This recipe is well worth the trouble it takes to make!
First, make the choux pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
Place 150ml (5fl oz) water and the butter in a medium saucepan with high sides (not a low sauté pan) set over a medium to high heat.
Cook, stirring, until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour and salt and beat very well with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
Reduce the heat to medium and replace the saucepan on the heat, stirring for 1 minute until the mixture starts to 'fur' (slightly stick to the base of the pan). Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1 minute.
Pour about one quarter of the beaten egg into the pan and, using the wooden spoon, beat very well. Add a little more egg and beat well again until the mixture comes back together.
Continue to add the egg, beating vigorously all the time, until the mixture has softened, is nice and shiny and has a dropping consistency. You may not need to add all the egg or you may need a little extra. If the mixture is too stiff (not enough egg) then the choux pastries will be too heavy, but if the mixture is too wet (too much egg) they will not hold their shape when spooned onto baking parchment.
Although the pastry is best used right away, it can be placed in a bowl, covered and chilled for up to 24 hours, until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F), Gas mark 7.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Put the choux pastry into the piping bag fitted with the large nozzle and pipe the dough into twenty rounds about 4cm (1½in) in diameter, spaced about 4cm (1½in) apart on the tray to allow for expansion. Use a small wet knife to stop the dough coming out when you have finished piping each puff. If you don't have a piping bag, you can use two dessertspoons, scraping the dough off one with the other to make rounds of a similar size.
Brush the puffs gently with some of the remaining beaten egg and bake in the oven for 2025
Minutes or until they are puffed up, golden and crisp. Remove the puffs from the oven and, using a skewer or the tip of a small sharp knife, make a hole in the side or the base of each puff. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes to allow the steam to escape. Allow the puffs to cool on a wire rack.
For the crème pâtissière, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick, then sift in the flour and stir to mix.
Place the vanilla pod, if using, in a saucepan with the milk and bring it slowly just up to the boil. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Return the mixture to the pan and stir over a low to medium heat until it comes up to a gentle boil (it must boil for it to thicken). Continue to cook, stirring all the time (or use a whisk if it looks lumpy), for 2 minutes or until it has thickened.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the vanilla extract, if using, and pour into a bowl. If the mixture goes a little lumpy while cooking, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk well. If it is still lumpy when cooked, push it through a sieve. Place in a bowl and allow to cool.
Pour the cream into a bowl, whisk until stiff, then fold into the cooled pastry cream with the orange zest. Use the piping bag with a small nozzle attached to pipe the orange cream into the choux puffs in
The hole that you made while they were baking.
To make the caramel sauce, dissolve the sugar in 75ml (3fl oz) water in a pan over a medium heat. Stir in the butter, raise the heat a little, and bubble, stirring occasionally, for about 810 minutes until it
Turns a light toffee colour. Turn off the heat and stir in half the cream.
When the bubbles die down, stir in the rest of the cream and a pinch of salt.
To finish, place the choux puffs on serving plates, dust with icing sugar, then pour over the warm caramel sauce to serve.
Nutritional analysis per serving (16 servings)
Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
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