Monday, December 12, 2011

Pâte à Choux: A Lesson in Cream Puffs

Pictures by Becky Rosenthal
Pâte à Choux sounds fancy and French (Well, it is French), which I have to admit is part of it's appeal to me. It can seem daunting to make if you've never done it before. So when my friend Becky asked if she could join me when I made them, I was thrilled to share. 

Pâte à Choux is a light pastry dough used for making eclairs, profiteroles (or cream puffs, but profiteroles is fancier), and beignets. I'll share the recipe and important techniques and then you can hop over to Becky's blog to learn how to make different variations of a fantastic pastry cream to fill them!

Pâte à Choux (Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
Makes 20-24 puffs


1 cup water
6 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
4 eggs


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, a silicone baking mat (works best) or grease WELL, so that your puffs don't stick.

Bring water, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan until all of the butter is melted.

Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once. Beat vigorously until completely combined. Return to heat and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan.

Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking (it helps to have a friend help you during this step!). Stir until completely combined.

Spoon warm batter into a pastry bag fitted with a medium to large round tip. Pipe circles (1 1/2 to 2 in) on the lined baking sheet, like below. (Note: they will spread very little so they can be placed fairly close together)

Bake about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when the bottom of the puff is tapped (this is VERY important so that they don't sink).

Turn the oven off and prop the door open for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip with pastry cream or other filling of your choice. Insert into the bottom of each puff. Squeeze until full. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate, if desired.

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About Me

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Salt Lake City, Utah
As a pastry chef by trade and by hobby, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease has not been easy. But through some experimental baking and a whole lot of faith, I'm living a full(er) life.