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Choux Pastry For The Home Cook | Pate a Choux

What is pâte á choux?

Pâte á choux (pronounced ‘pat a shoe’) is a relatively wet pastry dough made of eggs, water, butter and flour.  There is no rising agent and relies on steam from cooking this pastry at a high temperature to allow it to rise.  This pastry dough has been around for 500 years and is the basis for many European pastries including profiteroles, eclairs, cream puffs, gongères, chouquettes, beignets and crullers.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

What can you make from pâte á choux?

Profiteroles are made by piping the choux pastry into dollops the size of a half dollar, or about 1.5 inches.  It bakes at high temperature and a hollow core is developed where you can pipe in a filling and make a cream puff.

Eclairs are piped and baked in the same manner as profiteroles but longer.

Gougères  are savory profiteroles that are made from choux pastry that has cheese added to the dough, commonly Gruyere, Comtè or Emmentaler.

Chouquettes are profiteroles topped with pearl sugar.

Beignets are deep fried choux pastry and dusted with powdered sugar.

Crullers are French donuts.

Below is a step by step approach to making choux pastry and profiteroles.  These skills build on each other and will allow you to make many types of French pastries so dive right in folks!

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

Bring water, sugar, butter and vanilla to a simmer over medium heat.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon, continue stirring for 1 minute on heat to cook the ‘rawness’ out of the flour then remove from heat.  It should come together into one cohesive dough that is smooth.

Choux Pastry For The Home Cook | Pate a Choux. Choux pastry is the spring board for eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches, beignets, crullers and many more amazing French pastries! You can make this at home! | FusionCraftiness.com

Now it’s time to add the beaten eggs 1/3 at a time, stirring in between iterations until the egg is well incorporated.  You want the dough to either form a ‘V’ with the spoon (see pic below) or when pressed between two fingers and lifted, forms a wimpy, soft peak (see pic below).  Once you achieve this characteristic, stop adding the eggs, you are done.  If you add too much egg, it will be too wimpy and you actually have to start over, sorry.  But have heart, this hasn’t happened to me yet, just follow these instructions.  I did use all of my 2-egg mixture but eggs do come in different sizes.  That is why I like to beat my eggs and add 1/3 at a time instead of one whole egg at a time.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com
Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

A nice ‘V’, PERFECT!

Choux Pastry For The Home Cook | Pate a Choux. Choux pastry is the spring board for eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches, beignets, crullers and many more amazing French pastries! You can make this at home! | FusionCraftiness.com
Choux Pastry For The Home Cook | Pate a Choux. Choux pastry is the spring board for eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches, beignets, crullers and many more amazing French pastries! You can make this at home! | FusionCraftiness.com
Choux Pastry For The Home Cook | Pate a Choux. Choux pastry is the spring board for eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches, beignets, crullers and many more amazing French pastries! You can make this at home! | FusionCraftiness.com

A wimpy soft peak, also PERFECT!

Choux Pastry For The Home Cook | Pate a Choux. Choux pastry is the spring board for eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches, beignets, crullers and many more amazing French pastries! You can make this at home! | FusionCraftiness.com

If you are going to make Beignets, you are done.  Click here for the Beignet instructions.

If you are going to make profiteroles or cream puffs, please continue:)

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

If you don’t have pastry bags, use plastic bags, fold down the sides and fill with pastry dough.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

Twist at top and squeeze dough to one corner.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

Snip a corner, about 1/4 inch-1/2 inch.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

Squeeze pastry in one space until it reaches the desired diameter, about a half dollar size, then lift and swirl to cut off the pastry.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com
Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

With a wet finger, tamp down the peaks so they won’t burn.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 475F on a middle rack for 5 minutes then turn down to 400F and cook 10-20 minutes.  This part requires diligence.  Different size pastries require different cooking times and each oven is different by as much as 75 degrees!  Your pastries are done when they are golden, puffed up and crispy on the outside.  I actually cut one open to make sure it was cooked inside, it was.  

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com
Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

Remove to a cooling rack a let cool.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

With the back of a chop stick or something similar, poke a hole the size of our pastry piping bag.  Your pastry cream will go in here.  There are many pastry creams to choose from.  I like a simple whipped cream with Nutella.

Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com


This recipe is adapted from my latest favorite French cookbook and guide, French Classics Made Easy by Richard Grausman.

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Step-by-step instructions and photos for Pate-a-Choux pastry and profiteroles. This French pastry is NOT hard to do! A great beginner pastry for home cooks! Bon Appetit!! | FusionCraftiness.com

Choux Pastry For The Home Cook

Yield: 14 profiteroles
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A Pate a Choux recipe to make cream puffs, eclairs and other French classic pastries.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter (55g)
  • 2 Tbs sugar (25g)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (70g)
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Simmer first 4 ingredients over medium heat.
  2. Add flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon vigorously for 1 minute, mash and stir to cook the rawness out of the flour. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in egg mixture 1/3 at at time, stirring vigorously and incorporating well until wimpy peaks or a 'V' form on the spoon. If you reach this state, don't add the remaining eggs, you are done. See pictures for reference.
  4. Stop here for Beignets
  5. Preheat oven to 475F.
  6. Place pastry dough into pastry bag.
  7. Place parchment paper on baking sheet.
  8. Pipe out 1-1 1/2 inch dollops onto parchment paper.
  9. With a wet finger, tamp down the points.
  10. !Note: If you are not going to decorate the profiteroles after baking, you may add an egg wash at this point before going into oven to make your cream puffs nice and shiny.
  11. Bake in oven on middle rack for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 400F.
    Watch diligently, your pastries will be done when they are golden brown, puffed up and crispy on the outside. This can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven, cool on racks.
  13. Poke holes in bottom to allow for piping in your choice of cream.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 63Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 11mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

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Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen

Monday 1st of May 2017

Such a great tutorial! This is one of those classics that can be intimidating to people, but it's totally doable (and delicious!)

Tina

Monday 1st of May 2017

Thanks Ashley! I had fun learning this, absolutely loved it, I'm hooked! Good luck, it's addicting:)

Michelle | The Last Food Blog

Sunday 30th of April 2017

This is perfect! This pastry has always been something I have wanted to try but feel has been a bit beyond my skill level. Great step by step guide, thank you x

Tina

Sunday 30th of April 2017

Thanks Michelle and good luck! My imagination is already reeling on what I can stuff in those profiteroles;) I was really reluctant to learn French pastries, so far it's been way easier than I imagined. So feel free to dive right in!

Mark, CompassandFork

Friday 28th of April 2017

So many great recipes are made from choux pastry. Now, I am excited. I can make my own eclairs.

Tina

Friday 28th of April 2017

Have fun with it Mark! Choux pastry can be savory too! I have a co-worker that gave me some great ideas for making spicy choux pastry from a restaurant she likes to go to. Only limited by our imaginations and taste buds.

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