With Summer just around the corner, what better way to enjoy the sunshine than with a batch of Raspberry & Vanilla Choux Cream Puffs with a bottle of Laborie Wines CC Nectar Rosé?
This recipe is incredibly long and quite technical, but so worth it! Set aside a few hours on a Saturday or a Sunday morning to make these and then sit back to enjoy the fruits of your labour along with a few glasses of Laborie CC Nectar Rosé!
Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 6 tablespoon white sugar, divided
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cake flour
- 2 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 115g butter, at room temp
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1-2 drops of gel food colouring (Dusty Rose)
Pâte à Choux (Choux Pastry)
- 115g butter diced
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup cake flour
- 4 to 5 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream chilled
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- raspberry jam
- icing sugar
Begin the recipe by making the Crème Pâtissière, allowing it to cool to room temperature and then refrigerating it for at least an hour to chill and firm up before using it to fill your choux buns.
Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)
- In a small bowl, mix the cake flour and cornflour together.
- In a saucepan, heat the 1 ½ cups of milk over medium heat. Heat it until it’s hot but not boiling. You should see small bubbles forming around the edges of the saucepan. Remove it from heat as soon as it’s hot.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the 3 egg yolks and 6 tablespoons of white sugar until the mixture becomes pale and slightly thick.
- Gradually add the flour mixture (cake flour and cornflour) into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Whisk well to combine until you have a smooth paste.
- To prevent the eggs from curdling, you need to temper them. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you do so. This step gradually raises the temperature of the egg mixture without cooking the eggs too quickly.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Continuously whisk the mixture over medium-low heat until it thickens. This should take about 3-5 minutes. It’s important to keep stirring to prevent lumps from forming.
- Once the mixture has thickened to the desired consistency (it should coat the back of a spoon), remove it from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste. Mix well.
- Transfer the Crème Pâtissière to a clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, ensuring that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the custard (to prevent skin from forming on the surface).
You’ll then need to make the Craquelin and also allow this to firm up in the fridge or freezer. I found the freezer to be far more effective, especially if you’re making these on a hot day.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and white sugar. Cream them together using a hand mixer or a stand mixer until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.
- Gradually add 1 cup of cake flour to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix on low speed or gently stir with a spatula until a soft dough forms. Be careful not to overmix; just combine until the dough comes together.
- Add 1-2 drops of gel food colouring. Mix it into the dough until the colour is evenly distributed. You can adjust the amount of food colouring to achieve your desired shade.
- Lay a sheet of baking paper on your work surface. Place the dough on the parchment paper and cover it with another sheet of baking paper. This will make it easier to roll out without sticking to the rolling pin.
- Roll out the dough between the two parchment paper sheets to a thickness of about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3-6 mm). Try to maintain an even thickness.
- Transfer the rolled-out dough, still between the parchment paper, onto a baking sheet or tray. Place it in the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 30 minutes. This will firm up the dough.
While the Craquelin dough is firming up in the freezer, it’s time to make the Pâte à Choux.
Pâte à Choux
- Preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F). Make sure the oven is hot and ready before you start making the dough.
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, milk, water, white sugar, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir the mixture constantly and bring it to a boil. The butter should melt completely during this process.
- Once the mixture is boiling, quickly add 1 cup of cake flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Continue to cook and stir for another minute or two to cook off some moisture.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the dough cool for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. You want it to cool slightly but still be warm to the touch.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough will initially appear lumpy and separated but will gradually come together into a smooth, glossy, and slightly sticky dough. You may not need all of the eggs, so stop adding them when the dough reaches the right consistency. It should be thick enough to hold its shape but still be pipeable.
- Transfer the pâte à choux dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip or use two spoons to drop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 5cm (2 inches) apart. Use a clean finger dipped in water to gently press down any peaks of dough.
Baking The Choux Buns
- Remove the Craquelin from the fridge or freezer. Use a round cookie cutter to cut rounds of the dough that are slightly larger than the piped Pâte à Choux. Top each puff with a Craquelin hat. Leftover Craquelin can be stored in the freezer to be used again for another batch at a later stage.
- Bake the choux buns for 15 minutes at 220°C (425°F). Turn the oven down, and continue to bake at 190°C (375°F) until puffed golden (about 20-25 additional minutes). The puffs are done when the insides are dry and sound hollow when tapped from the bottom.
- Immediately use a wooden skewer or toothpick to poke the puffs and allow any trapped steam to escape and leave to cool before filling.
Assembling the Cream Puffs
- Make the Chantilly Cream by whipping the cream by hand or with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and whip until it forms soft peaks. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until it forms medium-firm peaks. Be careful not to overmix. Pop in the fridge while you continue with the next steps.
- Using a serrated knife, carefully trim the top 1/2 off the cooled choux buns. Set the tops aside.
- Whisk the chilled pastry cream to loosen it, then fill a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip. Fill the bottom portion of each choux bun with the pastry cream, then top with a teaspoon of raspberry jam.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the Chantilly Cream, then pipe to cover the tops of the choux buns.
- Top each of the choux buns with their corresponding tops and dust with icing sugar.
- Eat as soon as possible!
Fact Sheet: Laborie La Grand Vie CC Nectar Rosé
Wine of Origin: Cape Town
Vintage Conditions: Ahead of this challenging vintage, winter brought enough cold to break dormancy although drought conditions persisted. It was the third year in a row without groundwater recharge. The cool weather continued into spring and delayed bud break, which occurred without incident. Cooler nights and days with higher than long-term rainfall kept vine development on track. October and November saw higher rainfall, but not enough to make up the deficit while Southeaster winds during flowering had a variety of impacts. December and January were significantly warmer than 2017. Harvest also began five days later and was defined by small berries, low yields and big concentrations. Despite the rollercoaster ride, the harvest’s near-perfect timing produced great, elegant wines with full ripeness.
Varieties: 60.7% Pinot noir, 34.1% Chardonnay, 5.2% Pinotage
Maturation: This Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) was matured on lees, in the bottle, for 18 months.
Winemaking: The grapes were hand-harvested into bins in the cool of the morning. They were then whole-bunch pressed and only free-run juice was used for the final blend. A selected yeast strain was used for primary fermentation. A 10% portion of the Chardonnay was allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine was blended and bottled and underwent a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This was followed by bottle maturation of approximately 18 months. Only then was it disgorged, corked and labelled.
Wine Description: This vibrant salmon pink bubbly is laced with prominent aromas of fresh red berries and velvety cherry notes. The palate is seductively fresh with lingering tastes of creamy nougat and strawberries all perfectly balanced with hints of citrus. The mousse is elegant and fine. Bubbles of pure enjoyment.
Serving Suggestion: Enjoy this bubbly chilled, on its own or with delicate seafood dishes, entrées and desserts like these Raspberry & Vanilla Choux Cream Puffs.
Alcohol: 11.85 % v/v
Total acidity: 6.8 g/l
Residual sugar: 40.0 g/l