DIRECTIONS for Choux Dough:
Preheat oven to 425F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a saucepan, combine milk, water, sugar, salt and butter and heat on medium until butter has melted, then turn up heat to high and bring to a mild boil for about half a minute. Bring heat back to medium and add all the bread flour into pan at once and stir constantly until the dough comes together. Transfer to stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment and let it cool 5-8 minutes.
Gradually add eggs one at a time while stirring on low speed - dough will look separated…don’t worry it will eventually come together. Dough should look soft, sticky and pipe-able but not runny. Sometimes ONLY 9 or 10 EGGS are enough. Another way to check if there are enough eggs, is to lift the paddle (if there is a ribbon of dough that doesn’t break off immediately and is slightly stiff), it is ready. Prep a piping bag with a large plain tip #806.
Pipe balls about 1.5 inches or 18 - 20 grams onto prepared baking sheet. Split the baking into two sessions if you’re making all 100 puffs. Cover the choux dough that is not being used with plastic and pop in fridge.
Bake until they start to brown (about 8 minutes) then TURN DOWN heat to 350F and continue baking for another 15 - 20 minutes.
Depending on your oven you may have rotate the trays, do so at about the 15-16 minute point. Cool completely before filling with creme patisserie.
Tip: Baked choux should be filled as soon as they’re cooled…the baked shells may also be frozen and used later. Store in airtight container in freezer and reheat at 350F in oven from frozen until defrosted on the outside (about 5 minutes or so). Unbaked batter can be kept in fridge covered for 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature before piping.
DIRECTIONS for YES!Berries Strawberry Creme Patisserie
Puree the YES!Berries strawberries with food processor or juicer, then push the puree through a sieve to remove seeds.
In medium saucepan, bring the milk up to a simmer.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until light and pale for about 3 minutes; then add the cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Add the mixture back into the saucepan, on medium high heat, whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Whisk constantly to avoid burning.
Once the pastry cream starts to bubble (boil) about 7 minutes, whisk continuously for another minute and remove from heat. Add the vanilla and butter and stir until the butter has melted and is thoroughly incorporated. Add the seedless YES!Berries strawberry puree and mix well. Chill in fridge until completely cool (cover with plastic wrap directly on surface of creme patisserie to prevent a skin from forming). When ready to pipe into the puffs, stir the cream vigorously to get it to become smooth again.
DIRECTIONS for Spun Sugar
Over medium heat in a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine sugar and water and swirl the pot until the sugar has fully absorbed the water. Increase heat to HIGH for about 5 - 7 minutes and use pastry brush dipped in water to brush sides of pan to prevent sugar from crystallizing. DO NOT swirl, or stir or it will create crystallization. Once it starts turning golden in colour, be on the alert because it can burn very quickly. Remove from heat and immediately place pan into ice bath. Cool down until it thickens to the consistency of honey. Warning: Spun sugar is extremely hot and can cause serious burns. Handle CAREFULLY!
DIRECTIONS for Assembly of YES!Berries Strawberry Croquembouche Tower
Poke holes into the bottoms of all the choux balls with thick skewer. Fill choux balls through the holes with the creme patisserie. Dip the sides of the choux balls in the spun sugar and attach them together to create a ring base consisting of approximately 15 balls. Add the next layer of choux balls on top of the base, ensuring to dip the bottoms so they adhere to the layer below. Continue adding layers, with fewer choux balls progressively to create the cone shape of the tower. Put a toothpick in each of the YES!Berries strawberries and attach to tower by impaling the desired choux ball. Get creative! The final look of the Croquembouche Tower can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.
Recipe developed by Betty Binon at Stems & Forks