Saturday, May 05, 2012

Black sesame orange choux puffs

I've been on a black sesame desserts spiel lately. This is just going to be the first of a couple of black sesame desserts to come. I've always loved Japanese flavours such as matcha and black sesame (kuro goma 黒ごま) and somehow I've not yet baked as much black sesame goodies as matcha ones as I felt that the key to good black sesame flavour always start with black sesame paste (instead of just plain black sesame seeds, or powder). And I rarely have black sesame paste in my pantry, compared to say, black sesame seeds. So armed with a bottle of black sesame paste, i set about to rectify that!

 Black sesame orange choux puffs (黒ゴマオレンジ シュークリーム)

I saw a recipe for cream puffs in one of my cookbooks (the one that I used for my apple milk tea entremet > here) and thought that it was quite an interesting combination - orange and black sesame. So, I set out to replicate the recipe (which I always do the first time I make something new), but I quickly realised that there were quite a few kinks.

The original recipe for the sesame topping required you to open the oven halfway through baking and spreading the sesame cookie mixture onto the halfbaked puffs. Nope. That didn't fly with the puffs and I ended up with super flat and spread out things (I wouldn't even call them anything) on my tray. Pfft. Into the trash the first few puffs went.

Thinking quickly, I whipped up a batch of my previous recipe's cookie topping with some amendments, and used it for the remaining puffs, and they baked up just fine. Phew. One disaster averted.

The original black sesame custard called to crush black sesame seeds and milk together to form a paste, with the addition of some icing sugar and almond paste (which I did not have on hand). Well, I tried my best to follow the recipe steps as best as I could, but the resulting black sesame custard was super liquidy (probably also cos I used 35% whipping cream when the recipe called for 45% cream). While still tasty, I wasn't happy with how the filling oozed out, and I couldn't photograph anything cos it was just a mess!

Thank gosh I had frozen some puffs instead of baking them all. So fast forward two months later when I am trying to clear out the freezer and I spy my black sesame puffs. It was high time I use them (I don't like to store things for too long) so I decided to try my hand at creating my own black sesame custard and orange liquor custard based on the original base custard recipe. Of course, I bought the correct cream (45%) this time round, so the resulting custards were extremely thick, smooth and velvety.

I love my rendition of the black sesame custard - it taste so much more black sesame-ish (due to the addition of the black sesame paste). But I thought that it was just a little too thick and creamy for my liking. I prefer a lighter airy cream custard as a filling. I suspect the original recipe was lightened with the crushed sesame + milk mixture, thus it would have resulted in a lighter filling (the book images depicts pale airy black sesame custard cream compared to my dense dark black sesame custard cream). I'd probably tweak it further if I should make it again in future. But those who like a strong black sesame taste should probably enjoy it just fine as it is.

Black sesame orange choux puffs 黒ゴマオレンジ シュークリーム (adapted from 名師親自指導 超人氣甜點)

Black sesame choux
50g water
50g milk
pinch of salt
3g sugar
45g butter
55g flour
106g whole eggs (I used about 2 medium/large eggs)

Preheat oven to 200°C.
Combine water, milk, salt, sugar and butter in a saucepan.
Heat over stove on low heat, stirring to ensure butter has melted, and sugar is fully dissolved.
Increase heat to medium, heat till just boiling, lower heat to low heat again, add the flour and using a heatproof spatula, quickly stir the mixture to form a dough. Stir constantly, letting some of the moisture evaporate from the dough. When a thin layer of skin forms on the base of the pan, remove the dough mixture from the saucepan, place in a clean mixing bowl.
Add the eggs one at at time. Using the spatula, stir the mixture quickly to mix in the first egg. When the mixture is smooth, add in remaining egg bit by bit (you might not need all of it) and repeat quick stirring motions.
When the eggs are fully mixed in and mixture appears smooth, lift some of the dough up using the spatula. If the dough droops in a triangular shaped peak, it means that the consistency of the dough is just right (no need to add in all of the egg).
Transfer the dough to a piping bag. Line a tray with baking paper. Snip off the end of the piping bag and start piping swirls of the dough onto the tray. Top with black sesame biscuit topping as below.
(*Note: At this stage, you can freeze the puffs. Just place the baking tray with the piped choux into the freezer. When the choux puffs are frozen hard, remove from baking paper, place in a ziplock bag, seal properly, and store in freezer. I did so for some of the puffs and it puffed up just fine when I used it two months later - just bake for an additional 5-10 minutes though.)
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Black sesame biscuit topping 
(adapted from here - adding 10g sesame seeds to the mixture)

Base custard
250ml milk
60g sugar
4 egg yolks
zest from one orange (optional)
12g custard powder (I didn't have any, so I used corn flour)
12g flour
8g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan, heat till just boiling.
In the meantime, beat the yolks and sugar till thick and pale yellow. Add in the flours and stir to combine.
Slowly add the heated milk to the yolks mixture. Whisk in a few tablespoons of the milk mixture into the yolks bit by bit, before adding the rest of the milk, whisking constantly.
Transfer mixture back to stove, cook over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent mixture from burning.
When the mixture has thickened (can coat the back of a spoon), remove from heat, stir in butter. Leave to cool completely. Refrigerate till ready to use.

Black sesame custard
15g black sesame paste
200g base custard
15g icing sugar
120g 45% cream

Whip the cream till soft peaks, add the black sesame paste, icing sugar and base custard. Fold to combine. Refrigerate till it firmer (a few hours), transfer to piping bag.

Orange liquer custard
remaining base custard
100g 45% cream
10ml Grand Marnier

Whip the cream till soft peaks, add to the remaining base custard, add the liquer, gently fold to combine. Refrigerate till firmer (a few hours), transfer to piping bag.

Place both custards into piping bags.
Use the back of a spoon (or a chopstick), poke a hole at the side of the choux puff, fill with some orange liquer custard, then fill the remaining space with the black sesame custard.
Repeat with rest of the puffs.
Serve immediately.
Alternatively, if not serving immediately, refrigerate (recommended: only for a few hours though).


  1. I'm a huge fan of choux...mostly with chocolate and creme patissiere...but I think I have to try one with black sesame. Your photography is gorgeous!

  2. I've been on a green tea kick lately too. I have NO idea what these choux puffs would taste like, but I love black sesame and orange, so I bet I'd love them! 

  3. thank u! i hope u try, and like it! :)

  4. the japanese matcha and goma flavours are uber tasty arnt they? 

  5. looks divine! cann't wait to try it since my last attempt at choux pastry was 2 years back (: the texture is amazing


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