I must confess, I'm a baker at heart. When I attended culinary school, I counted down the semesters until I could get into the baking part of my studies. At the time, I wasn't aware of my food intolerance and allergies, so I was fortunate enough to learn the basics and really understand how they work. Fast forward many years later now discovering my multiple food issues (gluten, dairy and soy), learning that my husband has celiac and my kids have gluten intolerances, baking has become a completely different love for me. Going out for a quick bagel, doughnuts, or danish just doesn't happen. I don't want my kids to live without these fun foods though (or us adults either for that matter), so I've had to take what I learned in school and apply it to completely different ingredients. When you learn about the protein in wheat flour being the basis of the structure in a baked good and you then take those glutinous proteins away, you have to turn to different ingredients all together to achieve structure in your baked treats.
I was so excited to see Bob's Red Mill come out with a hazelnut meal. I always take baking as an adventure when it comes to using alternative flours to wheat. The flavors you get from using flours from different grains, nuts, and beans really do give your baked goods a completely new and distinct flavor. I've now used the hazelnut meal in a lot of recipes and I can honestly say it's such an amazing product! I knew right away that it would go well in my pate a choux recipe. Pate a choux day is still one of my most fond memories from culinary school. It's such an incredibly easy recipe and you can use it in so many different ways! This pastry can be baked or fried and can be served sweet or savory. I love recipes with endless possibilities. The hazelnut meal adds a subtle richness to these pastries and is incredibly aromatic. Trust me, when you make these, you will feel like such a pastry chef.
Today, I baked them. While I'm a baker at heart, I'm also a health nut so I like making a healthier spin on the less healthy counterparts. We love doing hor d'oeuvres nights here for dinner. It makes meal time fun for the kids too since, well, you know, finger food is always fun no matter how old you are. These little pastries will wow your family or your guests.
Hazelnut Pate A Choux
Makes about 28
- 1 cup Water
- 6 Tbsp dairy free Butter
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/3 cup or 33 grams Hazelnut Meal
- 1/3 cup or 54 grams White Rice Flour
- 1/3 cup or 48 grams Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 3/4 cup Egg Whites
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the water, dairy free butter, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir to combine. In a separate bowl, mix the flours and baking powder together. When the butter is dissolved, add the flours and baking powder to the water mixture and stir to bring together into a ball on low heat. Turn off the heat and allow the dough ball to sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. You can either add the egg whites a quarter cup at a time to the pot and stir them vigorously into the dough ball until completely combined and the dough forms into a paste-like mixture, or you can transfer the dough ball to your stand mixer with a paddle attachment and mix the egg whites a quarter cup at a time into the dough that way. Either one works.
Using a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons), place scoops of the dough about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Place the pans in the oven and immediately turn the oven to 425°F. Bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pastries to cool in the oven with it vented open slightly for 20 minutes. Remove the pastries, poke a hole in the side, top, or bottom (where ever you plan to fill them from) and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Fill or dip the cooled pastries.
Sarena Shasteen has been an avid health food and fitness enthusiast from an early age. She holds a degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta, a certification in Fitness Nutrition, and is a certified Fitness Trainer from International Sport Science Association (ISSA). Becoming a Personal Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition has been a lifelong goal of hers. Sarena enjoys helping others reach their health goals by teaching them that health and fitness are not only achieved in the gym, but also through fun everyday activities. Now a food writer, recipe developer, personal chef, Personal Trainer, and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, she enjoys sharing with others that healthy living can be fun and delicious. Keep up with her at The Non-Dairy Queen and on Facebook and Twitter.