When pondering the world of pastry, are you often found asking the question: what is a religieuse but two pieces of choux stacked on top of one another? Oh, what’s that, you don’t know what a religieuse is? And what’s choux?! And where do babies come from?! Ok, well I can answer the first two questions for you, but I’m still trying to figure that last one out myself.
If you’ve ever had an éclair or a profiterole (fancy French word for a cream puff basically), then you know what choux paste is (or pate a choux, another fancy French term). Choux is the casing for the éclair or profiterole. It’s a very soft dough that creates a lot of steam when put into the oven, which in turn creates the most perfect t little hollowed out space for you to fill with whatever your heart desires. Pastry cream is usually the weapon of choice.
And a religieuse is a type of pastry the uses choux paste in the form of a profiterole (cream puff), one smaller profiterole stacked on top of a larger one. The word religieuse translates into “nun” because these little guys look like nuns in habit. But with the pistachio hat that I put on the top, I think mine more resemble the Pope. And with all this new Pope business happening over at the Vatican these days I’d say I’ve got my finger on the pulse people!
Ok enough about the history of these delicious morsels. If you haven’t had one before, drool over the pictures below, read the recipes and make your own! Or at the very least go out and stuff yourself full of éclairs, (because you probably won’t find a religieuse in a Canadian bakery). Happy Baking!
** A little side note, I used all organic ingredients, including organic cane sugar. But I’ve used non-organic also it all works great!**
Choux Paste Recipe
200 g water 10 g sugar
50 g whole milk 150 g eggs (3 large eggs)
80 g butter 60 g pastry flour
5 g salt 60 g bread flour
– Heat oven to 400 ° F
– Using a stencil of whatever size you want, draw evenly spaced circles on the parchment paper that you will line the baking sheet with (if you have mad piping skills and don’t need a stencil then quit bragging and go pipe that symmetrical choux paste already!). Also remember to turn the penciled side face down, no one likes lead on their cream puffs.
– Combine water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
– Remove pot from heat and dump flour in all at once, combine
– Put pot back on med heat and continue to stir, use a spatula to get the lumps out. Keep the mixture on the heat until it starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball in the middle. Keep going until a film is formed on the bottom of the pan (about 2 minutes)
– Remove from heat and put dough in bowl, mix on low speed for about a minute to cool it down
– Add eggs on low-med speed in four parts, scrape down bowl after each addition (you may need more egg if the dough is too dry, you want the consistency to be between a drip and a drop, confusing I know so just look at the picture if you need a visual)
– Fill piping bag with choux paste and pipe into stencils
– Egg wash the choux
– Cover with streusel top if using
– Put in oven and immediately lower heat to 375, after 20 minutes lower oven again (without opening the oven to check!) to 350. After another 20 minutes open the oven slightly (use a tea towel to keep it open) and cook for another 10-15 minutes
– If you aren’t sure if they are done, take one out and poke a hole in the bottom, if it deflates then they still need to dry out more.
– Let cool completely, poke a hole in the bottom of each profiterole, and fill with pastry cream, coat with glaze, garnish with roasted pistachios and stuff your face!
This recipe from Eddy Van Damme is great!
I used streusel for the bottom profiteroles but my top profiteroles are naked as the day I piped them. This will just give you a different look and texture, it’s up to you, be creative!
Pistachio Pastry Cream Recipe
250 ml whole milk 15 g corn starch
½ vanilla bean 60 g egg yolks (3 yolks)
50 g sugar 15 g unsalted butter
90 g pistachio paste
– Combine milk, half of the sugar, vanilla bean, and pistachio paste in pot. Bring to a quick boil
– In separate container sand the remaining sugar with the cornstarch to get any lumps out. Right before the milk starts to boil add this mixture to the yolks and make a paste
– Remove the boiling milk and add a small amount to the eggs, whisking constantly to avoid the eggs from coagulating. Continue to add the milk while whisking.
– Once the milk mixture is all added pour the whole mixture back into the pot through a strainer to catch the vanilla bean and any other lumps
– On medium heat constantly stir the pastry cream until it begins to thicken
– Once it is at its desired thickness remove from heat and pour into a bowl, and stir in butter
– Cover with saran wrap right to the surface to avoid a skin from forming
– Place this bowl over an ice bath to cool it down quickly and place in the fridge. Once the pastry cream is cool you can fill the profiteroles with it.
Chocolate Glaze Recipe
I love this glaze recipe from Joe Pastry. Its so shiny and so simple to make. It also freezes really well!