Choux pastry (pâté à choux) is great fun to make. It is used to create éclairs and puffs of all shapes and sizes, which often have exotic French names.
Choux pastry is made with butter, water, flour and eggs, with the optional addition of a little salt or sugar. When placed in a hot oven, the water in the dough changes to steam, creating a hollow center. The oven temperature is then lowered so that the walls around the hollow can stabilize. This is then the vessel that is filled with cream, custard, fruit or savory delights – making it a versatile ‘must-have-in-the-freezer’ for quick and easy treats.
In our book (page 159), we have a recipe for a Crème patisserie filling, which is a thick custard that is very nice in puffs!
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- Put the butter and boiling water into a saucepan and boil until the butter has melted.
- Reduce the heat. Add the flour and stir vigorously.
- Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture becomes a smooth, shiny ball.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition with a beater or wooden spoon. Beat until the dough becomes paste-like in appearance.
- Drop teaspoons- or dessertspoonsful of the paste onto a lined or greased baking sheet – depending on the desired size. Leave space between the puffs to allow for expansion.
- Bake at 400⁰F for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325⁰F and bake for a further 10-20 minutes, until lightly browned and set.