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wannabechef

Please help me with the technique for this (unique) choux-based waffle

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Hi - I was wondering if some people can help me out with the technique for this recipe. This recipe is from the founder of an amazing bakery in Brooklyn called Cousin John's. When I lived in Brooklyn, the waffles here used to be one of my favorite indulgences. They had a unique texture and for years I was trying to figure out the secret to making them. I always thought the secret was in separating and whipping the egg whites. However, a few weeks ago, through the magic of a Google search, I found that the person who came up with the actual recipe posted it onlien.

The thing that makes this recipe unique is that it is basically an eclair batter, cooked in a waffle iron. I have never made a choux before but heard it was pretty easy. So, last week I tried making this and had mixed results. The waffle was very similar to the original, but was lacking the crispiness I was looking for.

The part I wasn't sure about was when he says to take the flour/butter/milk mixture and put it in a stand mixer to release the steam, etc. When I did this, I noticed the dough starting to separate. There were small bits forming in the dough and I wasn' sure if it was normal or not. The dough actually started to get somewhat runny before I even put the eggs in. Does this mean I did something wrong?

I also wasn't sure how to measure out 7/8 of a cup of flour. I found a converter online and converted it to weight, 111.13 grams. Is this right? Is it possible I mixed it too long? Should I let the batter rest for a while before baking it? Any expert opinions are welcome! I can't wait to try making this again.

Here is the recipe: http://www.finecooki...an-waffles.aspx

Thanks,

~WBC

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For crispiness I'd try adding some cornstarch. This has worked for me in a different formulation. Maybe 15 grams as a wild guess.

There does seem to be more dairy (liquid) in that recipe than a typical choux paste. Perhaps the intent is to be more ladle friendly as opposed to being pipable from a pastry bag.

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I have more luck with choux paste when it cooks longer on the stove after the ball forms - 4 to 5 minutes minimum. This "dries" out the dough so you can add eggs; sometimes the amount of eggs is variable. I use my friend Annie's method of adding first the yolk, testing the batter and then if it needs more egg, adding the white and so on. My favorite choux recipe is from Pichet Ong and it's the only one I use now. I'm sure you could use that recipe and just adapt it by adding a little more dairy at the end so it flows better and is spreadable on the waffle iron....

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Thanks for the tips. I was also reading some of the other more comprehensive threads about making choux. Seems there are quite a lot of variations in technique. Is it a common problem to have the dough start to separate once you start mixing?

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In the techniques I've tried, you're going through some different phases. First you have the liquid and fat which is heated, and then flour is dumped in, and you cook that while to try to bring it all together into a ball. Then when that's done and it's cooked well enough, you let it cool a bit and start adding the eggs. Each egg will cause the ball to crumble and separate a bit until it's incorporated and you have a ball again (which, in the end will be a bit looser due to all the eggs).

In this case, I guess, you add some more milk/cream to loosen it further for the waffle iron.

I think I would approach it this way, as it would be more familiar to me. I would not use a mixer, but a spatula (although I think traditionalists insist on a wooden spoon). It would be easier to see what is happening.

Incidentally, if you take the choux paste, form it into a ring and deep fry it, you get a Cronut!...,umm, no, wait - that's not right. It's another CR word I think,...Oh, a cruller! A French Cruller.

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Thanks for the tips. I was also reading some of the other more comprehensive threads about making choux. Seems there are quite a lot of variations in technique. Is it a common problem to have the dough start to separate once you start mixing?

It always separates when you add the egg at first. It looks like bits of brain floating in egg. If you keep beating, it magically re-forms.

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Got it. The strange thing is, I was seeing it separate before adding the eggs. There's a step where it says to take the ball from the heating phase, and transfer it to a stand mixer, then mix it on low for a bit to cool it down. On that phase, the ball start separating before I even started adding the eggs. Is that normal to happen? Maybe I didn't cook the flour enough?

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Right, I say "Stop with the mixer already." Cooling it down shouldn't need a mixer (I wonder if this might be scaled down from a huge pastry shop batch). At the volume you're working with in this recipe, you should just need to set the ball aside for 5-10 minutes. Yes, there may be some elbow grease required, but not that much.

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