It’s been a busy old time but no matter how hectic things get, there always seems to be time for cake in my house. On the last May bank holiday, for no apparent reason, we decided to host a ridiculous and over-indulgent afternoon tea. When I say host I mean make an absurd amount of food and consume it all between the five of us. This quite obviously happened ages ago and I apologise for my complete tardiness in blogging something about it, but I’ve been a bit caught up doing silly things as usual. Like going to Japan. Everyone should do that by the way, if you can. It’s an exceptional place and if someone asked me to go live in Tokyo tomorrow I would go, no question.
Now my role in this afternoon tea faff was to make some kind of petit fours. I fancied making some choux pastry so this is what I came up with. I made half of them mini éclairs and the other half profiteroles because…I don’t know really, I just wanted to. These are delicious if I do say so myself but incredibly sweet so I recommend eating them with something savoury to try to offset diabetes.
100g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
75g unsalted butter
3 eggs, at room temp, beaten
Pink food colouring
Whipping or double cream
Heat the oven to 200⁰C and prepare two baking trays with parchment.
Sift the flour onto a piece of greaseproof paper that you’ve folded in half to create a crease.
Put the salt, butter and 175ml of water into a pan and heat gently until the butter has completely melted.
Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon. Expect the mixture to look like a vile lumpy mess to begin with, but eventually it should turn into a smooth dough.
When it looks smooth put the pan back onto the beat and beat for a further 2 minutes until it looks like a glossy ball.
Tip the dough into a mixing bowl and leave to cool (otherwise it will cook the eggs when you add them).
Use an electric mixer to gradually beat the eggs into the dough. It should make a shiny paste-like dough that falls away from the spoon when lightly shaken.
Snip the end off of the piping bag and pipe whatever shapes you want onto your prepared baking trays, remembering that different sized shapes will take different lengths of time to cook. I did about half as mini éclairs and half as profiteroles, mainly just to see which would come out better.
Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 180⁰C. Quickly open and close the oven to let out steam and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until crisp and golden.
Remove the trays from the oven and then using a small toothpick, make a small hole in each one to let out steam. Then return to the oven for a final 3-4 minutes or until firm. Cool on a wire rack.
While they are cooling whip up the cream with a spoonful or two of icing sugar- remembering that the topping will be very sweet. The cream should be whipped until it holds its shape.
Make the topping by combining icing sugar with a few drops of rose water and some pink food colouring. The brightness/flavour intensity is up to you, but I usually think f**k it and go neon.
Then put on a tiered stand with a bunch of other ludicrously over-the-top home baked goods and you have yourself an afternoon tea party.
Well we’ve certainly never been accused of not knowing how to have a good time…