Religieuse

The internet is a magical and enlightening place.  In preparation for the post I, as usual, had to remember how to spell things, mainly the name of this bake so I googled “religious choux pastry”.   Thankfully google knew exactly what I was getting at and populated the page with several recipes for Religieuse along with the ubiquitous Wikipedia entry.  I take everything Wikipedia says as gospel (which I know is highly recommended) so I clicked on the entry to find out what I was about to bake.  Along with a description of the components, I learned that the shape of the pastry is meant to represent a papal mitre (some hat thing…sorry Catholic people I don’t know what I’m talking about) NOT a fat snowman shaped Nun!  This was very welcome news since I had decided that the pastry was borderline body shaming Nuns.  So there you have it!  The truth behind Religieuse.  I should point out that the rest of the world hasn’t been reading Wikipedia as most other recipes start out by saying things like “representing a well-padded Nun” but that is neither here nor there.

I kicked things off by making the crème pâtissière.  My first attempt at creme pat (I’m a baker now so I can use the hip bakers lingo) as you may remember turned out fair to middling.  There was a moment of curdling but I pulled it back with the immersion blender. This time I was determined to do better.

I got out my hand mixer so I could be as efficient as possible when mixing the hot milk with the egg yolks.  I also stopped my milk before it got to a rolling boil, catching it with just the hint of bubbles, and waited for it to cool before adding it to my eggs.

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Things moved very quickly once the milk was in and my photos look like I was some kind of war correspondent they are so shaky so you’ll have to trust me on how it worked out. My approach of using the electric mixer kind of backfired.  I didn’t curdle the eggs but I did end up with a solid layer of bubbles on top of the mixture.  When I put the creme pat back on the stove I couldn’t see through the bubbles until they were instantly sucked into the thick cream.  It happened very quickly and I had a few clumps.   Luckily some vigorous whisking smoothed it out again and I put the cream in the fridge to chill.

Next step was choux!  This was my first choux experience and I was excited! It’s a pastry shrouded in mystery.  What home baker makes choux?  Not many that I know.  Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible.  Make the choux!  You can do it.

I started by melting my butter and water, that took about 30 seconds.  Then I tossed in the flour etc and it looked nasty.

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But I could see the potential and in a few strokes of the wooden spoon, I had the telltale ball of mixture.  I cooked the ball as long as I could but I was getting worried as I was losing a lot of mix to the bottom of the pan.  After about 2 minutes the whole pan was coated with a floury film and my ball of dough looked very small.  I put the meagre amount of dough in the mixer and proceeded to peel the film of the bottom of the pan.

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This was very satisfying.  After my peeling, I was ready to add my eggs to the choux (can I call it choux without the eggs in?).  I watched a lot of tutorials before attempting the choux so I was prepared for the stages required to go from flour ball to pastry paste.  But it was still concerning to see the eggy mess at first.  Eventually, I got it to the pipeable consistency Mary was looking for.

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Piping was a bit of a thing.  I didn’t measure or draw out my circles so I feer handed it and made things smaller than they needed to be but I threw caution to the wind of went with it.  Mary doesn’t mention the trick about wetting your finger and stamping down the Dairy Queen swirls on top of the paste before putting the buns into the oven but I did it anyway.  I had a lot of swirls

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25 minutes later, after a temperature change and a round of bum pricks to let the steam out I had my choux buns.

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All that was left was to fill the buns, dip them in ganache, stack them, and pipe cream around the middle.  No problem.  I didn’t end up buying a special top to inject the cream into my buns so some of the injection sites were a little large but my creme pat was so thick it wasn’t dripping out.

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After a dunk in ganche and some very sloppy whipped cream piping my Religieuse were born.

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I must confess I opted to only make a few full-out Religieuse instead keeping most in their single cream puff form.  I feel this was a stroke of genius because the cream puffs are perfectly poppable and bite-sized.  I am really proud of this bake because not only did it taste good, but I also managed to pull it off without any major baking (or emotional) breakdowns!  But I have to admit they do kind of look like fat Nuns.

7 thoughts on “Religieuse

  1. Amazing choux pastry, you are really building your baking repertoire! They look great. Was your whipped cream a little warm or under whipped when you piped it? Is that why it was soft?
    Another good bake 🙂

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  2. Bravo! Looks great, and looks delicious of course. My baking expertise is not as advanced as yours, but I want to try the Religieuse just for the name. And, I’m not even Catholic.

    Like

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