Eclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles, French crullers and beignets are just a few of the desserts that can be made with choux paste. Choux paste has only four ingredients, and, unlike most other types of pastry such as puff pastry and pate brisee, its fast and easy to make. In fact, the dough can be mixed up in about 20 minutes.
Most traditional recipes call for beating the eggs in one at a time by hand; Ive found that my mixer makes short work of the eggs, and its much easier, especially when I triple or quadruple the batch. Once the dough is made, its piped or spooned onto a baking sheet and baked in a hot oven. The result is a puffed shell that is hollow in the middle.
Here are a few hints to guarantee success when making choux paste:
- Preheat the oven and make sure it is hot before putting in the puffs.
- Do not substitute margarine for the butter. Not only would margarine result in substandard tasting shells, depending on the water content of the particular brand, the results could be less puffing or no puffing at all.
- Make sure you bake the puffs until they are golden brown. If they are too light, they will deflate.
- Choux shells should always be served the day they are made. If transferred to an airtight container or bag, they go soft. If absolutely necessary, they can be frozen; when taken from the freezer, thaw them and put them in a 350° oven for a few minutes to crisp them up again.
Basic Choux Paste
Makes a dozen large shells or about 30 miniature shells
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Place the water, butter, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- When the butter has melted, add the flour all at once and stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate.
- Continue stirring over medium heat for a minute or two until a film is formed on the bottom of the pan (this will insure that all excess liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove the pan from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.
- Scrape the mixture into a decorating bag (if you dont have one, you can just spoon the puffs onto the sheet)
Cream Puff Shells: pipe rounds or rosettes; using a finger dipped in water, smooth the tops of each. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden.
Eclair shells: Squeeze narrow strips of dough (miniature 1" x 3"; regular 2" x 5"). With a wet finger, smooth the ends. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden.
Choux Ring: Squeeze rounds the size of golf balls in a circle, each round touching the next. Bake as above. When cool, split in half and fill.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 131 Calories from Fat 85
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 65% Protein 10% Carb. 25%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 92 mg
Sodium 148 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 2%