Lockdown has meant a lot of people have more time on their hands, including chef Greig Young, of The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds, who has found himself baking a lot. He shares one of his favourites. . .
So we are another month into lockdown and it’s amazing to see how busy people are keeping.
I like most have been baking a lot more than normal, mostly sourdough and flatbreads (I’ll openly admit I’m not the best at cakes and I think I’d be the size of a house if I was). While I think I’ve hit my limit of crusty sour loaves, I did make some wholemeal sourdough pancakes using Pakenham Mill flour which were incredible and will definitely go on The Northgate’s breakfast menu on our return.
Gardening has been my main focus at home and at The Northgate. At home my daughter and I have planted a lot from seed – tomatoes, cavolo nero, lots of carrots and lots of nasturtium. The problem is I am a poor judge of quantity when planting, I now have 12 cavolo plants and a year’s supply of carrots all almost ready at the same time, so be sure to see a cavolo nero recipe next month!
At The Northgate we have planted lots, from cucumbers to courgettes, salad to sweetcorn, it has been great to keep my mind on cooking and my daughter loves it. We have made a few sunken veg beds and a large patch on the drive in. It’s really starting to take shape and I’m really excited to use the fantastic produce we have grown on the menu. Let’s hope it all grows healthily as I am fairly new to gardening and growing vegetables. . . any tips are always appreciated.
This month I’d like to share a recipe for one of my favourites, choux pastry. I love it for its speed to make and its limitless versatility. At The Northgate we use it in many forms, from the little cheese puff at the start of your meal to the a cheddar beignet we served with the lamb on the last menu. It’s relatively easy to make and freezes well. If you master this you will be able to make eclairs, profiteroles and even a style of gnocchi!
I hope you give making choux pastry a go and I look forward to hearing how you get on. I’ve included a picture with a pistachio topping as it shows the process clearly.
Have fun and good luck!
180g plain flour
27g milk powder
6 whole eggs
Weigh your water, butter, salt and sugar in to a pot. Warm at a simmer to melt the butter. Whisk in the milk powder then sieve in the flour. Cook on a medium heat until the mix thickens to a dough and comes clean away from the sides when mixed – be careful not to cook on too high a temperature as it’s likely to catch.
Place in a KitchenAid or stand mixer with the paddle attachment and start to mix the dough on a low speed for a couple of minutes. Crack your eggs into a jug and give them a little whisk to mix them up, this will make it easier to incorporate them. Slowly drizzle the mixed eggs into the dough while mixing until all the egg is incorporated. Chill the mix in a piping bag with a plain nozzle.
Set the oven to 200 degrees to pre-heat. Pipe rounds the size of a £2 pound coin leaving plenty of space to puff as they will double in size. Top with either of the recipes described below and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and crisp. For the cheese ones, I fill with cheddar sauce or smoked salmon and cream cheese and for the chocolate ones I fill with a dark chocolate mousse you will find the recipe in last month’s article (see buryfreepress.co.uk and search Greig Young).
150g plain flour
Soften the butter to room temperature and grate the parmesan as fine as possible, I use a micro plane, then mix all the ingredients together in a stand mixer if possible. Roll to the thickness of a £1 coin between two pieces of parchment paper and freeze until hard. Cut using a round cutter slightly larger than your choux pastry.
150g soft butter
180g dark brown sugar
150g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
Mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer if possible and follow the same technique as the cheese topping.
Greig Young is head chef at The Northgate, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 339604