Choux Pastry


One of the easiest to make, Choux, or Pâte à Choux, provides a light, crisp, fluffy pastry for both sweet and savoury indulgent bakes.  Use for eclairs, profiteroles, choux buns, savoury gougeres and controversially, alternative non-yeasted beignets

The wonderful rise you expect in choux comes from the steam as the leavening agent, consequently you need good oven temperatures. After the initial rise is achieved the oven is turned down to complete the cooking, then the cooked choux quickly removed from the oven, perforated to let the last of the steam escape and returned for a final drying out and colouring

The use of strong (bread) flour is optional – I find this gives a crisper pastry with a better structure than plain flour

The amount in this recipe is enough for around 12 * 4-5″ eclairs

Ingredients

  • 50g Butter
  • 150ml Cold Water
  • 75g Strong White Flour
  • 2 large-3 medium eggs

Method

  • Start by sieving the flour onto a sheet of baking parchment and set aside – you’ll need to add this quickly into the butter mixture later on
  • In a pan, carefully melt the butter into the water then bring to the boil
  • As soon as the mixture is boiling quickly tip in the flour and remove the pan from the heat
  • Beat the mixture vigorously until the flour is fully combined.  This may take a couple of minutes but the it will come together into a smooth, shiny ball
  • Return to the heat for a minute or so to cook the flour a little, continuing to beat to prevent sticking
  • Tip the dough into a clean, cold bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes
  • Beat the eggs roughly and add about half to the cooled dough.  Again, it will look a little messy to start with but persist – a little beating and it will turn into a thick paste
  • Continue to add the egg a spoonful at a time until you have a thick, smooth glossy dough which drops from the spoon with a little encouragement. Yu may not use all of the egg
  • The mixture is now ready to use in the recipe of your choice!

Note on consistency:

  • The mixture needs to be ‘pipeable’ but must still retain it’s shape
  • Too much egg and it will spread when piped
  • Too little and it will be too dense to rise properly

Basic Cooking Instructions

Each recipe will have basic cooking instructions which will vary depending upon the size and shape of your final bake, but to turn this mixture into, for example 12 eclairs:

  • Preheat an oven to 190oC Fan – ensure this is up to temperature BEFORE you start the next step
  • Fit a half inch round nozzle to a piping bag and fill with the choux dough
  • Pipe onto a silicon sheet, approximately 10-12cm long, leaving a good gap around each
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes – the dough will rise quickly. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN!!!
  • Reduce the heat to 165oC Fan and leave for another 10 minutes – the dough will now be a golden brown
  • Remove from the oven and quickly spike the side of each eclair with a skewer or small knife to release the steam
  • Rearrange on the baking sheet to ensure plenty of room between each and quickly return to the oven
  • Bake for another 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool
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