Choux Pastry – Tutorial

One of the great things about working with pastry is that there are a number of basic recipes that make up the foundation for different desserts, cakes and pastries. Once you know the basics your creations are only limited to your own imagination. Take choux pastry for example, it is used for éclairs, croquembouche, profiteroles, crullers, St Honore cake and gougeres to name a few. Of course, you can simply play around with your own fillings and create something new and exciting.

Recipe:

Makes approx. 12-14 medium sized pastries.

  • 200ml water
  • 1.6gm sugar
  • 1gm salt
  • 95gm butter
  • 135gm strong flour
  • 4-5 eggs (approx.).

Method:

In a medium size saucepan bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a full boil (all the butter needs to be completely melted).

Once a full boil has been reached put all the flour in to the mixture. The mixture will bubble up furiously at this point. Keep the heat on high and stir continuously until the mixture comes together into a ball around the spoon.

Remove the mixture from the stove and place in a mixing bowl.

Add the eggs one at a time stirring between each addition. The mixture will come apart and then will form back together again as you continue stirring.

Once you have added your third egg start watching the consistency of the mixture as it comes back together. You are looking for a glossy, smooth, thick consistency suitable for piping.

Tip: The consistency of the dough is determined by the addition of the eggs. The amount stated in the recipe is a guideline only. For this mixture I started with 4 eggs and the dough still wasn’t the right consistency. I used another lightly beaten egg, which I added a little bit at a time, mixing between each addition. I did end up using the whole egg, but it is better to add only a bit at a time. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it out.

Pipe the mixture using a piping bag and nozzles to achieve required shapes. Make sure you pipe and bake the same size shapes on to the same tray otherwise some items will bake faster than others. I generally use a No.9 star and No.9 plain nozzle for eclairs, profiteroles, swan bodies and Paris Brest. For swan necks I use a No.5 plain nozzle.

Tip: The choux dough is a very stable dough, if you make mistakes piping you can easily scrape the dough off the tray and reuse to pipe more shapes.

Bake swan bodies, eclairs and cream puffs at 220°C for 10-15 minutes or until pastry has risen and is partially coloured. Turn oven down to 180°C for a further 15-20 minutes or until pastry has completely dried. If you take them out too early they will collapse. Pastry should sounu
 0it on the bottom.

Remove from oven and place pastries on cooling wires.

Ideas for Choux Pastry: Chocolate and Caramel Éclairs, Pear and Vanilla Paris Brest.

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