gluten free choux pastry (for cream puffs), with cassava flour – a single flour recipe

Baking gluten free means time, patience, as well as the occasional failure, in order to learn which flour goes best for the recipe you are creating. Cassava flour is special for various reasons. First of all, it is expensive, very expensive, dear neighbors : more so than teff flour, and often more than twice the price of sorghum flour ! Needless to say, I only use it where it makes a difference, which is the case here. To make gluten-free choux pastry dough (or cream puff pastry dough) I have successively used a combination of flours and starch (rice, millet, cornstarch), then only 2 types of flour (rice and teff, still my favorite for a savory filling, recipe in French  here). Using only cassava flour, the recipe gets simpler and the result much, much tastier . The cream puffs are very fluffy inside, just like those you buy in a regular French pastry shop – and you can trust me on that : being French, I know what I am talking about!

img_5961
Now if this isn’t a real “chou”, I don’t know what is!

This is perfect : one of my objectives for 2019 was to simplify my recipes whenever possible. Also, as making this typically French treat can still feel a little daunting for some people, I am including a video – and here again, this is all in keeping with new year’s resolutions 😇 !

Ingredients (makes 10 to 12 choux)

img_5933

70g cassava flour (Otto’s Naturals guarantees it to be sulfite free)

– 125 ml milk (non dairy for us, and we also like to stay away from maltodextrin, cellulose gum, and sugar; other than that it doesn’t really matter if if is soy, oat, or almond based)

– 60 ml neutral vegetable oil (grapeseed oil works very well here)

– pinch unrefined sea salt, no additives

– 2 large eggs

How to :

(Pre-heat your oven to 170°C / 340 °F, fan forced)

1. Weigh flour inside a bowl. Line baking tray with lightly oiled parchment paper .

2. In a stainless steel saucepan, pour liquids (oil + milk) and salt. Bring to a boil. Do not expect the liquids to mix, they won’t.

3. Add cassava flour IN ONE GO and stir quickly with a wooden spoon. Cook on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until dough moves away from the edges and forms a ball.

4. Turn off the heat, remove saucepan and beat (using electric beater) to slightly cool the dough. Please note that if you are handling larger quantities, it is best to move the dough to a food processor, which will be sturdier than an electric hand beater for the next step.

5. Beat the eggs inside a measuring cup and pre-heat the oven to 170°C / 340 °F , fan-forced. My experience has been that this is the best kind of heat for the choux to puff up nicely. Otherwise, you will need to set the temperature significantly higher, to 190°C / 375°F. Slowly beat in the beaten eggs (the measuring cup makes it easier). Beat for about two minutes. At first the mixture will resemble scrambled eggs but eventually turn smooth.

img_5968
Using my trusted food processor

6. Shape small choux on the baking tray, using a piping bag or two oiled spoons as I do in the video.

7. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. You may peek, as long as it doesn’t require you opening the oven door. Turn off the oven BUT KEEP THE CHOUX IN THE OVEN, STILL NOT OPENING THE DOOR. After 30 minutes to an hour they can come out without deflating. They are now ready to be either filled, or frozen!

You will only need to place them for a minute in a heated oven (200°C / 395°F) just before filling to bring them back to life.

Similarly, if somehow you leave your freshly baked choux for too long in the oven , they may become soft. Here again, a short stay in a sunny Caribbean island 🏝 one minute in a heated oven is all it takes to fix the problem.

There is one minor issue with cassava flour : it is made from a tuber, not a grain, which means there is a cooking step involved prior to the « milling » (grinding ? I have no idea) process… ensuing notable differences depending on the manufacturer. In the U.S., I have had the opportunity to test Otto’s Naturals cassava flour brand (read more about it here). I had read it was the best, and indeed I was able to make incredibly tasty wraps just adding water and baking soda, a process I have not been able to replicate in France when using flour from Benin, hence my addition of grated apple and cashew butter to bind the wraps dough. In addition, Ottos Naturals has guaranteed the total absence of sulfites, so I can only recommend it to people with gluten and sulfite sensitivity.

You can fill the puffs as you like, with a « crème pâtissière » for instance . Mine is dairy free (recipe here). I still am no expert on piping, and because of my non existent practical sense I had to write down instructions so I would remember how assemble the bag and tip correctly ! However, I make sure I fill the choux generously by squirting the cream into every corner, until they feel heavy and look ready to burst ! I have given up on caramel topping (tired of getting first degree burns 😣) but luckily for me it is easy to make a fondant with a little egg white and icing sugar (= sugar pulverized with the help of a good coffee grinder), or with some margarine / ghee butter, icing sugar and a little non dairy milk added to melted chocolate. I do not take photos every time ; the ones here are from the time I added some raspberry juice for a little color – it just so happened to be Valentine’s Day !

Advertisements

12 Comments

    1. Thank you Sandhya 😊
      I have used all kinds of GF flours to make choux pastry and I must say cassava flour gives the best results, especially if you want to eat the puffs as a dessert.
      This doesn’t mean I am going to use nothing but cassava from now on. Both you and my daughter have reconciled me with gram flour 😊, you with your besan pancakes, and she with her homemade crackers!
      Every cloud has a silver lining: contrary to my initial concern, I find that having to bake gluten-free has widened my culinary horizon and varied the food on my plate… good news for my guts 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dolly, what went wrong with your spelt choux experiment? Were the puffs not puffed enough? Did they rise but then collapsed? Was it the taste? I am curious, and maybe I could help you fix the problem…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good morning Dolly 😊
        This sounds like it could be one of two things. Either you didn’t let your dough dry enough in the saucepan: after the ball has formed, give it another minute over the fire, stirring vigorously, before you add the eggs; or it’s a temperature problem. Try a higher temperature (or fan-forced heat) but keep an eye on the puffs! Then of course we both know that each oven behaves differently. In France I have an electric oven, but I don’t see why gas wouldn’t work.
        I hope you had a nice weekend, Dolly!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for your help, dear Joelle! I’ve never had this problem with regular white flour, but we both know that spelt has to be treated differently. I will try both of your suggestions and report back to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree about cassava flour, and like you I only use it where it makes a significant difference. It does produce a good “chewiness” (if that’s a word!) to specific bakes, and I can imagine it would be perfect for choux. Thanks for sharing your experiments. I am trying to achieve an egg-less choux recipe but combining that with gluten-free flour is quite a challenge, but one day it may happen. Have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kathryn, my husband feels less lonely knowing he is not the only one having to put up with food coming from experimental cooking 😄
      I truly wish you good luck with the eggless AND gluten-free choux recipe… Just a couple of weeks ago, I tried out different ideas in the hope of making vegan and GF crepes – only to fail each time. I couldn’t figure out what to use to bind the dough. Chia didn’t work and flax egg didn’t appeal to me for a sweet recipe. Maybe soft tofu??? Let us know!
      P-S: I bought more oranges for your salad recipe today. It’s back on the menu! 😋

      Like

      1. Well, great minds think alike, I was thinking soft tofu myself😊If It works it will be on my blog. I am very pleased that the orange salad has become part of your repetoire. I am going to see if we still have the red oranges when I shop later in the week. Fingers crossed.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s