My ultimate guide on how to make choux pastry, I’m taking your choux pastry skills to the next level!
Have you ever made your own choux pastry? If not, your in the right place. I don’t see a lot of people venturing into the world of choux pastry, possibly because it seems much harder than it really is. Don’t be fooled by those perfectly puffed choux buns, they are achieveable. With the help of my ultimate guide on how to make choux pastry we will have you producing perfectly puffed choux in no time.
Pate au choux, or choux pastry is a classic French pastry, odds are you have tried it in the form of a classic eclair or a profiterole. In fact when writing this I discovered that profiteroles are actualy filled with ice cream and coated with chocolate. Cream puffs are traditionally filled with cream and dusted with icing sugar. So what we Brits know as profiteroles are actually a hybrid of the two, who would have thought.
When well bakes, choux pastry should be light and airy. It should be well puffed with a crisp outside and the inside should be more or less hollow with a soft almost webbing on the outside wall. To get that perfect puff we first need to make the dough.
How do we make choux?
Choux pastry starts life as a little water, milk and butter, brought to the boil on the stove, when boiled we remove from the heat and add flour. The flour is beated into the mixture well and left to cool. The cooling is the important part, I had never thought about it before after making choux pastry for years I just cooled the dough automatically, recently I forgot to cool the dough before adding the eggs and I discovered the hard way why we cool the dough first. If you add the eggs to hot dough you end up with part dough, part scrambled egg. The eggs are beaten into cool dough, I find that an electric mixer works best for this.
The choux is then transfered to a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzel and baked. The baking times and temperatures and very important with choux. They need a blast of hot air to make them raise quickly, then the oven temperature needs to come down so that the top doesn’t burn and so the inside can have time to set to stop the choux from collapsing. The inside of the choux is filled with hot steam, which needs to be released, so when the choux comes out of the oven it needs to be pricked or slices on the underside and placed back in the oven. If you are in a rush, I usually pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes, oven turned on. But if you want gloriously crips choux pop it back in the oven for at lease 30 minutes, oven turned off with the door not closed all the way. This will dry out the choux and give you that beautiful crisp shell.
Water vs milk
In choux dough I have always just used water. But recently I saw a recipe for eclairs that called for milk only. This called for an investigation. I tried making cream puffs with no water at all and although they tasted great and were a fantastic colour, they were soft. So the answer to the problem is combine the two, use milk for flavour and colour and water for texture, but in what ratio? After messing around with some combinations I have found that for me the optimum combination of milk and water is about 3/4 water to 1/4 milk. This keeps the choux crist put that touch of milk helps improve the flavour and colour.
My ultimate guide on how to make choux pastry
How to make choux pastry
- Beat the eggs and egg white into a bowl and set to one side.
- Sieve the flour onto a sheet of baking paper and leave to one side.
- Preheat your oven to 210C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Give it a light spray with non stick cooking spray to stop the choux sticking, but only a light spray.
- In a medium pan over a medium heat add the butter, milk, water, sugar and salt.
- Bring the mixture to just before it boils, then remove from the heat and tip in the flour all at once.
- Beat well with a wooden spoon until a tick paste forms. Return to the heat for a further 3 minutes stirring constantly. The mixture should be glossy and come away from the sides with ease.
- Leave the dough to one side for 10 mintues off the heat to cool slightly.
- Once cool transfer the dough to a stand alone mixer with a whisk attatchment or a food processor. Whisk or pulse the dough for 10 seconds then with the machine running slowly add in the beaten eggs.
- Process or whisk for 30 seconds until a smooth, sticky paste forms.
- Transfer the paste to a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip and pipe the dough onto a baking sheet. Depending on what you make will determin what shape you pipe.
- Bake the dough for 15 minutes at 210C then without opening the oven door after 15 minutes turn the oven down to 190C for a further 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the choux from the oven and using a skewer or a knife make a small hole in the bottom of the pastry.
- If you are in a rush, return to the oven at 190C for 5 minutes. If you are looking for perfection, turn the oven off and leave the door propped open a little and leave the choux in there for at least 30 minutes.
- And decorate however you want.
And there you have it, it ultimate guide on how to made choux pastry. Don’t forget to show me your bakes by tagging @whatseatngmanchester in your social media post.