Monday, July 12, 2010

Pâte à choux (batter for cream puffs and eclairs and profiteroles...)

Cream puffs and eclairs and profiteroles of any flavor or size are a weakness of mine.  There is something about the light, airy pastry filled with marvelous flavors and topped with even more flavor that just makes me throw all reason out the window.  They are all basically the same thing, a pastry made from choux paste and piped or dropped and even sometimes fried to create a lovely light pastry.  I used to think that these little gems were hard to make, but my dear readers I was wrong, so very very wrong!
All of these creations begin by making a pâte à choux.  Yes, it sounds all fancy dancy and like something that doesn't belong in a home kitchen, but really it's not.  It only sounds fancy because it's French, and unless you speak French, which I most definitely don't, it will have that fru fru sound to it.  Pronounce it paht-ah-shoo, or call it by what most Americans call it,  cream puff shells, or make up your own name, really it doesn't matter as long as you try these perfect little bites of delectable goodness.  They are truly simple, easy food to make especially since you can fill them with anything.  Soon...very very soon I will show you what goes inside of them.

**Cook's Note-This is very similar to the recipe I used for the base of the Strawberry Cream Puff Cake
Pâte à choux

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 eggs


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In sauce pan, combine the butter and water.

Meanwhile on a piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. This is also a good time to crack your eggs, get your mixer ready and fit a pastry bag with a coupler but no tip, or cut the corner off a plastic bag.
 Bring the water and butter to a rolling boil, remove from heat and dump the flour mixture in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate.
Return the pan to the burner and cook, stirring, for about one minute. The mixture will form a ball and coat the pan with a thin film.
Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl or standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough for a minute or so, on low speed, to release some of the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat until the dough gets thick and ribbony.
Fill your pastry bag or plastic bag with the warm dough. Line a heavy cookie sheet with parchment paper and anchor it to the tray with a little dab of the dough at each corner.  Or you can  use stoneware like I do.  Pipe about forty to forty five 1 1/2-inch mounds about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.


Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and puffed. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and there are no droplets of moisture in the crevices. Turn off oven, prop the door with the end of a wooden spoon and leave the choux to dry for another 10 minutes. Use when cool, or freeze, wrapped in a plastic bag, for 2-3 months.
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1 comment:

  1. The photo's are fantastic. I need babysteps and pictures such as this!