There is a belief in the pastry world that if you crack choux pastry, you’ve conquered something Herculean. It’s what most pastry chef apprentices are oriented into at the beginning, probably because nothing really seems quite difficult after perfecting choux pastry.
It is a technical pastry to make, I agree, but nothing a home baker can’t do, really. We’ve made macarons and puff pastry, how hard can choux be? With my tips and tricks, not very. But read the little nuances twice or thrice if that’s what it takes and don’t take anything for granted, choux pastry isn’t very forgiving after all 🙂
Pâte à choux or choux pastry is what your éclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs and other delicate French pastries are made of. So think of all the things you can make if you know how to make choux pastry. And the beauty about this pastry is that you can either pipe the pastry on a baking sheet and freeze it to bake it later or freeze the baked choux pastry shells for over a month. It is a make-ahead pastry and that’s good news for sure.
Equipment you’ll need to make choux pastry
- Measuring cups or weighing scale
- 1 sifter
- 2 baking sheets (or 1)
- A saucepan
- Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
- Wire whisk
- Electric beater with whisk attachment
- 1 disposable pastry bag fitted with ½ inch plain tip
- 1 pastry brush
- 140 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
- 120 ml (½ cup) whole milk
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) water
- 110 g (7.5 tbsp) unsalted butter
- ½ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 220 g (5 nos) eggs
- Preheat the oven to 200 C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
- To a saucepan, add butter, milk, water, sugar and sea salt. Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium heat. The butter should be incorporated to the mixture. Mildly stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon during the process.
- Once boiled, remove off heat and add the sifted flour immediately. Get your wire whisk and begin whisking vigorously for 30 seconds. In about 30 seconds, you will find that your dough comes together homogenously.
- Place the saucepan back on medium heat and cook the dough stirring with a spatula for about a minute. Once the dough starts sticking to the bottom, switch off the heat.
- Transfer the dough into another bowl. Using an electric beater, beat the dough on medium speed until it cools down and all the smoke goes out.
- Now, add the eggs, one at a time and continue beating on slow until each egg has been incorporated. After adding three eggs, stop the beater, mix the dough well with a rubber spatula, scrapping the bottom. Continue with the remaining eggs.
- After adding all the eggs stop the beater to check the consistency. The consistency is perfect when you pull out the whisk attachment and the dough sticking to it hangs down in a V shape. If not, the dough needs more liquid, either a teaspoon of milk or egg. But do not over do the liquid as you might end up with a liquid choux pastry.
- Your choux pastry is ready to be piped into cream puffs or éclairs, profiteroles whatever you wish to make.
- The piped choux pastry should be baked in a very hot oven (200 C). Bake in the same temperature till the pastry puffs up. Then bring down the temperature to 160 C and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes.
Recipe source: The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer