Grant loves cream puffs more than any other pastry that exists. Since I love him more than any other man that exists, I always make him these special Choux pastry cream puffs on Valentine’s Day. It’s been our thing since we met. I am 100% certain that I won him over through his stomach!
My Choux pastry techniques have definitely evolved and became better as the years have gone by. Just like our romance! I suppose I’ve gotten a handle on both with the decade of practice!
Bea, like her father, loves cream puffs. With her first ballet lesson on the horizon, Ballerina Bea wanted to celebrate her big day by making choux pastry with me. And how fitting, because like ballet, cream puffs are delicate, graceful, elegant and classic. Bea piped the cream for the choux, so be sure to check out her skills later in the post!
Choux pastry is the basis for airy, delicate, and simply satisfying cream puffs. A sweetened whipped cream filling and dusting of powdered sugar is all it takes to make these classic pastries one of the most highly regarded treats of all time.
Perfect Choux pastry means you’ll have a crispy outer shell and a hollow center. Here’s how to accomplish that.
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Choux Pastry Troubleshooting
There are a few issues that can arise when making choux pastry.
One problem is deflating pastry after they come out of the oven. Usually this means they weren’t baked long enough. When making Choux pastry, begin with a blast of higher heat for 15 minutes before reducing the temperature for the remaining time.
Furthermore, you cannot under any circumstance whatsoever open that oven once the Choux pastry is baking. Don’t do it! That oven door must remain shut until the timer goes off!
Another problem that arises when making Choux is that the pastry is soggy. This can happen when you fill and refrigerate the pastries. When making these cream puffs at home, you get the luxury of eating them fresh. When you do this, they will keep that crisp outer shell.
In addition, if the recipe you are using yields a batter that is too runny, you’ll be in pastry trouble.
And yet another issue are dry pastry shells. This comes from over-baking the Choux pastry.
In the issue of misshaped and uneven Choux pastry, this can usually be eliminated by piping out the pastry dough into even balls.
I don’t always pipe out my Choux pastry. I actually prefer the look of them when they’re a bit flouncy and imperfect. Inf fact, I sometimes use a piping tip that will give it a fun texture, like below.
How To Make Choux Pastry
First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. And get all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go. Choux pastry isn’t the recipe to be looking through your pantry for ingredients as you are mixing. You need to be precise! I’m going to be bossy for this post, just a warning!
Next, Prepare the special equipment. You will need a heavy bottom saucepan, a wooden spoon, a hand or stand mixer, and the optional piping bag with tip. If you are using a hand mixer then include a large mixing bowl.
Put your saucepan on medium high heat. Get the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a rolling boil.
Then reduce to medium heat and dump in ALL the all purpose flour and use the wooden spoon to vigorously mix it for one minute over the heat.
Remove from heat and, if using a hand mixer, put into a large bowl. If using stand mixer, use paddle attachment.
Start mixing dough and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Then after final egg is added, mix for a minute so the dough becomes sticky.
Next, either pipe it or spoon in balls. For big cream puffs, go with 1/4 cup of batter. For smaller ones, use 2 tablespoons. Leave room in between for spreading. If you make smaller puffs, reduce final cooking by 5 minutes.
Baking Choux Pastry
Choux pastry rises by steam. Blast it for 15 minutes on 425 degrees. Then lower heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Note that your baking time will vary depending on the size of your choux balls. For example, my 1/4 cup sized choux takes the amount I previously said. But if you were to make them only half the size, like below, then reduce your final cooking time by 10 minutes.
Once you take it out of the oven, Use a sharp knife to cut a small slit on top of each.
Then put them onto a cooking rack as soon as they cool slightly enough to handle.
When they are cooled, fill with sweetened whipped cream or pastry cream, and enjoy!
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Choux Pastry (Pate a Choux)
Tender and light pastry that is used to make cream puffs, eclairs, croquembouches, and more! Here is how to make foolproof choux pastry at home.
Heavy Whipped Cream Filling For Cream Puffs
Chocolate Ganache (Optional)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a large piping bag fitted with a round tip.
1. In a large saucepan, bring water sugar, salt, and butter to a rolling boil over medium high heat.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add flour in all at once using a wooden spoon. Stir vigorously over heat for one minute until a dough forms then remove dough to the bowl of your stand mixer. Or use a large bowl and have hand mixer ready.
3. Allow dough to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Then Run the mixer or medium speed and add eggs in ONE AT A TIME. Allow each egg to incorporate into the dough before adding the next.
5. Run mixer for an additional minute after the last egg has been added.
6. Then fill piping bag with dough.
7. Pipe choux pastry dough onto rounded mounds (about 2 tablespoons worth of dough) into baking sheet. You can also spoon it out.
8. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes to blast heat and steam into the choux.
9. Then lower heat to 375 and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DURING COOKING!!
10. When they are puffed and golden, remove from the oven and use a sharp knife to cut small slits on top to vent.
11. Remove to a wire rack once they are cooled enough to handle, but still warm.
12. Fill with sweetened heavy whipping cream and dust with powdered sugar for classic cream puffs.
Sweetened Whipped Cream Filling
Use a stand mixer to beat the heavy cream until soft peaks are forming. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Keep Chilled.
Optional Chocolate Ganache Topping
Put chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat heavy cream until it comes just to a simmer.
Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips.
Whisk until all of the chocolate has melted.
Allow to cool slightly.
Dip choux tops into the ganache or spread it out or pour it over.