Posted in Baking Day

Christmas Dessert – Cloudberry Choux Buns

I love discovering new food products and the innovativeness of Irish producers never ceases to amaze me.  I recently came across some of The Cloudberry Bakery’s produce at one of my favourite shopping haunts – Brown Thomas in Cork city.  Cloudberry’s stand in the Brown Thomas Food Emporium stopped me in my tracks, had me intaking my breath and dreamily sighing.  Beautiful. If you’d like to get a feel for their brand and products you can check out The Cloudberry Bakery by clicking here.
Cloudberry Lemon Curd and Sea Salted Caramel
In the meantime let me tell you about the two products that I tried out – Lemon Curd and Sea-Salted Caramel.  Besides eating them by the spoonful or simply spreading on some shortbread I could also imagine them as the perfect companion to some delicious vanilla ice-cream. However I decided to take a few spoonfuls of each to up the ante on some choux buns that I think would be a delicious Christmas dessert.  If you made the choux buns a day or two beforehand, made sure to release the steam and cool them properly before storing them in an airtight container they could then be simply filled on the day with  the Cloudberry flavoured pastry cream which you could also make the day before.
Christmas Dessert Cloudberry Choux Bun

These were delicious and my kids particularly loved the Lemon Curd flavoured ones.
Choux Buns
Makes 14-18 depending on size.
You will need:
70g flour
50g butter
150ml water
2 eggs
Preheat the fan oven to 180C/Gas Mark 6.  Line 2 or 3 baking trays with parchment paper.
Sift the flour into a bowl.
Place the butter in a saucepan with the water and put it on the hob to melt.  Once melted bring to the boil and take it off the heat.
Stir the water and butter in the saucepan with a wooden spoon in one hand as you add in the flour with the other hand beating continuously until smooth.
At this stage you should have a smooth soft pastry ball.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Lightly beat the two eggs in a bowl.
Add one third of the egg to the pastry and beat with a wooden spoon.  It will seem to separate and collapse but keep beating until it begins to stiffen up again.
Add the next third of egg and again beat until the pastry is back to a stiffened mixture and do the same with the remaining egg.
Spoon small blobs of the pastry onto the baking sheets, spaced well apart.  Use no more than half a tablespoon and you should get 18 -20 small choux buns out of this quantity, you may wish to go bigger.
Place in the oven and bake at this temperature for 15 minutes, then raise the temperature to 200/Gas Mark 7 for 10 minutes.
As soon as they are out of the oven cut a slit in the side to release the steam, otherwise they will collapse.  Allow to cool on wire rack.
Pastry Cream flavoured with Cloudberry Lemon Curd and Sea-Salted Caramel

Pastry Cream
This is more of a custard than a cream and takes a little bit of diligence, care and attention to avoid lumps, the end result is worth it.
You will need
250ml milk
Half tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
40g caster sugar
25g flour
15g butter
150ml whipping cream
Jars of Cloudberry Lemon Curd &/or Sea-Salted Caramel
Bring the milk and vanilla extract to the boil in a saucepan and take off the heat.
Use an electric mixer to cream together the eggs, caster sugar and flour.
Gradually add the hot vanilla milk into the egg, sugar and flour in the electric mixer.
Add in the butter.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring back to the boil stirring continuously to form smooth thick custard like cream.  Do not allow to stick to bottom of pan.
Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and sprinkle the top with caster sugar to prevent a skin forming.
Once the pastry cream is cool, beat the whipping cream until beginning to stiffen and then fold this in with a spoon along with a couple of tablespoons of Cloudberry lemon curd or sea-salted caramel.  Taste and increase flavouring if necessary.
Cloudberry Flavoured Pastry Cream Filled Choux Buns
Chocolate Sauce
You will need:

100g dark chocolate (70%+)
150 ml water
50g caster sugar
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a saucepan with the water.
Keeping the saucepan on the heat stir in the sugar until dissolved, mixing well.
Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes until thick and glossy but still a drizzling consistency – keep stirring occasionally as it simmers.
Cloudberry filled Choux Bun
Cloudberry Choux Buns
To assemble the choux buns carefully fill the cooled choux buns with either lemon curd or sea-salted caramel flavoured pastry cream.
Drizzle over the chocolate sauce.
Chocolate Splattered Choux Buns
‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in I'm Enjoying

I’m Enjoying…. in June 2013

I’m Enjoying….

….Lemon Curd
Heaven Preserve Us Lemon Curd jars
Is there no end to amazing Irish food producers?  Heaven Preserve Us have a beautiful array of preserves selling at Irish Farmers Markets including this amazing lemon curd. {produced in Ovens, Co. Cork}.  I used my jar of lemon curd to make an ahhmazing Lemon & Raspberry Pavlova – and yes, I do say so myself 🙂

….Apple Juice
Mealagulla Apple Juice
I came across two of my boys and their pal at the Mealagulla Orchard juice stand at the Cork Summer Show last week.  They weren’t just trying to snaffle free samples but were digging around in their pockets to club together to by a large bottle between them.  Made from locally grown apples in Ovens, the Mealagulla Orchard Apple Juice is delicious and with 11-year-old boys willing to part with their hard-earned pocket-money to buy some it comes with a big thumbs up from them and from me.

….Fromage Frais
Fromage Frais Kilbeg Dairies
It can be very difficult to get your hands on some plain fat-free fromage frais. (How something this creamy can be fat-free? Don’t ask me!) Produced in Ireland by award-winning Kilbeg dairies you will find it in the cheese section.  It was just what I was after for the filling of my Lemon & Raspberry Pavlova.

….Bakestone Café, Deli & Bakery
Bakestone Café
This brand new food offering at Ballyseedy Home and Garden Centre in Fota Retail Park, Carrigtwohill sees Joe and Maura Carey (owners of  The White Horse Bar and Restaurant, Ballincollig) joined by Chef Ali Honour.  They’re offering food and entertainment {Sunday Brunch is accompanied by a live jazz trio} in an almost arboretum type setting with a café that spills out into the foliage of the garden centre on the fine days.  I for one will go anywhere for a decent cup of coffee, I usually drink decaf at home, but when I’m out I’ll be after a hit  of something strong and delicious and they’ve a speciality range on offer here.  Come for a coffee stay for breakfast, brunch, lunch or afternoon tea.  Bakestone is open 9.30am til 6pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 6pm on Sundays.

….Apron Strings
Apron Strings Cookbook by Nessa RobinsWith much anticipation I finally got my hands on Nessa Robins cookbook.  You can check out one of Nessa’s recipe and a writeup on Apron Strings here.

….FEAST: A Dinner Journal
Feast Magazine Cover
This is one for the coffee table.  Breathtakingly beautiful this masterpiece from Donal Skehan {& team of Ross Golden Bannon, Sharon Hearne Smith, Jane Matthew and Sofie Larson} will be one to collect.  I could see myself tearing out pictures to frame them (though where would I put the children’s pictures then!).  Exquisite photography and appealingly clean yet cosy layout will have you losing yourself in its  surrounds.  Feast is available to peruse for free online for a limited time via Donal Skehan’s website and hard copies can be ordered from MagCloud.

….Cork on a Fork
Cork on a Fork by Fenn's Quay

FREE. FREE. FREE.  Doesn’t everyone love something free?  Fenn’s Quay are giving you a copy of their beautifully presented collection of recipes in ‘Cork on a Fork’ free to download here.

….Food Festival Season
Flavour of Killorglin poster
While there are now a plethora of food festivals the whole year round the summer is rampant with them.  With the finer weather (fingers crossed) bringing us out in search of a quality day of entertainment there is nothing like a wander around a food festival to satisfy you.  One such festival kicking off 5th July through to 7th July is Killorglin Festival.  Events planned for the weekend include music, taste tours, smokery tours, angling exhibits, lectures and unique collaborations between food and drink providers. Sure what more could you want?!  Check out the details on their beautiful website.

Well I hope you get a chance to get out there over the coming months and enjoy blissfully bright hours discovering new products and food festivals for yourself.

Talk to you in July! Enjoy, x Sheila

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