On our spooky creepy journey around Halloween I can’t help but dive deep into the need to bake up a disgustingly delicious treat. There is something about this time of the year where creativity is encouraged and the decrepit has no limits. On a recent trip to my local orchard the rotting apples below the trees kept catching my eye. There’s something about the soft, mushy interior with the wrinkled deep red skin surrounding the apple that is irresistible. This got me to thinking…how can I make something edible that also looks absolutely repulsive? How about make a rotten apple!
If you are still here and not hiding under a blanket from how SCARY that spider is, then grab your tea and a biscuit and tuck in cause this one is a doozy. The base of the apple is a choux pastry (see my method and recipe under Orange Puffs: Choux). (more…)
noun,pluralchoux[shooz for 1; shoo for 2]/ʃuz for 1; ʃu for 2/.
Or, “shoe” for the non-French speaking among us. Once again I stumbled upon this dandy little recipe card from my grandma’s recipe tin. Having never made choux pastry before the fact that it was named Orange Puff made it far less intimidating. My only familiarity with choux is from the Great British Baking Show (stop me there, if I get going on Mary Berry and that show all of our eyeballs will be crossed since it is amazing, cute, cozy. Ok after this you can go watch it because it’s like the best show ever). I digress. So having seen how choux was made I was I knew I was in for it.
Here’s where I really like the technicality of baking where true technique makes all the difference. This orange puff takes all of the pain-points away and makes it very user friendly! Also one of the great things is it doesn’t require many ingredients which also tricks my mind into momentarily believing this is easier than it should be.
Do simple ingredients mean simple technique? Yes and no. This is definitely a recipe you want to read over a few times before turning on the oven. Once you have all the ingredients prepped and ready you are set to carry on. This is why I sift and sort out my ingredients beforehand…or mise en place (this week is full of French vocabulary!) Before this bake I had never made a mixture to then bake in the oven, which is quite fun! Cooking the ingredients on the stove cooks the flour and also makes your arm very sore. Once the water, butter and salt are melted together you will add in the flour and stir briskly until a smooth ball forms. Then remove the pan from the stove and beat in the eggs one by one – which is very important to getting a smooth mixture. Add in the zest and you are set to drop on the pan. Here I used zest from a mandarine orange. Not because I’m that fancy, but because that’s what was in the refrigerator this week. However, I would suggest a normal orange because getting the zest off of a mini little orange is a challenge in itself.
Mise en place ([mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”
While the puffs are baking and cooling, get busy making the chocolate filling. Mmmmm hmmm it is GOOD! And simple, which are two of my favorite things. The filling is this soft, crunchy, chocolatey filling that you could honestly eat on it’s own it is so good. For this part I used a piping bag fitted with a sharp nozzle to fill the puffs. Now, this is not my favorite part because I don’t like fiddly time consuming things but it is quite worth it in the end. Or if you have less patience than me you could cut them in half and make little sandwiches. I promise I won’t tell anyone. As long as you eat them, they are delicious & make you happy that is the most important thing!
And of course if you have left over oranges (and if this bake maybe didn’t go as well as you had planned), you can always use them in a summer drink. Here I decided to throw them in my cucumber-lime vodka cocktail! (And yes, it made me feel better about taking on this challenge)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 orange rind grated
Preheat oven to 450°. Blend water, butter and salt & bring to a boil. Sift flower, salt and add to the mixture. Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the pan and forms a smooth ball (about 1 minute). Remove from heat, add 1 egg at a time – beat well each time with spoon. Fold in the orange rind. Drop by small teaspoon on un-greased sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove and immediately cool.
Chocolate Cream filling
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup whipped cream
Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips over hot water. Add 2 tablespoons orange juice. Remove from heat & cool. Fold in 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds. Beat 1/2 cup whipped cream until stiff. Fold into chocolate mixture.
Then eat the rest of the whipped cream by the spoonful. Just kidding! (totally not kidding it’s delicious sugar fluff I cannot resist)
I hope you try to bake and enjoy this orangey delight!