Gluten Free Chouquettes

Out of all the cuisines the world has to offer, I have to admit (albeit with some trepidation) that French food is an area that I have left largely unexplored.

Maybe I am unsophisticated, or perhaps I’ve just been misled by the notion that French food is a little tricky – at this point I am thinking about my miserable attempts at Petit Four or Macarons…

After watching Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ (which is currently being re-aired on BBC 2) I’ve been feeling a little more enthusiastic about revisiting French cuisine – thanks to the show I’ve achieved the gooiest of Chocolate Fondants and have fine tuned my gluten free Choux pastry recipe.

Speaking of Choux, I have made it in the past – and quite successfully (see my Profiteroles recipe) – but this time I definitely feel like I have perfected it.

One of the recipes on the show was Chouquettes – a petit viennoiserie, consisting of  Choux pastry which are most often topped with pearl sugar or chocolate chips, although sometimes you might come across Chouquettes which have been dipped in chocolate or filled with mousse.

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I decided to go for the traditional Chouquettes sprinkled with Pearl Sugar (or nib sugar) which I found in my local Waitrose and I also used Rachel Khoo’s recipe from the show, but with some vital tweaks to make the recipe work gluten free.

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Chouquettes are definitely best eaten on the day they are baked, and I will be very surprised if they don’t gobbled up immediately!


Gluten Free Chouquettes

Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen (recipe found on Almost Always Hungry).

Ingredients: 

170ml water

170ml semi skimmed milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

100g butter

170g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

Icing sugar for sprinkling

Pearl sugar to decorate (I found this in my local Waitrose).

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180c fan/gas mark 6 and line two trays with greaseproof paper.

2. In a heavy bottomed pan, stir together the water, milk, salt and sugar. Place the pan over a medium heat, then add the butter and bring the ingredients to the boil. Once the butter has melted bring the pan off the heat.

3. In a separately bowl, stir together the gluten free flour and the baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat vigorously until no flour remains and you are left with a smooth dough.

4. Transfer the dough to a bowl and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Stir the dough to help release the steam – once  the mixture has cooled down add the eggs, one at a time, beating until dough is smooth, glossy and elastic.

5. Place dough into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe bite-sized dollops onto a lined baking tray.

6. Sprinkle each dollop with icing sugar and pearl sugar, then give them another sprinkling of icing sugar.

7. Bake the Chouquettes in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until evenly browned. In the last few minutes, pierce the bottom of the Chouquettes with cocktail stick to help the insides to dry out – this will stop them from going soggy and help them to stay crisp.

8. Transfer the Chouquettes to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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I love seeing your take on my bakes, so remember to share your a picture of your Chouquettes over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

 

Gluten Free Churros (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Over the past week there has been an uproar over the news that the BBC has lost the rights to host ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and that as of the next series it’s new home will be channel 4, after they paid double the amount than the BBC had offered to take the show. Mel and Sue stepped down from hosting the show saying that they are ‘not going with the dough’ and today Mary Berry has also announced that she will be exiting the show, leaving fans worried about the future of their favourite programme  – it’s been more dramatic than series 5, when Ian dumped his Baked Alaska in the bin!

I, for one, am absolutely gutted that this is the end of Bake Off as we know it, but I have a huge amount of respect for Mel, Sue & Mary for not selling out. I don’t know whether I will continue to watch the show over on channel 4, but I am determined to enjoy every second of the current series, while it lasts.

To help cheer everyone up, today I’m going to share my Gluten Free Churros Recipe, inspired by the showstopper challenge from this year’s Batter Week.

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Batter week saw the bakers tackle stuffed Yorkshire puds, delicate lacey Pancakes and a simple Spanish street food called Churros, out of which they were expected to create a spectacular showstopper.

To achieve perfect Churros the bakers were tasked with making a choux pastry like dough that would be soft enough to pipe, but firm enough to keep its distinctive shape during frying. The Churros also had to be crisp on the outside and cooked to perfection on the inside, so it was essential to get the oil at the right temperature otherwise you may end up with uncooked dough inside… oh, and they had to be uniform in size!

Last year I worked a lot on perfecting my gluten free choux pastry, so as I already had a recipe which I thought would work, I decided I would give Churros a try.

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My Churros plan – does anyone else make notes whilst watching bake off?

It took a few attempts to find the perfect balance of ingredients. I made my first batch of dough following my gluten free choux pastry recipe, but the result was a dough that was slightly too soft – perfect for choux buns, but not stiff enough to keep its shape in hot oil.

My second batch was much better as I used less egg which helped to give the dough a much firmer consistency. I also discovered that the pinch of baking powder I’d added to my choux pastry recipe was not required for Churros as it made them puff up and split during frying.

Getting the oil to the right temperature without a deep fat fryer was tricky, although not impossible – it’s a good idea to do a few testers first and adjust the temperature accordingly. I also found I had better success piping the Churros straight into the pan (as opposed to piping them onto parchment paper) which is fine as long as you don’t mind them not being uniform!

I’m pleased to say that once I had ironed out all these issues, the result was Churros which were beautifully crispy and light and fluffy on the inside.

imageI recommend eating them fresh as they don’t keep all that well. I served mine with a rich chocolate dipping sauce and together I think they would make a fantastically unique dessert for a dinner party.

Gluten Free Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce 

Ingredients

For the Churros:

60g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

55g unsalted butter

110ml cold water

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Churro coating:

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp caster sugar

Plus 1-litre sunflower oil for frying the Churros.

For the chocolate dipping sauce:

100g good quality milk or dark chocolate

100ml double cream

1 tbsp golden syrup

Method

1. Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low to medium heat, then add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.

2. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball. It’s important to cook out all the flour, so if you can still see some flour keeping beating.

3. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.

4. In small bowl whisk the egg to break up the yolk.

5. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the vanilla extract and then the egg a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the egg whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!

6. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until it becomes a smooth and stiff dough.

7. Transfer the mixture to piping bag fitted with a star nozzle then  place the dough in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, slowly heat up the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat while you make the chocolate sauce.

9. To make the chocolate dipping sauce, together the chocolate, cream and golden syrup slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Gently stir until all the ingredients together, then set aside the sauce to cool.

10. Once the dough has chilled, you can fry your churros – you’ll know the oil is ready when the surface starts to shimmer.

To double check the temperature of the oil, test a little bit of the mixture and adjust the heat accordingly. If it takes more than a few minutes for the dough to turn golden brown, your oil needs to be slightly hotter, but if the dough turns a deep golden brown after about 30 seconds it’s too hot and the oil needs to cool down slightly. The perfect Churros should be ready within 4 to 5 minutes and should be crispy.

Whatever you do, don’t leave leave the hot oil unattended at any point.

11. Pipe 3 to 4 Churros directly into the hot oil and use scissors to snip off each one. Don’t cook too many at once as this can reduce the temperature of the oil and your Churros will take longer to cook – the longer they take to cook means they are exposed to the oil for longer, this can make them soggy!

Fry each Churro for 4 to 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally with kitchen tongs to make sure they are cooked on all sides. Transfer them to kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Keep going until all the dough is used up.

12. Mix together your caster sugar and cinnamon, then roll each Churro in the mixture until they are coated.

13. Serve immediately accompanied with the chocolate dipping sauce.

 

Gluten Free Profiteroles (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

There’s only one week to go until the final of GBBO 2015 and we find out who the winner is. A few weeks ago I predicted that Ian, Tamal and Nadiya would be the remaining three bakers in the final, but it’s really hard to predict a winner because we all know that in the tent anything could happen! Tamal and Nadiya have been my favourites from the very beginning so I will be happy if either of them win.

Since my last post we have seen the remaining bakers tackle Patisserie in the Quarter-final and Chocolate in the Semi-final. Today I am going to share with you my recipe for gluten free Profiteroles which incorporates an element from both shows – Choux pastry and Chocolate!

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I always thought that Choux Pastry would be impossible to make gluten free but it’s actually very straight forward and not unlike making normal Choux!

I strayed slightly from the traditional method of making Choux by adding a small amount of baking powder – normally you would just use plain flour, but I’ve found that adding baking powder helps to give that extra little bit of oomph. This recipe is also Xanthan Gum free which is ideal for those who struggle to tolerate Xanthan Gum and other binding agents.

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Gluten Free Profiteroles 

For the Profiteroles:
60g gluten free plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp caster sugar
55g unsalted butter
110ml cold water
1 to 2 eggs

For the filling:
350 ml double cream

For the topping:
100g good quality milk or dark chocolate
100ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 5.

2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3. Sift together the baking powder and flour in a small bowl then set aside.

4. Place a heavy bottomed pan over a low to medium heat, add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.

5. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball.

6. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.

7. In small bowl whisk the eggs to break up the yolks.

8. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the eggs a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the eggs whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!

9. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until the pastry becomes smooth. You won’t need to add all the egg and you want to avoid making the mixture too runny as it will be difficult to pipe – the mixture at the right stage should stretchy and have some elasticity when you remove the electric mixer.

10. Transfer the mixture to piping bag and pipe little blobs onto the baking sheets a few cm apart – you don’t need to be too neat.

11. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the profiteroles have puffed up and are golden brown in colour – they should be crispy and quite dark in colour or they will go soggy when you fill them.

12. Whilst the Profiteroles are in the oven, make the chocolate topping so that it has time to cool. Melt the chocolate slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, then add the cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate the ingredients. Leave the mixture to cool in the fridge until required.

13. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and prick the base of each one with a cocktail stick to help release some steam. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

14. Whisk the cream with an electric hand mixer until it creates stiff peaks, then transfer to an icing syringe or a piping bag with a fine nozzle. Create a small hole in the base of profiterole and gently fill each one with cream – be careful not to do this too quickly as the the force could cause the pastry to tear.

15. Spread the cooled chocolate topping on the top of each profiterole, then arrange them onto a plate ready to be served!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the GBBO Final as much as I am, let me know what you’re going to bake in celebration in the comments below or come and see what I’m getting up to on Instagram or Facebook.