choux pastry buns

Making choux pastry (illustrated recipe)

Never fear sweet reader, your choux balls will be crisp and puffy, providing a nice home for whipped cream or other fillings.  Yes, we’ve all had our flat gooey choux disasters but if you follow a few simple tips you can avoid that!  Yes, I promise!  Ahem… and moving swiftly along, choux can be created in less than an hour and are so easy that even my 10-year-old niece has made them, with a little supervision following her children’s baking book instructions.  And she had fun!  Niece making choux :)

chouxIngredients in grammes and US cups – makes around 38-40 small choux of around 4cm/1.5inches diametre

  • 75g/scant half a cup plain/all purpose flour
  • 2 or 2 and half medium-large eggs, beaten (around 125-130g)  NOTE:  don’t use all of it – leave a few tablespoons and check your pastry’s texture first to see if all the egg is needed
  • 63g/a quarter of a cup plus a teaspoon milk (semi-skimmed or full-fat, could try almond milk)
  • 62g/a quarter of a cup plus three-quarters of a teaspoon water
  • 50g/1 and three quarter ounces or a scant quarter cup good-quality unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • a scant half teaspoon (2g) or less fine sea salt, to taste (a scant quarter teaspoon could be enough depending on the filling)
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) caster/superfine sugar or a pinch of Stevia

Equipment:  a small to medium heavy-based saucepan and baking tray (30x40cm).  Optional:  medium-sized piping nozzle and disposable piping bag.

I’ve found a baking method that works where the choux stays in a switched off oven for a while, but you can use another system if you prefer.  So are you game?  Let’s switch the oven on…Choux pastryLine your baking tray with baking paper and… start! 🙂

Choux pastry

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That’s the ‘pointe’ you’re looking for, that will eventually fall into your bowl with a ‘plop!’

Choux pastryNote:  when you pipe keep the nozzle still and about 1cm away from the tray (not too high).  Finish off with a quick twirl to the left or right.  If you make them too high they’ll be lumpy and tall.  You want smooth fairly flat domes as in the photo.  There’s a helpful and very clear youtube video How to pipe éclairs and cream puffs. You’ll notice there are different ways to bake choux – just pick the method you prefer and experiment with your own oven).

choux pastryYou can also make the choux puffs with a teaspoon if you can’t find your pastry bag!  They might be slightly deformed, but perfectly edible, like the ones I made with my niece.

There are different ways to bake choux so just pick your preferred method and experiment with your own oven.  This is the method that works for me.Choux pastry

choux in the oven

A fork in your oven door keeps it a little ajar for the last 10 minutes of baking so steam is released and the choux dry out.

choux pastry

Yay! They’re ready!

choux pastry

Slice in half horizontally with a sharp knife – this will let the steam out so your choux stay dry. Or if you’re piping pastry cream in you can make little holes at the bottom with a nozzle.

Let the choux puffs cool before filling.

You can have fun making (and eating) chocolate profiteroles, gougères, salted caramel choux, éclairs and many delicious desserts with your choux pastry.  Yum!  🙂