2016 will go down for me as ‘the year of firsts’! First time in Canada. First encounter with snow (lots of snow!). My first painful attempt at skiing. My very first, rather ugly, snow-man! And now, my very first Matcha tea! Is that unbelievable to the western world? No, I have not been living under a rock. I have however been living in a beautiful bubble called Dubai. And unlike here, Matcha tea sort of got officially unveiled in the country that boasts of the tallest tower in the world, only in 2015. No, it did not come to Starbucks Middle-east. I believe it was available in select Japanese restaurants. But one thing I must note. Once a trend hits Dubai, it catches like wildfire.
My first encounter at an unassuming tea shop was mildly embarrassing. Caught like a deer in headlights, I gave the nice girl blank stares when she asked if I wanted milk in my Matcha tea, or sugar or honey. She was the second person to know my shameful secret. She could not hide her shock very well. It all ended in nervous laughter on my end. I’m sure she rolled her eyes and shook her head in disapproval later.
So you can imagine my wanting to jump onto the Matcha connoisseur bandwagon in a hurry. I have been studying. Studying, meaning eating and drinking diligently – trying out anything that has the magical green powder in it. My least favorite so far has been the Starbucks Green Tea latte. Did anyone think it was too sweet and mildly disgusting? I know now that I prefer mine without milk and mildly sweetened with honey.
It is only natural that I start a series on first-time ingredients with Matcha Green Tea. After much contemplation, I decided on Cream Puffs. I really did want to make ice-cream but I don’t have an ice-cream churner. So that will have to wait. Also this is the first time I tackled choux pastry. Pat on the back for a decent attempt. I was rather nervous. Oh but the joy when you see those little babies puffing up in the oven. Surprisingly, choux pastry is fairly easy to make.
What I learnt –
It was a new kind of process so I had to read the recipe a couple of times to understand it properly.
If this is your first time like me, have everything ready and set out so you can focus on the process.
When piping the choux pastry onto the baking tray, make fat, high mounds. I spread mine out thin and the result was flat choux with less space for that delicious filling.
Matcha Cream Puffs
Choux Pastry – Makes 12
From Joy of Baking
½ cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. granulated white sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup (4 tbsp) (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup (120 ml) water, room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 400˚F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly butter or spray the pan with vegetable pan.
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
- Place the butter and water in a saucepan over medium high heat and gently heat till butter is melted and the mixture is coming to a boil.
- Remove from heat and with a wooden spoon, add the entire flour mixture, and whisk / beat to a sticky paste,
- Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer, and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough till lukewarm. Then start adding the lightly beaten eggs (dough will separate and then come together) and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste that falls from the spoon in a thick ribbon.
- Spoon or pipe 12 small mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Don’t spread them too much. With a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the dough with a lightly beaten egg.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F. Don’t open the oven door as it will release the steam. Do remember to watch them rise!
- Continue to bake for a further 30mins or until the shells are golden brown color. Switch off oven, open the door mid way and let the puff cool inside the oven.
Make your Matcha Cream while puffs are baking.
Adapted from Joleen Cuisine
1¼ cup milk
2 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ tbsp matcha pwd (this makes fairly strong flavor. Adjust according to preference)
½ cup whipping cream
- Combine egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, matcha powder and mix well.
- Heat milk in saucepan to scalding point (when bubbles start to form on the edges) and remove from heat.
- Slowly pour milk into matcha egg mixture, stirring constantly.
- Pour mixture back into saucepan. Bring saucepan back to low-medium heat, continue stirring until thickened. Do not bring to boil.
- Strain custard mixture into a bowl. Refrigerate and let chill for 1 hour.
- Whip cream until stiff. Gently fold into Matcha custard till incorporated. Do not overmix. Chill for another hour.
To assemble the Cream Puffs
Once the puffs are cooled completely and the cream has been properly chilled, you can start assembling. By this point you are at the brink of your patience waiting around. I know.
If you are a piping pro, and if your puffs are all high and mighty, you can pipe the Matcha cream into the puffs from the bottom flat side. Then it will be a nice surprise when someone bites into them.
Or you can go the traditional way and cut off the top dome of the puff. Fill generously with the cream. Elegantly put the top back on like a lady! Take a couple of nice pictures to make people jealous. Then stuff your face with this deliciousness.