- Cooking Time: 30 mins
- Course: Dessert
- Cuisine: French
- Makes 20 balls
- 150g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 225ml water
- 110g butter
- 4 large eggs
- 300mls cream whipped with a dessert spoon of icing sugar and a drop of vanilla essence
- To decorate: royal icing and roll-out icing
Choux pastry has a reputation for being difficult to master, but in fact it’s no bother once you know the technique. A pre-heated, hot oven is essential to raise and set the choux, and if you take it out of the oven before it’s cooked thoroughly (firm to the touch) it will collapse.
The filling should not be added until the last possible moment because it will make the choux pastry sag.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees/gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
To make the choux buns, put the butter, salt and 225ml of water into a large saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted, then bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and tip in the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon to form a smooth ball of dough that should leave the sides of the pan.
Allow the dough to cool for five minutes or so.
Now vigorously beat the eggs into the dough, a little at a time. This takes some elbow grease. As you add the eggs, the dough will become stiff and glossy. Stop adding the eggs if the dough starts to become loose – but you should use up all or most of them.
Pipe the mixture onto a greased baking tray and bake at 200 degrees/gas 6 until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and make a small hole in the underside of each bun to release any steam that has helped it to rise. If left to go cold, unpunctured, the steam turns back to water, resulting in soft or soggy buns.
To assemble, I glued the head to the body with some royal icing. I used the royal icing for their features and used roll-out icing to make little scarves and hats. It took me an hour to decorate them but it was utterly worth it when I saw the expression on the faces of those little people I had made them for.
I decorated my snowmen the day before I needed them and just before serving I filled them with whipped cream using a small nozzle on my piping bag.