These inventive choux pastry caterpillars are as fun to make as they are to eat! The kids will love the way they look on the plate, and there are plenty of opportunities for them to get involved in the preparation.
Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Line 2 baking trays with nonstick baking paper.
In a large saucepan bring the milk, 60ml water, butter, sugar, salt and paprika to the boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, add all the flour and stir the mixture continuously with a wooden spoon – a dough should form very quickly.
Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes to dry the dough out – it should end up very soft and smooth.
Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl. Add the eggs one after the other, beating after each egg has been added – the kids will love to get involved at this stage.
The dough will separate but by the time you have beaten in the third egg it should return to being thick and glossy.
Pour the choux pastry into a large piping bag fitted with a 2cm nozzle. Pipe balls of the dough onto the baking trays to around the size of a 10p coin, leaving a 2-inch gap between each.
Bake in the oven for 7 minutes or until the balls are lightly golden. Turn the oven off and leave them baking in the oven for a further 8 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
Turn the oven back on and heat to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Asking the children to come and help, lay the mushrooms upside down on a baking tray.
Drizzle the mushrooms with olive oil before sprinkling with the thyme, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes before removing and allowing to cool.
Take the stones out of the avocados and ask the children to scoop the flesh into a food processor. They’ll enjoy adding the lemon juice, yogurt, salt and pepper.
Blend until smooth, then place into a piping bag and store in the fridge.
To assemble the choux caterpillars, use a small-serrated knife to cut the top off the cooked dough balls. Pipe the avocado purée into each ball and set aside.
On each plate, lay out 5 mushrooms in a row and top with the avocado filled balls. Place half a cherry tomato on each ball.
Use the yellow pepper strips to make antennas and the coriander sprigs for the eyes. Make 6 caterpillars in total and then serve.
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