Time for a basics recipe! I've made pâte a choux, or choux pastry, in a recipe here already, but I though it was time to break it out and give it an entry all on it's own. So here I will walk you through the two ways to make choux pastry so that you can apply it to whatever recipe your little heart desires, I hope you'll like it!
Pâte a choux
250 g milk
125 g butter
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
150 g flour
250 g egg (about 5)
1. Start by melting the butter in a pot, then add the milk, salt and sugar.
2. Bring to the boil, then take off the heat and add the flour all in one go. Work it in with a whisk or a spoon and work it until it's come together into a dough.
3. Put back over medium heat and work it with a spoon/spatula for a few minutes until ts is shiny, releases from the side and it is starting to catch slightly at the bottom of the pan.
Now, you have two options:
1. If you have a stand mixer, start working it with the paddle attachment to release some steam and then start adding the eggs. Add it bit by bit with the paddle running until you get the right texture, see below.
1. Option nr two is to make it by hand. Start by putting the mix into a big bowl and work the dough up the sides of the bowl to cool it. Leave it for a minute or two before you start adding the eggs.
2. Whisk the eggs to break them up before you add them, and add them in at least 6 installment. If not, you risk using too much egg and getting a mixture that is too runny. So it's important to work in one installment completely before adding more.
3. The amount of egg is relative, you might need more or less, but what you're looking for is a mixture that is shiny and slightly droopy but that will hold its shape. So before you add it all, check if your mixture actually needs it, and if you have added it all and thinks it need more, go for it.
You're looking for a mixture that can for the shape of a V if you let it droop of your spoon.
4. Time to pipe! You will need different nozzles depending on what you want to do and there are not really any rights or wrongs here. I generally go for a 12 mm many pronged star nozzle for eclairs since they will make grooves that will allow some steam out to help prevent cracking. For puffs I go for a 10 mm plain nozzle unless I am doing something crazy.
5. Pop the chosen nozzle in a piping bag and fill with your pâte a choux, it's time to pipe! Now, I'm not gonna lie, you might need some practice at this before you get the hang of how much to press in contrast to how fast to pull to get nice, even eclairs if that is what you are doing. But not to worry, pâte a choux is a great mixture sense it will let you scrape it off and try again without really caring. Try to get your eclairs as even and close to 12 cm as possible (use something as a guide if you want).
6. If you are making puffs, just pipe them from straight above with even pressure leaving a gap to the baking paper to make a nice round little ball in the size you want.
7. Once you're done, put them in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 190 ° C. You want them to get golden brown and to dry out properly. Don't open the oven the first 20 minutes due to the fact that they might collapse, but after that just take one out and check how it's cooked. If golden brown and not too moist in the middle, take them out.
8. This recipe will make about 36 eclairs or many puffs, and you can now fill them with whatever you want.
I really hope this made the process of making choux pastry easier and that you will have fun giving this a go. Until next time!