Thursday, 11 September 2014

X-Wing Fighter Choux Pastry with Applesauce and Pastry Cream

After my first attempt at Choux pastry with my choo-choo train Choux pastry, I have been daydreaming on and off about another fancy pastry ;). Star Wars fans, you should be able to recognise this!

I made this X-wing fighter complete with laser cannons and fusial thrust engines for hubby who is a fan of Star Wars and not a fan of cakes in general. I filled this pastry with pastry cream and applesauce. No, it's not his birthday. Surprises for ordinary hectic days are nice too :)

I used the recipe for applesauce from my previous apple chiffon bake but found a way to do a short cut. Instead of cubing and blending the apples, I grated them directly over a small saucepan to get apple puree :). Much less washing up to do and it's faster!

You may choose to use apple chunks instead of puree but I had another bake in mind that needs puree so I made applesauce instead.

Recipe for applesauce
2 green apples (Granny Smith)
35-45g of sugar or according to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
A pinch of Allspice
A pinch of salt
A squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

1. Peel and grate the apples over a small saucepan.
2. Add all other ingredients into the saucepan,  stir over low heat and brimg to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding a bit of water if necessary and stirring now and then.
3. Cool completely and store in air tight container/ jar if not using immediately.  Can be refrigerated or frozen.

Check out my choo-choo train choux pastry post for pastry cream recipe that tastes really good. I was trying out another pastry cream recipe but it was too sweet for my liking.

For a complex structure like the X-Wing, you will need to prepare a template for various parts.

Pardon the browned paper. I took this photo after baking the pastry.

Recipe for Choux pastry X-Wing fighter
Ingredients (makes two 15cm long X-wings):
50g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
150ml water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
20g bread flour*(you may replace with plain flour. Adding bread flour results in a crispier pastry)
40g plain flour
2 eggs (60g each), beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Lay out the templates in trays, such that parts that require similar baking time are on the same tray. I separated my parts into 3 trays. One for the windscreen and laser cannons, one for the body (fuselage) and one for the rest of the parts. Line a baking sheet over the templates.
3. Prepare 3 piping bags fitted with round tips of about 3mm, 5mm and 10mm in diameter.
4. Sift the flours together.
5. Combine the first 4 ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to boil while stirring.
6. Once the mixture boils, remove from heat, pour in the flour all at one go and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until a dough is formed.

7. Gradually add in beaten eggs and mix well. You should get a smooth and shiny mixture.

8. Transfer the batter into the piping bags. Begin by piping the parts that are the thinnest and therefore require the shortest baking time. Use the smallest tip to pipe the laser cannons (4 on each X-wing) and a rectangle/ trapezium for windscreen. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Be careful as the thin parts burn easily.
9. Next, pipe the engines and wings. The wings are piped with the 3mm tip. The engines are made from 3 components: 14mm circles and 2 "logs" piped using the 5mm and 10mm tips. I piped 3 rounds of circles stacked on top of each other for each engine part. Each X-Wing has 4 engines.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, paying close attention to the level of browning. Pierce the sides of the puffy parts with a skewer once out of oven to release the steam.

10. Pipe the body using the 10mm tip, taking care to make it tapered. Bake for 10 minutes then increase the temperature to 220 degrees Celsius and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Pierce the sides of the pastry and return to oven to bake for a couple of minutes.

11. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely before assembly or storage in air tight container.

12. Assemble the engines. Slice the top part of the circles with a sharp serrated knife. Cut off one end of the puffs made from 10mm piping and cut a smaller hole at the other end. Insert the puff made from 5mm piping into the small hole and attach the circle to the open end.  Glue the circle on with some melted marshmellow or white chocolate.

13. Cut some slits at the side of the body and insert the wings. Cut a rectangle flap at the top and fill the puff with pastry cream and applesuace (or filling of your choice). Fill the pastry just before serving to prevent it from getting soggy. Attach the windscreen, engines and laser cannons. If you are lazy like me, you could use toothpicks to secure the pieces or use melted marshmellow or white chocolate as glue.

If you are storing the pastries, toast them again before filling. My kids loved the light and crispy pastry :). My hubby only got to eat it the next day for breakfast but it was still good, light and crispy after toasting. Be warned that oven toasted marshmellows burn in the toaster oven. My hubby's version looked more like the X-Wing crash landed onto his plate complete with broken engines and charred parts lol! But glad that this brought him some cheer on a particularly stressful time at work.

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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