Pate a choux is supposedly French for “cabbage dough,” meaning that the resulting baked dough looks like a cabbage, which I guess is kind of true if you’re making cream puffs. Since I made eclairs, I guess that would be elongated cabbage dough? Haha.
Making eclairs and cream puffs have always been a little… elusive to me, in the sense that I haven’t always been successful. Unfortunately, due to (probably) bad dorm kitchen ovens, this is probably the first time I have completely succeeded. I made sure to watch the the Good Eats episode on pate a choux, and used AB’s recipe instead of the one we were using. I don’t like the taste of it as much as the one we were using. I suspect the cream puffs not rising has more to do with dorm kitchens than anything else, so hopefully I can get that other recipe to work again.
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 5 3/4 ounces bread flour
- 1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites
- Boil water, butter, sugar and salt. Sift the flour and combine with hot liquid, and cook on the stove top until the dough is not sticky or wet to the touch (about 5 minutes).
- The eggs is the tricky part. Since we need a lot of structure to the dough, we’ll need more whites than egg yolks. However, depending on how much water you cooked out of the dough, it may not require the full 1 cup. You want the dough to be wet enough so that its smooth, but also dry enough so that it will still stand on its own when you pipe them. Refer to Good Eats on youtube if you’re not sure.
- Pipe onto silpat/parchment paper into long eclairs or cream puffs. Since I don’t have pictures of this process, it is probably best to consult Good Eats or other recipes with images to see how its done.
- Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, and then 350F for the next 10 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious.
- When you take it out, pierce it immediately and fill with pastry cream!
Again, I have no idea where my pastry cream recipe is from because it has been passed down to me from previous baking teachers, but here’s what I have:
- Milk 8 ounces
- Sugar 1 ounce
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ egg
- Cornstarch 20 g
- Sugar 30 g
- Butter ½ ounce
- Vanilla ¼ tsp
- Chocolate 4 ounces (optional)
- Heavy Cream 1/4 cu (see note)
Note: since the heavy cream came last and is never mentioned in the procedure, I didn’t bother adding it, but you could if you want
- Dissolve the sugar into the milk (and heavy cream) and bring to a boil.
- Beat the eggs, and sift corn corn starch and add sugar into the eggs till smooth.
- Temper eggs by pouring the warm milk into the eggs mixture. Return to pot and allow it to thicken and boil. Whisk constantly, otherwise you will get lumpy pastry cream.
- Take it off the heat and add butter and vanilla. If making chocolate pastry cream, add chocolate as well. Stir to combine
- Cover and/or chill. Put into piping bag to pipe into cream puffs/eclairs!
The reason that I didn’t take pictures of this process is because I’ve made this sooo many times I completely forgot that I would blog about it. I’m sure there are plenty of other people making these, so my lack of pictures should be fine. =)