Freshly baked choux pastry filled with a luxuriously smooth thai tea pastry cream makes for a decadent bite-sized treat! These thai tea cream puffs are bursting with flavor and sure to impress!
A refreshing thai iced tea is one of the best treats on a hot summer day. So what’s the equivalent for fall? Probably these crispy little cream puffs filled with thai tea pastry cream!
making choux pastry
Choux pastry is incredibly versatile and can be used to make everything from churros to eclairs and cream puffs! In some respects choux is a lot easier to make than other doughs. It requires little effort to mix up, comes together quickly, and generally doesn’t leave much of a mess. That being said, choux pastry does require a bit of technique. But once you get the hang of it, making choux is a breeze!
There are two steps in making choux: creating a paste and then incorporating the eggs. The goal of the first step is to evenly hydrate the dough. You’ll create the paste by heating butter, water, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Then, when it’s time to add the flour to the simmering liquid, you’ll need to mix it in quickly and vigorously. Constant agitation helps with even hydration and the development of gluten.
When baked, choux pastry expands creating a hollow center that is perfect for adding fillings! To get that hollow center, it’s important to add as much egg to the dough as possible while maintaining a pipeable consistency. Adding too many eggs will make the choux too runny and there’s no saving the dough from there (because you cannot add raw flour to the paste). This makes the quantity of eggs an important judgement call. To get the perfect amount, the eggs are added gradually while mixing the dough until it becomes a shiny, smooth paste of pipeable consistency. Most of the time I use all of the egg in this recipe but occasionally I use a little less or a little more.
Once the eggs are incorporated into the dough we can pipe it into cream puffs! Choux is often first baked at a higher temperature to help it expand and then at a lower temperature to dry it out. Because these cream puffs are on the smaller side they cook and dry out faster. The added milk and sugar also causes them to brown more rapidly, so for this recipe I prefer to cook them at a lower temperature for the entire duration.
Make sure not to open the oven for the first half hour of baking or there is a risk that the cream puffs will collapse. After about 35 minutes, or when the cream puffs have turned from pale yellow to golden brown, take the cream puffs out and cut holes into the bottom. This is where we will add the filling later. Some people recommend using a chopstick to poke a hole, but I prefer to insert the tip of a small paring knife and twist it a bit. Turn the oven off and return the cream puffs to the oven for 10 minutes to dry out, leaving the oven door slightly ajar.
Allow the cream puffs to cool completely and then they are ready to be filled!
thai tea pastry cream
Pastry cream (crème pâtissière) is a deliciously creamy custard made with milk, eggs, sugar and cornstarch. We also add a bit of butter for richness and give this version a beautiful thai tea flavor by first infusing the milk that we’ll be using! We use this thai tea mix, but most brands will work well for this recipe.
One note: the distinct orange color of thai tea comes from food coloring that’s added to almost all of the premade mixes. If you want to avoid the food coloring, you can try using a homemade thai tea recipe that’s completely from scratch. This would involve infusing the milk with black tea and adding fresh whole spices. You wouldn’t get the characteristic bright orange color, but it would be delicious!
And a few tips for making the best pastry cream:
- To make this pastry cream, you’ll need to combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. To get the right consistency, the pastry cream needs to be heated just shy of boiling in order to stabilize the cream. As soon as the mixture begins to bubble, whisk vigorously for one minute before removing from heat.
- You’ll need to pay close attention to your pastry cream for the duration of the cook time. The mixture needs to be constantly whisked to avoid scrambling the eggs.
- Strain the finished pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any clumps. Then cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap that’s pushed directly into the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
For more delicious dessert inspiration, check out these recipes!
- spiced red wine roasted plums + mascarpone whipped cream
- blueberry crumble
- vanilla bean coconut panna cotta + raspberry coulis
- fruit tartlets with mascarpone cream
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