Food & DrinkRecipes

Sweet and savoury bites will be gone in a puff

RecipesBy Kevin Dundon
Sweet and savoury bites will be gone in a puff

I am a big fan of choux pastry, it’s so versatile and can be used for both sweet and savoury treats.

Think yummy chocolate éclairs or profiteroles, or savoury gougeres (mini cheese puffs), these make ideal fingerfood or canapés for parties, afternoon teas or simply just for a treat.  

My recipes this week use the same recipe for the pastry, except I use water instead of milk in the savoury version to make a crispier pastry.   

Choux pastry relies on rising steam to create a hollow centre, which is normally then filled with sweet creams or custards.

It is important when making choux pastry that you measure the ingredients carefully, otherwise you may not get the results you want.  

Another good point to note is not to open the oven during the cooking process as your pastry may run out of puff.If you don’t like piping the filling into the centre of the cooked pastry, just slice the choux lengthways and cut in half, spoon in the filling then add the top piece of pastry.  

I have filled my sweet choux with some raspberry mousse and topped with a lemon icing, and some fresh raspberries – strawberries or mixed berries could easily be substituted instead.    

The goats cheese and smoked salmon mousse filling used in my savoury éclair is topped with a little wasabi glaze made using evaporated milk – this glaze is a little more tricky to make but well worth it, take it easy on the wasabi when you start, you can add more if required.   

The filling variations for these recipes are vast so don’t be afraid to experiment,.

Raspberry Mousse éclair

Serve 4 -8

Choux Pastry

55g butter

1 tsp caster sugar

60ml milk

60ml water

80g flour

2 large eggs

1 egg wash made of 1 egg yolk mixed with milk 

Raspberry mousse

400g raspberry plus extra to serve

70g icing sugar

½ lemon juice

250ml cream

2 gelatine leaves, soaked in water

icing topping 

150g icing sugar

½ lemon juice

½ vanilla pod, seeded

1) Preheat the oven to 160°C/325F/Gas Mark 3.Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.

2) Place the butter, caster sugar, milk and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the flour.

3) Place over a medium heat and stir briskly until the mixture forms a soft dough and leaves the side of the saucepan dry. Transfer to a bowl. Without cooling the mixture, add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. The dough should be smooth and glossy.  Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain 10 – 15mm nozzle.  Pipe 6cm strips on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart. Brush with a very light coating of egg wash.   Place in a preheated oven to bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown outside and dry inside. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

4) In the meantime,  place the gelatin in cold water until softened.

5) Place the raspberry into a blender with icing sugar and the lemon juice and puree.  

6) Lightly whip up the cream to soft peaks. In a small saucepan, gently warm up 40 ml of raspberry purée then remove from the heat. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and fold it into the warm raspberry purée. Stir until the gelatin has fully dissolved then add to the remaining raspberry purée.   Fold in the whipped cream, carefully without whisking too much so as not to split the mix. 

7) Place the raspberry mousse into a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle and keep aside.  

8) To prepare the icing, in a bowl, stir  together the icing sugar, lemon juice and vanilla seeds until fully combined and smooth. Fill the éclair with the raspberry mousse and dip the top of the éclair  into the lemon icing.    Sprinkle with some raspberry pieces.

Smoked Salmon & Goats Cheese Éclair  with Wasabi Glaze 

Serves 4 

Savory Éclair: 

55g butter

1 pinch salt

120ml water

80g flour

2 large eggs

1 egg wash made of 1 egg yolk mixed with milk 

Salmon & Goats cheese mousse

200g smoked salmon 

250ml cream 

200g fresh goat cheese

1 lemon zest salt and pepper

Wasabi Glaze 

100ml evaporated milk 

2 gelatin leaves

½ tsp agar Wasabi to taste

few drops of green colouring

1) Preheat the oven to 160°C/325F/Gas Mark 3.  Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. 

2) Place the butter, salt and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour.   Return the saucepan to a medium heat and stir briskly until the mixture forms a soft dough and leaves the side of the saucepan dry.

3) Transfer to a bowl without cooling the mixture, then add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. The dough should be smooth and glossy.

4) Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain 10 – 15mm nozzle.  Pipe 6cm strips on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart.   Brush the top of each éclair  with a very light coating of egg wash.  

5) Place into a preheated oven and bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown outside and dry inside. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

6) In the meantime, prepare the salmon & goat cheese mousse.   Process the smoked salmon and cream in a food processor until combined.   Add the goats cheese and pulse once to twice until fully combined.  Add the lemon zest and check the seasoning. Fill a piping bag with a small nozzle.  When the éclair are ready to be filled.   Pierce the end of each choux and pipe with the filling on both sides.

7) To prepare the glaze   Soak the gelatin leaves for 5 minutes until softened. Pour the evaporated milk and agar into a small saucepan and blitz with a handheld blender to disperse the agar.  Bring to a simmer for 2 minutes whisking continuously to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat and add the wasabi, a drop of coloring and the gelatin pulp.  Whisk until fully combined.  Leave to set for a few minutes until just beginning to set then dip the top of the éclair into the topping.  

Serve immediately.

Top Tip:  Catch my new TV series –  Kevin Dundon’s Back to Basics - on UTV Ireland next Friday 24th April for a step-by-step guide to creating some of my favourite recipes without using the abundance of convenience foods that have become commonplace in our lives.  

Through the recipes you will learn key ways of cooking with a particular ingredient, from poaching eggs to mastering a soufflé – be sure to join me for my new show.