together in a soft sort of ball.
- Pop this ball of dough into a mixing bowl, and set aside to cool slightly.
- In another dish whisk together the 4 eggs until thoroughly combined.
- Prepare your egg wash. Whisk the single egg until it’s nicely whisked, then beat in one tablespoon of milk or water just to loosen it. Add a further 1-2 tablespoons of the liquid and whisk.
- Prepare a piping bag with a large, open tip. Or get a plastic ziplock bag and snip the corner to form a hole.
- Get out an electric mixer, or if you don’t have a mixture get out a wooden spoon. Mix the 4 beaten eggs into the dough, a quarter at a time. Beat very thoroughly between each addition.
- When all the eggs have been added and the dough is nice and smooth, spoon it into your piping bag. If you find your mix is too dry, add another large beaten egg.
- Pipe about 15-18 puffs onto the trays, about an inch apart. You want them to be tall, not wide, as this will give you the best shape at the end.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until puffed and brown. Remove, cut a slit in the top of each to allow steam to escape, and pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes more to crisp up inside.
- Pop onto a wire rack to cool.
Pastry Cream Method
- Prepare the egg-sugar base by whisking together the sugar, gluten-free plain flour and salt. Then beat in the egg yolks. It’s okay if the paste is either crumbly, or smooth, just make sure it’s well combined.
- Warm the milk until you start seeing wisps of steam, it should be scalding, but not boiling.
- Add a little of the hot milk to the eggs, whisking furiously as you do. Continue to pour the milk very slowly into the eggs. This is easier done with someone else doing the pouring, as you need to whisk continuously to make sure the hot milk doesn’t cook the eggs. Otherwise alternate between pouring and mad whisking.
- Once the milk and eggs are fully combined, pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
- Place a strainer over a bowl nearby.
- Heat the pastry cream, whisking constantly. At first it’ll be very thin and frothy, but don’t worry. Keep whisking, and keep heating, and you’ll notice it starting to thicken after a couple of minutes. Once it’s very thick, and has a custard-y, pudding like texture, remove it from the heat and pour it through the strainer. This will ensure there’s no bits of cooked egg in your final product.
- Once strained, mix through the vanilla.
- Cover the pastry cream with a piece of glad wrap, or cling wrap, pressed right against the surface of the cream, and chill completely.
Chocolate Ganache Method
- Either in the microwave, or in a saucepan, melt the cream and chocolate together. Stirring until they are smooth and combined. Let cool until the ganache is more at room temperature, and is thick and spreadable.
- Cover the tops of each cream puff in the rich, chocolate ganache.
- Either fill a piping bag with the pastry cream, and poke a little hole in the side of the cream puff through which you can pipe the cream. Or gently cut the tops off the puffs, and spoon the cream in. If you are using ice cream you will also need to cut their tops off.
- Once filled, served immediately.
- NOTE: If you aren’t going to eat the cream puffs on the day of making them, do not fill or cover them with ganache as they will get soft. Take them out on the day of serving and crisp them in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 200C (non fan-forced).