What did you do this weekend?
After a busy week, I spent my snowy Saturday attempting to make choux pastry. However, things didn’t turn out quite well, especially since my pastries turned out flat when baking. In the end, their shape closely resembled Pringles potato chips. They had a cookie-like texture instead of the hollowed out pastry that I was aiming for.
What is choux pastry?
Choux pastry are often used to make eclairs, creme puffs, beignets, etc. It consists of a cooked dough and because it contains no leaveners (baking soda or baking powder), it rises by the steam that forms when it’s in the oven. In order for the pastry to be successful, the ingredients need to be measured accurately. In addition, this is very important, the eggs needs to be added gradually because the amount needed will vary according to how much flour you use and the rate at which it absorbs the liquid.
My mistake when I first made the choux pastry was that I used too much eggs and not enough flour. I had doubled the recipe, but when making choux pastry, doubling the recipe does not mean doubling every ingredient.
When I attempted choux again on Sunday, I decided to use Jo’s recipe, which was clear and very detailed. As it turns out, it was a success since I’m sharing it with you today. Thanks Jo!
adapted from here
- 188mL tap water
- 65mL whole milk
- 100g unsalted butter, cubed
- 8g sugar
- 3g salt
- 150g flour
- +/- 150g whole eggs, at room temperature (about 3 eggs)
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg
- dash of milk
1. Prepare trays for baking the choux by greasing it with butter so that they would not stick on the tray.
2. Place water, milk, butter, sugar and salt into a pot and bring it to a rolling boil. It should be bubbling furiously.
3. Remove the pot from the heat or turn down the heat and pour in all the flour at once and stir immediately and vigorously with a wooden spoon/spatula. Ensure that there is no lumps of flour in the *panade. Cook out the mixture over low heat for another 2-3 minutes. You should have a glossy panade that can be formed into a ball that comes away from the sides of the pot easily.
4.Remove the panade and place it into your machine mixer bowl. Using a paddle attachment, put the machine on low speed in order to cool the panade down for about 5 minutes. You wouldn’t want to add in the eggs when the panade is still hot. You may end up scrambling the eggs. Remember that eggs start cooking at 60°C (140°F).
5. When the panade is not hot to touch, with the paddle attachment still on, start adding the eggs one at a time at medium speed (speed 4 on the Kitchenaid mixer). The mixture may look like it has cuddled and split at first but be patient and allow the machine to do its job to emulsify the mixture. It will come back together in a while.
6. Continue adding the eggs until you get a smooth, thick, glossy paste. When you lift up your spatula, it should fall after roughly 3 seconds. It should be able to fall from the spatula on its own but not be too wet that it can’t hold its shape. You may/may not require the entire amount of eggs as stated in the recipe, depending on the consistency of the choux paste.
7. Place choux paste into a piping bag with a plain nozzle/star shaped nozzle. Pipe them as evenly as you can in blobs (like a teardrop). Do not flick the piping bag or when it bakes, it will form ugly cracks and seams and it would not rise neatly and evenly.
8. Egg wash the choux pastry with a brush and at the same time flatten down the little tips. This is to ensure that the tips do not burn.
9. Bake immediately at 180 degrees celcius in a pre-heated oven for about 40-45 minutes. Choux pastry must be thorougly baked. if the sides of the walls are moist, when removed from the oven, steam will condense back into water and the still-wet walls will recoil. This will cause the choux pastry to collapse/ and flattened itself.
10. You can check if the choux pastry shells are properly baked by removing a shell from the oven and tear it apart to see if the entire choux is dry. Only remove the entire batch when they are dry.
11. Fill these choux pastry with crème chantilly or crème patisserrie only after they have cooled completely. You can either slice off the tops with a serrated knife or using toothpick to poke a hole at the bottom of the choux pastry before piping the filling.
*Panade is a thick paste of butter, water, and starch, in this case, flour.
Pastry Cream (Crème Patisserrie)
- 400mL whole milk
- 1/3 vanilla bean pod, or 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 egg yolks
- 100g sugar
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 100mL heavy cream
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- Mix the vanilla to the milk in a pot and gradually heat it on low heat. When it begins to boil, turn the stove off.
- Lightly mix the egg yolks in a bowl, then add sugar. Whisk until it begins to lighten in color.
- Sift the flour and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Then combine to the egg yolk mixture.
- Add 1/3 of the milk to the egg yolk mixture and combine. Make sure to add the milk film and vanilla seeds if you are using the vanilla bean pod.
- Using a mesh strainer, strain the egg yolk into the pot of the milk. Continue mixing the pastry cream until it thickens at low heat. When it begins to form bubbles, turn off the stove.
- Place the pastry cream into a tray filled with ice and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.
- Whip the remaining heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Lightly mix the chilled pastry cream in a bowl to soften. Add 2/3 of the whipped cream to the pastry cream and mix. Then add in the remaining whipped cream.