Choux Pastry (Cream Puffs/Eclairs)
Choux pastry has got to be one of the most versatile tools in a bakers belt. You can use it to make cream puffs, eclairs, paris breast and many more! With endless possibilities for fillings, its no wonder it's one of my favorite things to make! This recipe includes craquelin, which is essentially a thin cookie crust. You can omit this step completely, but I find it gives the choux a much more uniform shape and adds a nice crunch to the shell. Enjoy!
100g all purpose flour
100g brown sugar
80g butter (room temperature)
Choux Paste Ingredients:
125g all purpose flour
Mix all ingredients together until it is very crumbly. Turn out onto a sheet of parchment and start to press it all together with your hands, forming one solid mass.
Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment until very thin, approx. 1/6 inch or less
Place in the refrigerator or freezer and let firm up before cutting.
Once firm, cut into circles that are approximately the same size as the cream puffs you are going to pipe. Set aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to place them on top of your choux.
Choux Pastry Directions:
Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the butter, water and salt in a medium sized pot on high heat.
Using a wooden spoon, or a stiff spatula, stir until the butter is completely melted and the mixture starts to simmer.
Dump your flour into the pit and immediately start mixing, making sure to keep scraping the bottom of the pan as you do so. Once the mixture looks like mash potato consistency, remove from the heat and continue to vigorously mix until it form a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pot.
Immediately transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and start mixing on low speed with a paddle attachment. Once the mixture has released some heat (about a minute of mixing) you can start adding the eggs.
Add your eggs one at a time (stopping at 4), and let them fully incorporate before adding the next.
Once you've added your fourth egg we need to check the consistency. Using the paddle, scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure the mixture is homogenous. Take the paddle and pull it through the batter, lifting it up as you do so. The batter should fall from the point of the paddle slowly, in a nice smooth 'V' shape. If it doesn't form a 'V' (or looks very jagged) add the last egg and check again. Too many eggs and your batter will be too runny, and your cream puffs can become misshapen and flat. Not enough however, and they will lack the characteristic rise and hollowness that choux is known for. Err on the side of adding too little eggs than too many. Sometimes the difference is even half an egg.
When your batter is the correct consistency, you can now start piping. Using a piping bag fitted with a circle tip, pipe mounds onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Tip: Use a small dab of the dough to stick your parchment to the sheet pan so it doesn't move.
After you have piped all of your choux, take the craquelin circles you cut out and place them directly on top of the choux balls.
Bake for approx. 30 min (depending on the size) without opening the oven door. If you open the door too soon, you risk the choux collapsing. After this time, open the door for a few seconds to let out the steam, shut your oven off and leave the pan inside (door closed) for another 10-15 minutes or until the choux balls are hard to the touch. If they feel a little soft still, leave for a couple minutes at a time until they firm up and dry out more.
Let cool and proceed to fill with your favorite filling!