Pate a Choux or Choux (pronounced shoo) pastry is a brilliant French pastry that should absolutely be part of your kitchen repertoire. It is far easier to make than most believe and creates a lovely, stable, poofy puff ready for sweet or savory fillings. With a little recipe tinkering you can also create different flavors for a little added dimension, including gougeres/cheese puffs!
It took a while to perfect this recipe to one that was consistent, and the reason was the eggs. Different recipes call for anywhere from 2 to 6 eggs. However based on the other measures, a cup of eggs works best, and given size differences, it’s best to measure volume, versus count shells!
This easily remembered recipe uses a 1-1-1-1 formula, so all you need to practice is the very simple technique and you’re ready for all kinds of puffing!
1 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup (4-6 eggs depending on size) eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In saucepan, bring water and butter to a rolling boil, immediately add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to incorporate. It’s going to look like a hot mess, just keep stirring.
Very quickly, the pastry will all come together and form a ball. Once this happens stir for another minute and take off the heat.
To incorporate eggs, use either a mixer or stir by hand with a wooden spoon (you’ll need something sturdy). The mixture is very thick and it’s a bit of work. You want to ensure the eggs are incorporated fully and quickly to not scramble the eggs in the hot flour / butter mixture. Add one egg at a time, incorporating completely before adding the next egg, until all eggs are fully incorporated and choux dough is smooth.
Shaping for baking
With a spoon – drop rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased sheet pan. You can use a drop of water on you finger to smooth any points before baking, else, these areas will brown more.
With a pastry bag – use plain tip (no cuts) or simple star tip make quick work of forming small 1-2 inch diameter rounds on an ungreased sheet pans.
If making eclairs, you’ll want to use a pastry bag and a plain tip (no cuts) or simple star tip and pipe 3” lines onto ungreased sheet pan.
Bake for 20-24 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown. Puffs will be dry outside softer inside, puff up, and feel slightly hollow.
Puffs can be sliced partially for filling with flavored whipped cream, pastry cream, ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce, or a myriad of savory ingredients such as chicken salad or smoked salmon mousse.