Sweet and choux pastry

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  • These types of pastry are usually best made at home and are easier than you might think

    Sweet shortcrust pastry (Pâte sucrée)

    This rich, short pastry has a biscuity texture. It crumbles easily but is very malleable so just push it back together.

    150g salted butter, diced, at room temperature 75g vanilla sugar 250g plain white flour 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 medium egg, beaten with 1 tbsp iced water

    Step 1) Use a hand-held electric beater to whisk the butter until creamy.

    Step 2) Whisk in the vanilla sugar until the mixture is pale and light, then sift in the flour and salt. Stir using a fork to combine.

    Step 3) Mix in the egg-water to form a ball of sweet pastry. Wrap in clingfilm and then chill for at least 20 minutes to rest.

    To make this pastry in a food processor, which is very easy to do, blitz the butter until creamy, add the vanilla sugar and blitz briefly again. Add the flour and salt, and blitz in 2-second bursts until evenly mixed. Finally, drizzle in the egg and water with the machine still running until the pastry clumps and forms a ball. Wrap and chill as before.

    Choux pastry

    The name of this pastry means ‘cabbage’ because of its fluffy appearance. This is created by steam when the pastry is baking, during which the water in the recipe turns to vapour and the egg protein sets firm in a billowing shape. The cooked pastry is hollow, perfect for holding cream or other fillings. As choux isn’t sweet, it can take chocolate, coffee, caramel or flower-scented icing glazes beautifully.

    175g butter, diced 1⁄2 tsp salt and 225g plain white flour, sifted together 6 medium eggs

    Step 1) In a medium-sized saucepan bring 225ml water and the butter to the boil.

    Step 2) Tip in the sifted salt and flour, then beat hard with a hand-held electric whisk until the mix forms a ball that leaves the side of the pan.

    Step 3) Take off the heat and add the eggs, one at a time, beating hard with the electric whisk to form a rich, glossy paste.

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