Indulgence Coffee is a book about nostalgia. Published in April, it’s part of a series by Murdoch Books which aims to celebrate vintage style and “a bygone era when dressing up, serving tea in fine china and writing personal thank you notes afterwards were regarded as simply good manners.”
In that, it succeeds, full of beautifully styled photographs featuring lots of vintage crockery and props. The textured matte cover in place of the ubiquitous shiny dust jacket also contributes to the deliberately dated feel.
The recipes themselves include classics such as coffee mousse, Viennese coffee and a range of traditional cakes as well as ideas for more modern tastes such as self-saucing puddings, panna cotta with coffee jelly, espresso martini and espresso lassi.
Having been to two parties recently where chocolate profiteroles were on the menu, I was keen to try the recipe for Café Choux Puffs, having never made choux pastry before.
Indulgence Coffee Café Choux Puffs
100 grams (3.5 oz) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons caster sugar
125 grams (4.5 oz) plain flour
1 egg beaten with a little water, for glazing
icing sugar, sifted, for dusting
Coffee Custard Filling:
4 egg yolks
55 grams (2 oz) caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
250 ml (9 fl oz) milk
200 ml (7 fl oz) double cream
1 tablespoon freshly made strong espresso coffee
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
The recipe advises that the amounts above will make about 32. We halved the amounts, but made our buns smaller which resulted in 27 buns, with enough filling for 24 of them.
We used slightly salted butter.
We didn’t bother glazing the choux pastry.
We made some very strong instant coffee instead of espresso (3 heaped teaspoons in a quarter of a mug of boiling water).
- To make the coffee custard, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and thick, then stir in the flour.
- Bring the milk, cream and coffee to scalding point in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Remove from the heat and gradually whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the clean saucepan, place over low heat and whisk until the custard just comes to the boil and thickens.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl to cool, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C (200 C for a fan oven). Line two baking trays with baking paper (we used silicon baking sheets).
- Place the butter, caster sugar and 250 ml water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Remove from the heat, add the flour, and stir until smooth.
- Return to the heat and stir for 1-2 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball around the spoon.
- Remove from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Transfer the choux mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm plain nozzle. (We used a freezer bag and cut a hole in one corner).
- Pipe 5 cm rounds onto the prepared trays and brush with egg glaze (we skipped the glaze).
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180 C (160 for a fan oven) and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until crisp. (As our buns were smaller, they were ready in just under 20 minutes in total).
- Transfer to a wire rack, then slice the choux puffs in half to cool.
- Fill the choux puffs with the coffee custard.
- Dust with the icing sugar and serve.
The coffee choux buns were absolutely wonderful!
I’d worried that using extra strong instant coffee instead of espresso wouldn’t be ideal but the custard filling was really delicious; the coffee flavour came through clearly. In retrospect, we don’t think the icing bag approach was necessary, next time we’ll simply spoon and gently flatten the loose choux pastry dough directly onto the baking tray. We were surprised at how simple the choux pastry recipe was, something we definitely want to make again. I’d like to add a little more sweetness to the choux pastry – will need to experiment a little to find a good balance without breaking the choux recipe.
As someone who loves coffee as a flavouring far more than as a drink, a selection of sweet recipes based on coffee is ideal. I also love the pretty, old-school feel of the book. I think it would make a rather lovely gift for someone will similar coffee sensibilities and a love for pretty things and cookery books.
Many to Murdoch Books for the review copy.