Christmas is around the corner and this year I would like to suggest a five-course menu on this blog throughout December so that you can find some festive inspiration. One particularity only: this Christmas dinner will be French! Be ready to discover the French gastronomy at its best. Let’s start today with the first recipe: an outstanding choux puff appetizer!
In France we love “petits choux” (choux puff) and they have become very trendy lately with many new recipes involving new topping and flavors. Good news: I love petits choux. I think they are just irresistible, cute and festive! Above all, I love when a foreigner pronounce “petits choux” with a lovely accent in French. So beautiful!
Today, I recommend the “pâte à choux” recipe used by professionals, a very easy recipe actually. All you need is basic ingredients (flour, eggs, butter) and a piping bag. Then I will stuff the petits choux with some smoked salmon and a delicious horseradish cream, which enhances the taste of the choux puff.
There is absolutely nothing difficult in this recipe and it won’t take you so much time. You can prepare in advance (even the day before) both the dough (pâte à choux) and the filling, stuffed in the the piping bag, and store in the refrigerator, However, you need to bake and fill the choux puffs the day you’re planning to eat them so that they remain fresh.
This smoked salmon choux puff appetizer will sweep your guests off their feet and you will be very proud with the result. You can’t go wrong with this recipe!
- 1 cup water
- 1⅔ cup (200g) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp (100g) unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 pinch of salt
- 7 oz (200g) salmon
- 1⅛ cup (250g) cream cheese
- 4 tbsp heavy cream
- ½ lemon (juice)
- 2 tsp grated horseradish
- ¼ bunch of chives
- Salt and pepper
- For the pâte à choux (choux pastry): pour the water, salt and butter in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once. Mix with a wooden spoon or an electric stand mixer until no lumps remain. We obtain what we call a pan (panade in French).
- Set back to heat on the hob and stir until you achieve a smooth ball of paste that leaves the sides of the saucepan clean - this should take less than a minute.
- Remove from the saucepan and transfer the paste in a cold saucepan. Cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Stir the eggs into the pan, one by one, either by hand with a wooden spatula spoon or on low speed with a stand mixer. It might be a bit difficult to incorporate the eggs into the pan at first but it gradually blends in perfectly. The choux pastry is then ready to be used.
- Preheat the oven to 340 F (170 C) on the convection mode. Scoop the dough into a plastic bag (or piping bag), then pipe onto a baking sheet into little puffs. Bake on a tray inserted at half height until the puffs are golden brown. The baking time depends on the size of the puffs. Please note that you must not open the oven door while baking.
- For the filling: mix the cream cheese and the heavy cream in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the lemon juice and the grated horseradish. Finely slice the smoked salon and add in to the cream. Sprinkle some chives, finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the top part of the puff with a serrated knife, so that it forms a small hat to the puff. Don't cut all the way through. The top part should still be attached to the bottom part.
- Pour the cream into a piping bag and pipe it into the little puffs, dividing evenly. If you don't have any piping bag, you can also fill the little choux with a teaspoon.
- Sprinkle some chives on top and place in the refrigerator until it is time to serve the choux.