Ooh la la! I’m not gonna lie, I was getting a little bit nervous watching the semi final of The Great British Bake Off – how on earth was I going to tackle any of the intricate, delicate delights they were knocking up in French week?! I really dislike fruit so there was no way I was going to try and make a Charlotte Royale! However, Ruby saved me from my panic by baking the absolutely delicious looking goats cheese, caramelised onion, walnut and rocket filled choux bun canapes. They looked amazing, so impressive, and combine some of my favourite flavours. Done! I then remembered the week 7 fiasco when I made some very below par profiteroles. Sigh! Would I (and my pastry) be able to rise to the challenge this time?!
I am so so happy to say YES! I believe we (my pastry and I!) did! I used Ruby’s actual recipe which I found on the BBC website (here) and tried to use my learnings from my last attempt to guide and improve my bake. This time I let my butter and flour mix dough cool before adding in the eggs, and hand mixed, rather than using the electric whisk as before. This let me have a bit more control of the mix, and stopped the eggs curdling and the mixture being too stiff. I also decided to dollop my dough onto the baking tray, rather than pipe, which allowed me to keep more air in the mix so I got a much better rise. Hurrah! This meant they rose nicely, leaving a hollow inside which would have been perfect for filling with cream or creme patissiere. They also all kept their bottoms this time too!
The flavours of the filling worked so well together. I loved the use of the chili flakes in the onion as it lifted the goats cheese and cream, stopping it being too sweet and rich. I think next time I make them (and there definitely will be a next time!) I will fill the choux with the onion mix first, then pipe the cheese on top, as I prefer the savoury taste of the onions and would have liked even more of it, and again it stops the canapes being too rich with too much goats cheese. I would also add some chopped walnuts to the cream and cheese mix, to add more crunch and texture.
As I say I will definitely be making these again! They were extremely tasty, fairly easy to make, and look great served at a drinks party. They’re also really good as you can make the pastry a day or so before, and fill them just before you want to serve them. Win! As usual, I’ve written out the recipe and shown step by step images, but Ruby’s official version can be found in the link above.
1. Heat 150ml water in a saucepan. Add the softened butter and bring the mix to a rolling boil.
2. Once the butter has all melted add all the flour, in one go. Stir it vigorously, until it forms a tight ball of dough, which doesn’t stick to the side of the pan. Then remove it from the pan and place in a bowl to completely cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 220oC / Gas Mark 7. Line your baking trays with grease proof paper.
4. Beat the eggs together. Once the dough has cooled, add the egg a little at a time, mixing it thoroughly in each time. Continue until the dough is a smooth dropping consistency (you may not need to use all the egg).
5. Either pipe the mixture onto a baking tray or dollop (love this word!) using a spoon, into even sized balls. Make sure you leave some space between them, for them to expand in the oven.
6. Bake your buns for 10 – 15 minutes then turn the heat down to 190oC / Gas Mark 5 and cook for another 20 – 25 minutes. Your pastry should be golden brown and dry. Remove them from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
7. Time to get the onions caramelised! Slice the onions and add them to a saucepan, along with all the other ingredients and heat on low for about 20 minutes. Then remove the pan from the hob, and leave the mixture to cool down.
8. To make the goats cheese filling, stir the cream into the goats cheese and mix them well. Then transfer the mixture to a piping bag.
9. Chop the walnuts into small pieces and then toast lightly by gently dry frying in a saucepan.
10. Get ready to assemble! Cut each choux bun in half, then fill with a layer of goats cheese and cream mix. Layer on the caramelised onion, then top with a sprinkling of rocket and then crown with a few chopped walnut pieces. Done! 🙂