#1 – 48 Recipe Challenge: Recipe 18: Parmesan and Pancetta Puffs (basically my first attempt at choux pastry)

This month’s recipe was inspired by the Great British Bake Off (and the fact that it’s the 28th September and I’m running out of month…).  Seriously, I watched Bake Off recently, thought about the fact that I’d never made choux pastry and decided it would fit the bill for the blog.

The problem is that I’m not a sweet and sticky fan, so profiteroles and eclairs are definitely not my favourite.  I fancied some savoury choux.  A quick google identified some with savoury fillings (creamy mushrooms, or goats cheese with caramelised red onions, for example) but somehow I didn’t fancy stuffing them – and that’s when I came across these Parmesan and Pancetta Puffs.  They sounded perfect.  Cheese, bacon, what’s not to like?

Choux pastry is unusual because it’s the only pastry you cook before you put it in the oven.  In fact, the process reminded me of nothing so much as making a roux but somehow in reverse – melt the butter into the milk, stir in the flour then beat in eggs.  The trick is to cool the mix before you add the eggs, otherwise they’ll scramble.  Luckily the recipe warned me that it would look “quite unpleasant” when I beat the first egg in.  It did:

Choux pastry - adding the first egg

Choux pastry – adding the first egg

 

But I persevered, and by the time all the ingredients were in it looked like this:

Choux pastry mix ready for the oven.  Looks more like cake mix than pastry...

Choux pastry mix ready for the oven. Looks more like cake mix than pastry…

Still a bit worried that it looked more like cake mix than pastry, I popped dollops of it onto a baking tray and in to the oven it went.  (Obviously if you’re actually on Bake Off you pipe it onto the tray but frankly I couldn’t be bothered with the extra washing up.)

To my surprise, the puffs did indeed puff!

The finished article: Parmesan and Pancetta Puffs

The finished article: Parmesan and Pancetta Puffs

As my (gas, no fan) oven is rubbish they took twice as long to cook as they should have done and had to be done in two batches because the ones on the bottom shelf didn’t cook at all the first time round but once they’d come out I was pretty impressed.

A quick pop round to the local for Sunday afternoon snack time and the all important taste test and they passed with flying colours.  I was worried they would be dry without a filling but they weren’t at all, the Parmesan really came through and they were little nibbles of deliciousness.

 

I’m that happy with choux pastry now that I might attempt some more creations!

Scores are:

Ease of preparation – 8/10 (If you’re used to making a roux sauce, really not that hard)

Flavour/taste – 9/10 (Salty, cheesy, carb based deliciousness.  Very moreish!)

Healthiness – 5/10 (Calories per unit aren’t too bad as long as you don’t scoff tons of them.  That’s easier said than done!)

Here’s the recipe – give them a go!  They’d make great canapés or pre dinner nibbles.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pancetta_and_parmesan_96186

 

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