They're soft, they're crunchy, they're creamy, and choux buns are finally getting their moment in the sun. In a new regular feature we're showcasing the foods suddenly popping up around the city, telling you what they are, and most importantly, where to eat them.
So what are they?
You know choux. You love choux. Profiteroles, eclairs, gougères, churros, beignets, they're all made from choux pastry. Choux is French for cabbage (not the best dessert reference but because of how the pastry can blow up like a cabbage when cooked - if you say so), and it's basically a twice cooked dough-batter, i.e. somewhere between the two. It's made by cooking flour with water and/or milk and butter, and then adding eggs into the cooled mixture, before frying, baking or poaching.
Hilary Quinn from the all-star No Messin' bakery in Smithfield thinks Choux has long been overlooked as "a bland ball of dough that most of us remember as fridge-cold profiteroles." Her Mum, a Home Ec teacher, made "the lightest, crispest choux pastry imaginable. She never skimped on the cream for the filling, or the melted chocolate for the top. Her éclairs made an appearance at most birthdays and family gatherings, and were usually the first dessert on the table to be devoured. The word éclair actually means "flash of lightning" in French, because the pastry is enjoyed and gone in a flash."
No Messin's 'hun bun' is Hilary's ultimate choux, with a thick layer of craquelin on top of the pastry (a disc of biscuit dough that's placed on top before cooking which helps it to keep its shape and gives the exterior a lovely crunch), and fillings like house roasted hazelnut praline, and lemon curd and mascarpone. Hungry yet?
Where Can I Eat Them?
No Messin', Smithfield
Obviously. We're coming into berry season so expect their choux to take a seasonal spin - we hear there may be some raspberry ripple on the cards.
Blasta Bakery, Smithfield
Blasta Bakery is a new husband and wife affair from Paul O'Brien and Melina Rangel, who are in their own words, "obsessed with choux". At the moment they're making choux buns and mini éclairs, but they have big plans to show Dublin what choux can do. Flavours include chocolate with salted caramel, and berry with white chocolate ganache, and a box of two éclairs and two choux costs €10. Orders are available for collection from Oxmantown in Smithfield (where Paul works during the week) on Saturdays, or they can deliver to Dublin 6, 7 and 8 for €2. Check them out and order on Instagram here.
Aventura Coffee in Portmarnock have started selling choux buns from Brazilian chef Higor Martins, and they are special. We've tried dulce de leche with dulce de leche cream and chocolate on top, and lemon with the creamiest, zingiest filling and lime zest, and they're both the perfect accompaniment to a good coffee and a walk. For now Aventura are his only choux stockist, but you can order for home consumption through their partner business here.
Bread Naturally, Raheny
Bread Naturally in Raheny are known for their real bread mantra, selling sourdough and yeasted bread, but you'll also find cruffins, croissants and choux buns if you pay them a visit. Recently we've spotted lemon meringue with a lemon curd mini choux and a crunchy topping, and a Paris Brest version filled with praliné creme mousseline. Want and want.
Bread 41, Pearse Street
If it's a cake or a pastry Bread 41 probably make it, and they've just added a new choux bun to the line up. They've yet to be named, but some of the suggestions from their followers include "choux me the money" and "I choux choux chouxs you!" All bets are off on this one.
Our eagle eyes spotted this raspberry and white chocolate choux bun on Bresson's feed last month as part of their at-home menu, and since then the choux sitch has spiraled, a development we're all thrilled about.
I'm feeling brave. What if I want to make them myself?
You're in luck. Chapter One's pastry chef Darren Hogarty posted a choux bun tutorial on his Instagram yesterday. Head on over there if you want to let him guide you through making choux buns with a chocolate cookie craquellin, honey cream and a chocolate truffle surprise. He promises they're easy than they look.