I did not intend to make these for the blog. My mom and I have been binging Great British Bake-Off, which is my favorite cooking competition show. It’s so calm and relaxed and dare I say sweet, compared with American competition shows. Plus, the things that they make are beautiful and over-the-top.
So, anyway. I was inspired by GBBO to make these. As I’ve said before, I really like smoked salmon, and especially lox and bagel. When I was in New York in October, I had a bagel with lox every single day. It was a good time. I thought, why not make something that combined salmon and choux pastry. Choux pastry is light, airy, and crispy. If you don’t add sugar, it can be a blank slate for whatever you decide to put in it.
So, I made these. With salmon, obviously, and cream cheese. But something was missing. I added a few drops of liquid smoke, just enough to emphasize the salmon. Be careful with that stuff! But, it needed something else. Enter mozzarella cheese. It’s bland enough to not overpower the other flavors but adds a certain depth and richness.
But, I still didn’t intend to put them up here. Before I started a food blog, I would read through other ones. Sometimes, bloggers would put up insane, complicated, time-consuming recipes. They were fun to read, but I never saw myself making them myself. This is likely one of those recipes, where the bloggers extols the virtues of the recipe, and the reader spends a minute looking at the picture and closes the internet. But, that’s ok, right? I enjoy them and let’s be honest. I definitely feel like Julie from Julie and Julia, where she wonders if she’s just talking into the void with her blog. I don’t think that my recipes have ever been made by anyone else, so why not post this one?
If you’ve never made choux pastry, it’s really not that hard to do. Heat water until just boiling, melt butter, add flour and cook. The cooking is a very important step and the only place that I have ever really messed it up. You have to add the flour to the melted butter and water and cook it for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. It should form a little film on the bottom of the pot. Then, you take it off heat, beat the steam out, add eggs, and bake.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon dill
- 3 ounces smoked salmon
- Make the pastry. Preheat the oven to 400 degreees. Heat the water over medium heat, until it just starts to boil. Add the butter, and melt. Once it has melted, add the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not skip this step. Then, remove from heat. Using a mixer or a spoon, beat the steam out by stirring the pastry until steam stops rising from it. This is another important step, because you’ll cook your eggs if you skip it. Once the pastry has cooled, beat in the eggs one at a time. It will seam like it won’t come together, but keep mixing. Once, it has become smooth, scrape into a pastry bag. If you don’t have one, I have had some success with a sandwich or produce bag.
- Bake the pastry. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pipe the dough onto the sheets in bite-sized balls. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden on the top.
- Make the filling. While the pastry is baking, make the filling. Combine the cream cheese and the mozzarella, and whip it together. You want the cheese to break down small enough that there are no more visible chunks. Add the dill and mix. Chop the salmon into small, but not tiny, pieces, so that you can still see them. Mix with the cheese mixture.
- Combine. Once the puffs are done, remove and let cool. Either pipe the cheese mixture into the puffs or just use a spoon. Serve, and enjoy!