This is my Grandmothers choux pasty recipe and usually I make them into chocolate éclairs, but because the pasty has no sugar in it, it also makes such a good base for a savoury bite. I have filled them with a horseradish crème fraiche, and nothing goes better with horseradish than beef. Eye fillet is expensive, but used like this, a little goes a long way.
Time: Takes a bit of effort
Huia Brut 2009 // Huia Chardonnay 2014 // Huia Pinot Noir 2013 // Hunky Dory Pinot Noir 2014
For the choux
1 cup water
For the beef
400g eye fillet beef
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tub (125g) crème fraiche
1 1/2 tablespoons horseradish crème
1 small red onion
Rocket micro greens (or any other green garnish, herbs or other micros)
For the choux pastry
Preheat oven to 200°C Fan bake / line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
Dice butter into cubes, so that it melts all at the same time, and add to a medium sized pot with the water. Bring to the boil so that the butter melts and its bubbling. Turn down to medium heat, add the flour and stir quickly with a wooden spoon for about 40-60 seconds until the flour forms a dough and comes away from the sides.
Put the mix into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes to cool mix slightly. Add the eggs one at a time beating until well incorporated with each addition. The choux pastry mix should eventually drop from a spoon in a clump rather than easily falling off. That’s the consistency you are looking for.
Use a little of the mix to stick the baking paper down to the tray in each corner. This will help keep the paper in place and not lifting when piping. Spoon choux pasty mix into a piping bag or snaplock bag, using about a 1.5cm opening (or a #15 nozzle) and pipe the dough into little circles, remember you want them to be bite size, and they also double in size in the oven. With a damp finger, press down any tips formed on the tops of each circle otherwise they can burn.
Bake at 200°C Fan bake for 6 minutes and then reduce oven to 180°C Fan bake and bake for 11-15 minutes or until puffed and browned. The choux pastry, when cut open, needs to be dry and hollow, if they are sticky on the inside they are not quite cooked. When done, remove from oven and using a tea towel to hold, take a serrated bread knife and slice each one open to allow steam to escape. This will help keep them crisp. Set aside.
For the beef
You want your beef to be at room temperature when you cook it so the shock of going from cold to hot doesn’t make the meat tense up. Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan on the hottest heat and get it smoking. Rub the beef with olive oil and season with salt. NOTE: open all windows, its going to get smoky! Quickly sear the beef on each side for 15 seconds and then remove beef. Add about 2 tablespoons canola oil first and then 50g of butter. Once melted return to the heat, on medium/high cooking the beef for around 2 minutes on each side. When seared on each side, remove, season with pepper, cover with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Cut the red onion in half and slice thinly into half circle shapes. Put in a bowl of cold water to soak and set aside. This will mellow the raw onion taste.
Slice the rested beef as thinly as you can using the sharpest knife you have. I cut each slice in half lengthwise to make it go further.
Mix the crème fraiche in a bowl with the horseradish crème, season with pepper. Taste and adjust with more horseradish if needed.
Take a choux pastry and half. Fill with a heaped teaspoon of horseradish crème fraiche, then 1/2 slice of beef, a little of the onion (make sure they are drained off, I put mine on a few paper towels to absorb excess water) followed by the micro greens. Serve immediately before the choux goes too soft.
If you want a quicker version, skip the choux pasty part and take a sour dough baguette, slice it into thin crostini. Drizzle with oil and bake in a 180°C oven till golden and completely crisp.