Choux Buns with Rose Water and Pistachio Cream (Naan-e khame-i)
Recipe from The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan
These light-as-air buns are a quintessential Iranian dessert, a sweet, year-round treat that everybody loves. Making choux pastry is surprisingly quick and easy but you do need to follow the instructions carefully. To prevent the buns from going soggy in the middle, be sure to beat the flour, water and butter well during initial cooking over the hob. And when the saucepan goes back on the heat, it is crucial to keep stirring the mixture, to ensure that your dough rises properly.
The cream filling can make the buns go soggy if added too soon, so it’s best to do this just before serving. You can flavour the filling with orange blossom water or vanilla extract in place of the rose water – they all taste delicious.
For the pastry:
50g unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
75g strong white flour
A pinch fine sea salt
1 tsp caster sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
For the egg wash:
1 medium egg, beaten
For the filling:
175ml double cream
40g icing sugar, for dusting
1 tsp rose water
10g shelled, unsalted pistachios
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and lightly grease with butter.
Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan over a low heat, adding the butter to let it melt. As soon as the water begins to boil, take the saucepan off the heat, tip in the flour, salt and sugar and beat vigorously for a minute. Place the saucepan back on the heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring the mixture continuously with a wooden spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Mix in the 2 beaten eggs, a little at a time, until the dough is smooth, glossy and fairly stiff. This should take around 3-4 minutes.
Spoon tablespoons of dough onto the baking tray until all the dough is used up and you have 12 roughly equal-sized balls. Using a pastry brush, smooth down the tops of the buns with the egg wash, getting rid of any knobbly bits. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 170°C/Gas 3 1/2 for about 10-15 minutes until the buns are puffed up and golden brown on top.
Meanwhile, whisk the cream, sugar and rose water together until medium peaks form, then set aside in the fridge.
Remove one bun from the oven and tear it apart to see if it is cooked all the way through. Then remove all the pastries from the oven, pierce the tops with a fork to let some steam out and leave to cool completely on a rack.
Just before serving, toast the pistachios in a small pan and then grind them to coarse crumbs with a pestle and mortar. Put aside 1 teaspoon of the ground pistachios. Fold the rest into the chilled rose-water cream.
Place the cream in a piping bag and make a small incision with a knife into the side of each bun. Carefully squeeze each bun full of cream till it puffs up. Alternatively, slice the puffs in half and use a teaspoon to fill them with cream. Dust with a little icing sugar and sprinkle over the ground pistachios.
Makes 12 buns