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Pastry pick

Choux pastry is the lightest and crispiest pastry, extensively used to make profiteroles, 'clairs or savoury goug'res. What is really good about it is that it doesn’t require any major pastry-making skills!

You can either pipe them on to the baking sheet or spoon them on ' both work well. These forms have long been an integral part of classic confectionery. In fact they belong to the popular ‘petit-fours’ world. These are basically pastries that are cooked in a small oven as opposed to a baker’s large oven. Extremely versatile, they are used in numerous ways, filled with either sweet or savoury creams. Choux pastry is also used for classic preparations like Gateau St. Honor', Croquembouche and chocolate profiteroles.

cheese choux

Ingredients: 60gms grated cheese; 50gms butter; 60gms flour; 2 large eggs well beaten plus extra for glazing; ' tsp mustard powder; a pinch of cayenne pepper; salt and pepper to taste

For the filling: 350gms mushrooms; 150ml sherry; 40gms butter; 175gms onions; 4 cloves chopped garlic; 1 tsp parsley; 75ml cream; salt and pepper

Method: For the filling, melt butter and soften chopped onions and garlic till pale gold. Stir in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add parsley. Pour in the sherry, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and let the mushrooms cook as slowly as possible.

For the choux pastries, put 150 ml cold water in a saucepan with the pieces of butter. Add salt and pepper to the flour. Place saucepan over medium heat, and stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture comes to the boil, turn off the heat and tip in the flour beating vigorously. Beat until you have a smooth ball of paste. Add beaten eggs, a little at a time, mixing, until you have a smooth paste. Add 50gms cheese, mustard, salt and cayenne. Grease a baking sheet and take heaped teaspoonfuls of the choux pastry and stack them closely together to form two circles roughly 14cm in diameter.

Brush each ring with beaten egg, then sprinkle them with the rest of the cheese. Place them on a high shelf of the oven and bake for 10mins. Raise temperature to 220'C, and continue baking for 20mins. When the pastries are cooked, slit them in half horizontally. Stir the cream into the mushroom filling. Divide this between the two choux halves and place the other two halves on top. Add parsley for garnish and serve.

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