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choux pastry

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Choux pastry is a base for classics such as profiteroles, eclairs and puffs. Follow our choux pastry recipe and make it easily from scratch. You will be surprised how easy this is!

Choux pastry may seem difficult to make but we would like to assure you that. This dough is base for French classics such as profiteroles, eclairs and cream puffs. It differs from other pastries in the fact it's cooked twice, once on the stove and then again in the oven.

For making perfect choux pastry dough follow our step-by-step guide with instructions and photos you will find below.

about choux pastry (Pâte à Choux)

The name comes from the french word "choux" meaning cabbage - as these pastries reminds of little cabbages when they come out from the oven. This dough is cooked twice, once on the hob and then again baked in the oven. Choux pastry is made of flour, water, butter and eggs and it's slightly thicker than a batter, but not quite as thick as a dough.

The pastry is thick enough so it can be scooped or piped into almost any shape you want, from small puffs, eclaires, profiteroles etc. These pastries don't contain any yeast or other leavening.

how to use choux pastry

Choux pastry are usually filled with pastry cream, coconut cream, whipped cream, lemon or orange curds, ice cream or any other fillings. You can drizzle with caramel, chocolate or dust with icing sugar or top with pearl sugar.

Or go savory! Cheesy gougères are made just by folding shredded cheese into the batter before scooping and baking. You can also add ground black pepper or other spices. I love serving these as an appetizer or a side dish for parties.

For baking choux pastry you need to preheat the oven to high temperature to help the pastries puff, then you lower slightly to help them cook and give some golden colour. Once baked, prick the pastries with a toothpick to make sure the steam in out, and then let them cool completely before filling them.


what you'll need for choux pastry

The magic of making choux pastry dough hides in the 5 basic ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. You will need:

  • WATER
  • BUTTER
  • FLOUR
  • EGGS
  • A PINCH OF SALT

Each of these ingredients play specific role in the dough. Some recipes use also sugar but we will skip this in this recipe. Eggs and water are what provide leavening to the puffs once baked.

how to make choux pastry step-by-step guide

Making choux pastry is 3-step process. First the dough is made by adding flour to water and butter mixture, then the dough is cooked on the stovetop for a few minutes to dry it out and cook the flour and finally eggs are added to the dough.

step 1 - Heat the oven / Prepare ingredients

Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F) and line baking tray with baking paper. Brush the baking paper with water. This will help puffs to rise better as the water will turn into the steam and rise the puffs. Have 

top tip

Have all your ingredients ready - eggs at room temperature, oven preheated and all the equipment ready before start.

step 2 - Cook water, butter and salt in a saucepan

Place water, cutted butter and pinch of salt into heavy-based saucepan. Heat on a medium heat until the butter is melted. Bring to the simmer then immediately remove from the heat.

Don't let the water boil for too long. For this reason cut the butter into smaller pieces so they melt quickly and water don't evaporates.

Transfer the mixture to the heatproof bowl and leave to cool for a few minutes.

step 3 - add flour

Tip the flour very quickly into the saucepan (so that it cooks evenly), stir vigorously with a wooden spoon while you add the flour, then continue to beat until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan and the film forms on the bottom of the saucepan.

step 4 - add eggs

The only potentially tricky step is adding eggs. If you add too many eggs, the dough will be too liquid and you'll have trouble piping it, and the pastries will have trouble puffing in the oven.

To prevent this, first whisk the eggs separately in one bowl and with the mixer running, add the eggs in three additions. Check after two additions if the dough is ready - it will hold its shape when scooped and look smooth and glossy. If needed add the rest of the eggs (by tablespoon) just until the dough is smooth and shiny.

It may look first like the mixture is separating, but as you continue to mix it will turn into a thick glossy paste. Instead of using hand mixer you can also beat with a wooden spoon but it will take longer.

step 5 - pipe choux pastry dough

Spoon the choux pastry dough into a piping bag and make desired shapes directly on the baking tray. Shape anything you want - from small mounds, profiteroles...

Pipe little mounds about 3 cm apart on the baking paper. You can also use plastic bag and cut off the corner for easy piping. 

Keeping choux pastry dough

At this point, uncooked choux pastry can be stored in the fridge for 2 days. I like to put the dough in a pastry bag, tightly close the top and refrigerate until ready to use.

step 6 - bake the puffs

First bake in the oven preheated to 200°C (392°F) for 15 - 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 180°C (356°F) and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes.

Don't open the oven while pastries cooks, as cool air will prevent them from properly puffing up. Exact baking time will depend on the size and shape of your puffs. Bake until the pastries are slightly puffed, golden brown and dry to the touch. If you open one puff, it shouldn't be wet or eggy on the inside.

For baking choux pastry you need to preheat the oven to high temperature to help the pastries puff, then you lower slightly to help them cook and give some golden colour. Once baked, prick the pastries with a toothpick to make sure the steam in out, and then let them cool completely before filling them.

choux pastry baking tips and tricks

  • Damp your baking paper before piping the puffs. Its the steam that helps choux pastry to rise. That's why there's lots of water in the mixture.

  • Sometimes puffs can be golden on the outside but still not cooked inside. If you take out puffs from the oven a bit too early they will deflate. The best way to check if they are ready is to take one puff from the oven, wait for 30 seconds and then cut to see if they are reads. They should be crisp and dry from the inside. Don't open the oven while choux pastries are baking.

  • Once cooked, it is important to prick the base of each puff to release the steam that has helped it to rise. If left, the steam turns back to water resulting in soft or soggy puffs.

step 7

Transfer the puffs to a wire rack and poke each one with a toothpick. This release the steam from the inside and helps prevent the puffs from getting soggy. Once cooled, fill puffs with desired fillings. This amount of dough will make 24 small puffs. 

making ahead Choux pastry

Choux pastry can be prepared ahead and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before shaping and baking.

how to freeze choux pastry puffs?

freezing raw cream puffs

If you want to freeze choux pastry puffs, we suggest to freeze raw puffs. Shape the puffs using piping bag on a tray lined with aluminium foil. Place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes until they harden then transfer to the plastic bag and return to the freezer. You can keep them for up to 3 months.

When you want to prepare them, just thaw for 2 - 3 minutes and bake as usual. Puffs will be perfect and delicious this way. This is better than freezing baked puffs.

freezing baked puffs

Yes! Just baked them, poke each with a toothpick and cool completely. Place in a plastic bag and freeze. You can keep them like this for 3 months.

Choux Pastry
Recipe

MAKES: 20
COOKS IN: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
LEVEL: Moderate

INGREDIENTS

  • 125ml water
  • 50g butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 70g flour, sifted
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

METHOD

  1. Place the butter and water in a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted, then bring to a simmer.

  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Return to the low heat and stir the dough, mashing it against the sides and bottom of the saucepan until mixture forms a ball in the centre of the saucepan (1 - 2 minutes).

  3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Add 1 egg and beat with an electric mixer at low speed for about a minute. Add another egg and beat until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy. This can also be done by hand using a wooden spoon.

  4. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and make desired shapes directly on the baking tray brushed with water. Pipe little mounds about 5 cm apart on the baking paper. You can also use plastic bag and cut off the corner for easy piping. 

  5. First bake in the oven preheated to 200°C (392°F) for 15 - 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 180°C (356°F) and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes. Don't open the oven while pastries cooks, as cool air will prevent them from properly puffing up. Exact baking time will depend on the size and shape of your puffs. Bake until the pastries are slightly puffed, golden brown and dry to the touch. If you open one puff, it shouldn't be wet or eggy on the inside.

  6. Transfer the puffs to a wire rack and poke each one with a toothpick. This release the steam from the inside and helps prevent the puffs from getting soggy. Once cooled, fill puffs with desired fillings.

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