Ginger-Lemongrass Choux Pastry

Choux pastry goes to the next level with a ginger-and-lemongrass infusion and crackling cornflake topping. [Photographs: Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot]

Designed as a replacement for the classic biscuit in strawberry shortcake, these choux puffs are light and airy, and infused with the flavor of ginger and lemongrass. They're also topped with a crackly, crunchy layer of cornflake craquelin. While they're delicious in strawberry shortcake, they're also great served with whipped cream, ice cream, or pastry cream.

Why this recipe works:

  • A crispy, crunchy cornflake topping adds lots of texture and extra flavor to the choux puffs.
  • By steeping milk and cream with fresh ginger and lemongrass, they baked choux puffs are enhanced with extra flavor that explodes on first bite.
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Ginger-Lemongrass Choux Pastry

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes about 4 dozen small puffs
Active time:1 hour
Total time:4 hours
Special equipment:Food processor, stand mixer
This recipe appears in: Ideas in Food vs. Strawberry Shortcake: Reinventing the Biscuit

Ingredients

  • For the Craquelin:
  • 3 1/3 cups (100 grams) cornflakes
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (100 grams) maple sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces / 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • For the Choux Pastry:
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, smashed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger (about 3 ounces / 85 grams), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 3/4 cups (450 grams) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 1/3 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (50 grams) buttermilk powder
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces / 225 grams) unstalted butter, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4.5 grams) fine sea salt
  • 9 large eggs

Procedures

  1. 1

    For the Craquelin: Put cornflakes, flour, maple sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse 5 times to break up cornflakes. Then process mixture until it turns into a fine flour, about 1 minute. With the processor off, add butter. Pulse about 10 times, until the dough forms a ball.

  2. 2

    On a work surface, lay out 2 large sheets of plastic wrap so they overlap in the middle and form a rectangle roughly 18-by-24 inches. Put dough in the center and cover with 2 more overlapping sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a roughly 13-by-18-inch rectangle. Transfer plastic wrapped dough onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until it is firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

  3. 3

    For the Choux: Put lemongrass, ginger, milk, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover the saucepan, and let infuse for 30 minutes at room temperature.

  4. 4

    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together flour and buttermilk powder. Strain milk mixture into a clean medium saucepan, discarding ginger and lemongrass. Add butter, sugar, and salt to milk, set over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add flour mixture to milk, and, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, stir together. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a soft ball and begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.

  5. 5

    Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes. With the mixer still running, add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully absorbed before adding the next one. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 10 seconds, until the choux pastry is smooth and silky. Transfer choux pastry to a covered container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

  6. 6

    Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or a spoon, place scoops of choux pastry onto non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 2-3 inches of space between them (each mound should be about 2 tablespoons in volume).

  7. 7

    Using a 1-inch round pastry cutter, stamp out rounds of craquelin. Gather up craquelin scraps, re-roll them, and stamp out more rounds. Top each mound of choux paste with a craquelin round, gently pressing craquelin into the choux with your fingers so that it lies flat and the batter just pushes out around the edges.

  8. 8

    Bake choux pastry for 45 minutes, then rotate baking sheets, and bake until choux is puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Turn oven off, open the door a crack, and let choux puffs stand in the warm oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely, about 30 minutes.

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