Learn how to make the basic pate a choux recipe. This is a simple to make classic french pastry batter that has all kinds of uses including cream puffs, profiteroles, eclairs, beignets, cheese puffs, parisienne gnocchi, and much more!
Welcome to the week of Pate a Choux!
Pate a who?
Pate a Choux!
If you aren’t familiar with pate a choux you are about to get familiar! Pate a choux, or choux pastry, is a classic French cooked pastry dough. In it’s basic form it contains only water, butter, flour, and eggs. It is so amazingly simple but turns into some of the most glorious treats!
When the batter is baked it transforms into profiteroles, eclairs, cream puffs, cheese puffs (or gougere, as they are properly called in French). Fry the batter and you can have homemade beignets or French crullers. Blanch then bake or saute the batter and parisienne gnocchi is the result. It’s like magic. One dough for so many different glorious final results.
This week we are exploring pate a choux in it’s various applications. Today is the foundation. The basics about pate a choux, how it’s made, and why it is so magical. Today might be a little boring, but the rest of the week will be a bit more exciting. Pinky promise.
Like I said, pate a choux starts out with very humble ingredients. The line up is butter, water, salt, flour, and eggs. The pastry relies heavily on the amount of moisture present to create rise and puff in the pastries. The steam created when the water starts to evaporate in the oven is what creates the lovely hollow pastries that are filled with custards and creams or just left empty and perfectly light and airy.
We’re making the basic pastry here. But you can always add things. If you are making a sweet pastry dough, a few TBSP of sugar would be perfect. And if savory is your destination, add some more salt! The liquid also isn’t locked in at water. Juiced fruit or vegetable or stock would also work well! Herbs and spices couldn’t hurt either. It is your blank canvas to play with! But we’ll get to all that. Patience, my friends.
We start with the water, butter, and salt in the pot. This is also where you would add your sugar if you were making sweet pastry. Medium-high heat is applied until the butter is melted and everything is bubbling. Have the flour on standby. It’s up next!
Once that mixture is bubbling, reduce the heat to medium and dump all of the flour in while stirring with a wooden spoon. The mixture will initially look like this picture ^ up there. It’s not ready to be taken off the heat yet. Keep stirring and cooking out some of the moisture.
When the pastry starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball it is ready to come off that heat! Move it to either the bowl of a stand mixer or another large bowl if using a hand mixer. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before moving on to the eggs.
You want the batter cooled just enough that it won’t cook the eggs when added. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on low speed. Allow each egg to be completely absorbed into the pastry before adding the next.
Once all of the eggs are added your batter should look smooth and glossy. You are now ready to reserve it for later or use it immediately. I find that the batter works best if it has rested for at least an hour. But that’s not to say it won’t still work immediately.
There you have it! That simple. In less than 15 minutes you have pate a choux and you are ready to play with all it’s various applications to your hearts content. Each day this week I will bring you a new recipe based on pate a choux. So get ready. It is the week of pate a choux and all it can do!
Click here to find all of the pate a choux recipes! Or here are the individual posts:
- Eclairs with Espresso Glaze and Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- Homemade Beignets
- Sharp Cheddar and Thyme Cheese Puffs (Gougère)
- Classic Cream Puffs
- Pariesienne Gnocchi with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts
- Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream and Ganache
One year later: Angel Food Cake with Blueberry Ginger Sauce
One year ago: Granola Blondies
Two years ago: Meatloaf and Bell Pepper Relish with Cauliflower Puree
30 minPrep Time
30 minTotal Time
- Place water, butter, and salt in a sauce pot over medium high heat. Stir until butter is melted and everything comes to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add flour into the mixture all at once while stirring quickly. Continue to stir and cook off the moisture in the dough until it pulls away from the sides and starts to form into a ball. This should take about a minute.
- Place dough into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if using a hand mixer. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed, add eggs in one at a time. Do not add another egg until the one before has been completely absorbed into the batter. The batter will look smooth and glossy when ready. (Alternatively, you can mix in the eggs by hand. This just takes a bit longer. Mix each egg until completely absorbed before adding the next).
- Use immediately or store covered for up to 24 hours before use.
Products I used for this recipe…
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