Choux Pastry – Step by Step

Choux pastry is a lovely pastry to make whether you are using it to make sweet things such as profiteroles, eclairs, or savoury such as gougere. It can be deep fried to produce beautifully light beignet soufflees or very tasty cheese aigrettes.

Care needs to be taken when measuring the ingredients.

Some recipes use milk and others cook the panade (base dough before the eggs are added) for a little on the stove but we find we get excellent results by using water and following this method. Make sure the pastry is cooked properly as if it is taken out of the oven too early the steam inside the buns causes them to collapse and become soft and soggy.

Once the choux is made it can be piped or spooned into shapes and then frozen in its raw state.

Once frozen take it off the baking sheet and keep in a freezer bag. When it is to be used place as many as you need onto a baking tray and bake from frozen.

In the picture above the choux pastry was used to make profiteroles for a Gateau St Honore. This one was made by Sally Gardner, one of our ex Diploma students.

Ingredients

For the Pastry
85g butter, cubed
220ml water
105g sifted flour
pinch of salt
3 eggs, beaten

Yield – 30 small chop buns

Choux pastry is a lovely pastry to make whether you are using it to make sweet things such as profiteroles, eclairs, or savoury such as gougere.

It can be deep fried to produce beautifully light beignet soufflees or very tasty cheese aigrettes.

Care needs to be taken when measuring the ingredients.

Some recipes use milk and others cook the panade (base dough before the eggs are added) for a little on the stove but we find we get excellent results by using water and following this method. Make sure the pastry is cooked properly as if it is taken out of the oven too early the steam inside the buns causes them to collapse and become soft and soggy.

Once the choux is made it can be piped or spooned into shapes and then frozen in its raw state.

Once frozen take it off the baking sheet and keep in a freezer bag. When it is to be used place as many as you need onto a baking tray and bake from frozen.

In the picture above the choux pastry was used to make profiteroles for a Gateau St Honore. This one was made by Sally Gardner, one of our ex Diploma students.

Instructions

Sieve the flour and salt 3 times to make sure it is very light. Sift it onto a piece of parchment or greaseproof paper.

Put the butter with the water into a saucepan. Put over a medium heat to melt the butter and then turn the heat up so that it comes to a rolling boil.

When the water is boiling fast immediately tip all the flour into the water and butter mixture. Turn off the heat.

Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until all the lumps of flour have gone.

Stop beating as soon as the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. If you beat any more at this stage the pastry will become fatty and may not rise.

Place this mixture, which is called a panade, on a plate to cool. Cover with cligfilm so that it doesn’t form a skin. Leave it for 15 minutes or until cold.

Once the panade has cooled down put it back in the pan and start to add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition. This is quite hard work when you are not used to it but don’t be tempted to add the eggs too quickly or the choux pastry will be too runny.

The choux pastry once the egg has been added should be a reluctant dropping consistency ie the paste needs a little persuasion to drop off the spoon.

If you are gouing to pipe the choux pastry put a plain nozzle into the piping bag and push a little of the bag into the nozzle. Then put it into a jug so that you have both hands free to fill the bag.

Pull the nozzle free and push the pastry down the bag

Pipe small choux buns onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Keep the bag at 90 degrees to the baking sheet and press out the dough with the right hand only (or left if you are left handed). Use your other hand to guide the bag if necessary. Keep the nozzle quite close to the baking sheet when piping.

When all the buns have been piped press any spikes down gently with a wet finger. This stops them burning

Put the choux buns in a preheated oven 200C/ Fan oven 180C/ Gas mark 6. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes, depending on the size of the choux buns.

As soon as the choux pastry comes out of the oven they must be turned over and a hole put into the bases. They are left upside down and put in the oven for a further 5 mminutes. This helps the steam to escape and stops the buns becoming soggy.

NOTE: if you want to make a gougere or add cheese to the pastry you can add either very small cubes of cheese or grated cheese. Add it after all the egg has been incorporated.