Saturday, October 19, 2013

Go Coo Coo for Choux!

You are probably wondering why the heck I waited so long to do a post on choux pastry considering it is my blog's namesake, but the truth is I wanted the post to coincide with my choux pastry assignment under Classic Pastry Elements, which I am very proud to say that I received 100% on!! Whoo Hoo!!
Choux Mise en Place
Like I have said before, choux paste is sooo simple to make. Just look at these ingredients: butter, water, flour, eggs and salt...THAT'S IT!! You can always add a little sugar too when you add the flour for a little more sweetness. 
Preparation of Choux Dough
All you have to do is slowly bring the butter and water to a boil. I like to melt the butter a bit first so that the water doesn't evaporate too much and mess up the liquid to flour ratio.

Once it comes to a boil you need to take it off the heat and add the sifted flour all at once. This is essential to keeping the paste from becoming lumpy.  After it has combined put it back on the heat and stir constantly until a white film develops on the bottom of the pot.  Then remove the dough from the heat and allow it to cool in a bowl on the counter.
Silky Pate a Choux
When the butter, water and flour mixture are cool to the touch add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.  If you add the eggs too soon you might end up with scrambled eggs in your batter so be careful! At first you will think you are doing something wrong because the dough separates and curdles a bit, but keep at it!!  Soon it all comes together into this silky and shiny paste. 
Piped & Ready for the Oven
After you have taken a moment to congratulate yourself on how amazing the paste looks (it's pretty great right?!?) fill a pastry bag with your paste (or large ziplock type bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (circles for cream puffs, rectangles for éclairs or even rings).
Golden Brown & Hallow Inside
Now time for the baking.  I know it will be hard, but restrain yourself from peaking in the oven for at least the first 15 minutes or so.  Opening the oven before the puffs set up can cause them to collapse. The goal is to create a crispy exterior with a tender yet hallow interior.  I like to bake for about 15 minutes then remove them from the oven, cut a small slit in the side (this will help the steam to escape) then return them to the oven for another 3-5 minutes or until they are golden brown, crispy and sound hallow when you lightly tap on them.

When you are ready to fill the puffs you can use the small slit you cut into them earlier to fill them without needing to cut them open any further, which will also help to keep that creamy center from dripping all over your lap! Choux Pastry tastes amazing filled with pastry cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce or used to sandwich your favorite ice cream flavor.

Chef Bruno Albouze cracks me up, but also gives a great tutorial on how to make choux pastry and fancy swans (sorry, youtube videos only show up on computers - follow this link if viewing from your phone

I hope you try to make your own choux pastry and you too go coo coo for choux!!!  If you are not sure that you want to make a huge batch on your first try follow this great recipe by Christina of Desserts for Two, which only makes about 6 or 7 puffs.
Flashback Pic of My Very First Attempt at Cream Puffs
Recipe From Another Great Cookbook: The Illustrated Kitchen Bible
Happy Baking,
Dani xoxo