Sunday, May 6, 2012

How to make Choux Pastry - Random Sunday



I think this is the recipe that I recieve the most questions about, mostly on technique.
Choux Pastry is the basic pastry dough for profiteroles(cream puff), beignets, eclairs, churros, french crullers and Gateau St. Honore. It just depends on how it is piped and cooked (baked or fried).

Last December, for my 3rd Uncle's 3 year Memorial Service, I was in charge of the refreshments after the service. I prepared 4 items, Kek Batik/ Hedgehog slice, Wholemeal Cha Siew Pau (recipe to be coming up much later), Sambal Bilis Sandwiches and the last item is this. Choux puffs filled with strawberry cream. I chose to make cream puffs because I could make them way ahead.

The basic recipe that I've been using all along is from The Golden Book of Desserts(Publisher: Page One). The cover of the book that you see on Amazon is different than what I have, but the inside looks the similiar. It is actually the same, just that it wears a different attire.

I don't recommend this book if you are a newbie as the instructions can be vague and some important steps are missing. For example, non-churned ice cream recipes don't mention for the custard to be chilled and the whipped cream is folded in right after the custard is cooked! This is a true disaster for new bakers. But I'd say, the pictures in the book is very very pretty, very inspirational.

Buy this if you can guess the method just by seeing the ingredients or you've made something similiar and you know the proper steps. If not, don't. I didn't notice the flaws when I bought it. I was too enchanted with the variations of recipes and the salivating pictures.

Basic Choux Pastry
Recipe adapted from Golden Book of Desserts

150g all purpose flour (9.8% protein)
90g salted butter
250ml water
10g sugar
4 Grade A eggs (about 63gm each, shells on)


Note: I was doing double batch in the pictures for my uncle's memorial service.

 


1. Sift flour to remove clumps and mix with sugar, set aside.
2. Bring water and butter to a boil on low heat.
3. When butter has fully melted, dump (1) in at one go. Stir immediately with a wooden spoon, and continue to stir until a dough is formed, and it leaves the sides of the pot.


4. Remove pot from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. (I just whack it until it turns warm)
5. Beat in eggs one by one, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat mixture until it is smooth and glossy.




6. Pipe or spoon mixture onto baking trays, about the size of a small lime/calamansi 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in a preheated oven of 190C for 10 mins and 170C for another 15 mins.(Nowadays I bake for 180C(fan)/200C for 20 minutes, time depending on size. Very large ones will need an hour)
7. (find a vulnerable area on the puff) Cut a small slit immediately upon removal from oven to release steam from inside the puff.
8. Leave to cool down totally before piping in the filling.



Notes:
1. I don't bother about whether the eggs are cold or not.
2. I just whack the dough(after cooking) to warm enough not to cook eggs and I'll start putting in the eggs, one by one. Whacking it speeds up the cooling and I'm lazy to wait.
3. I bake my puffs until they feel really light.
4. If they are baked thoroughly enough, they will soften after being filled, but won't turn soggy, just nice and with a good chew.
5. Don't subsitute the water with milk. Milk burns at high temperatures. You need the high temperature for a good puff!
6. Don't put in more sugar. Sugar will cause the puffs brown too much before they even dry out.
7. It's ok to use spoon instead of piping them out.
8. I use any tip I like as long as it's big enough. My tips are not branded, hence, no number to provide.
9. Hand mixers probably is better off with half of this amount. The final whacking is quite stressful to the hand mixer. Mine smelled when  I did it last time with the whole recipe. Half is fine.
10. If you choose to use unsalted butter, put in 1/4 tsp salt into the cooked mixture.
11. If you can't bake them all together, you can bake it tray by tray, the piped dough can withstand waiting, but don't let it be exposed and dry up. Best is, pipe before you bake to reduce the need of covering the piped ones.
12. Puffs can be baked ahead of time before filling. If I'm making this for a party, I bake them 1-2 days ahead and keep in an air tight container at room temperature. If any longer, just store them in the fridge, but they can get quite bulky. Filled puffs must be chilled. Leftover filled ones can be frozen. I've kept some frozen for months and they still taste good.





I've also made piped some to be looooong and sprinkled them with sugar. Sadly the sugar melted, but it made the crust extra crunchy. We had these plain, unfilled.

Check out my pastry recipes to see more variations.

beautiful big cave to fill with delicious cream of choice

And these long ones were attacked by the just bathed choux monsters...ignore their uncombed state.






44 comments:

  1. Aha, they look so cute eating the little puffs! ^^ I've been trying to make these types for a long time - but with a thicker skin so that I can shape them a bit better...your tutorial gives me a lot of ideas!

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  2. AikoVenus,
    with a thicker skin so that you can shape them better?
    What do you mean by this? You can't really shape the "dough" besides only by piping or spooning, you can't be moulding it with your hands. Nor can you control how thick the wall can be unlike making bread where you wrap less dough around the filling.

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  3. Thanks for this post! Your choux is ever so beautifully piped out and well done! I loves choux and eclairs. When Im staying in overseas, I used to buy this to chomp down..... Your two girls are sweet looking girls.

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  4. I was looking up some recipes to make this choux pastry last night as I wanted to make some for mother's day. Yours look perfectly done. Thanks for sharing this.

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  5. Lovely. I think they will be good even without the fillings. Are they?

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  6. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I was wondering why is that my choux stick on the parchment paper? The top was beautifully golden but the base sticks.

    Sigh......

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  7. Oh must cook the dough first? For steps #7, must make a slit on each puffs?

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  8. Oh the kids are so lucky to have the delicious pastry. i love to try them too.

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  9. Hi Wen,

    The puffs looks so delicious. Love to see the photo of your kids having the fresh, warm puffs just after their bath :)

    Btw, may I ask what brand oven you are using for your bakes?

    Also, have you ever considered giving baking lessons as a job? I think you are really good in baking and sharing information on your web. Why not organize baking classes at your home.

    Sally

    Regards,
    Sally

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  10. Good info, long time didn't bake liao.....mmmm, gotta start soon.....

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  11. My daughter is a choux monster too; devours my unfilled cases mercilessly.

    Any chance that you will be sharing the recipe for the strawberry cream filling? I'm getting bored with durian and chocolate ganache.

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  12. Hey, I baked cream puff for our tea-time today... yet to post d entry... My recipe, with no sugar... should try yours..

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  13. i've always had problems with making choux pastry for some reason but i'm feeling slightly more confident after reading your detailed instructions! gonna try it out this weekend :)

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  14. Mel,
    It's easy to eat and yet to pricy to pay haha, the chomping is not cheap, right?


    Li Shuan,
    I'm glad I'm of help.
    Hope this recipe works for you


    WyYv,
    Oh yes, good enough even w/o the fillings.


    Han Annie,
    Parchment shouldn't stick. Greaseproof paper will stick. I hope you bought the right paper.


    Angeline,
    If you don't make also ok geh, but the recipe source says make, so that the steam can be released. It has some logic to it.


    love2dine,
    make some then you can have it too


    Sally,
    Haha, who would want to drive all the way here?
    It's not a good idea to have strangers at your home. My oven is a built in Bosch. You can search for the info in my About


    Pete,
    aiyo why so long never bake?


    Eleen,
    it's just pureed strawberries with whipped dairy cream stabilized with some gelatin.


    ogyep,
    It's ok to be w/o sugar. Mine is just a little bit of sugar just to let it have some taste.


    Janine,
    Once you get the hang of it, it is soooooooooooo easy. This is the only recipe I've ever used and I'm happy with it.
    I don't bother with the recipes that ask one to visually judge how much more egg to add.
    This is just nice for me.

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  15. Does these stayed crunchy even when cooled? I love those sold outside where the pastry is still crunchy even when cooled.

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  16. Hi Wendy... lovely looking puffs you've got here..

    So cutelah your darling 'choux monsters' punya wet look... hehehe...

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  17. Jeannie,
    It depends on how well you baked them.
    If it's underbaked, all puffs will be soggy.
    If the puff is baked until it dries up, then it will be crunchy.
    It also depends on how you keep it.


    Mamafami,
    Adui.. those choux monsters are sometimes really monsters, LOL. Their wet look is because of this lazy mommy.

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  18. no need filling..can eat a whole bunch at one go! those long ones remind me of churros..but i havent tried eating churros though..

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  19. lena,
    I wanted to try making churros too, but thinking of deep frying, sien.

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  20. Thanks for replying! I was kind of thinking cream puffs like these - http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NFErStI6lM8/TKxV3oC9BZI/AAAAAAAAAE0/BSLxHuQRARo/s1600/IMG_4597.JPG I'm sure that they're factory made/made with a mold but it still bothers me a bit. ^^;

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  21. AikoVenus,
    Oh like this. You can try piping it with a round tip, then add two ears to it .
    I've seen some doing pikachu with choux pastry

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  22. Awesome recipes! I'm going to try soon. My most favorite part of your post? The 2 little testers ;-)

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  23. hahahah...your kids r so adorable :)
    thks Wendy for the tips...i never made choux pastry with mixer, usually after the dough is cool enough, i mix the eggs and stir with wooden spoon only
    will give your method a try :)

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  24. Hi Wen,

    Yes, I do agree with you. Some of us are not so comfortable in having strangers over to our house. Externally everyone may look like normal humans, but we will never know who they are deep in their hearts. One of my baking teacher in Singapore, she conducts baking lesson in her house, but during registration, she require us to provide her with our IC number, handphone number, home address. I think it is for safety reasons.

    Sally

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  25. thank you for the picture tutorial!! <3

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  26. your kids with pink shirt..always with the "wet" look hairstyle!! cute!!

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  27. Aw!

    The last picture is so cute :)

    I have an awesome recipe for churros that I make with choux dough but strangely enough a lot of people don't use choux dough.. they use an eggless dough. Strange, right?

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  28. Thanks Wendy for sharing this tutorial with us.
    Can you tell what is the tip size/brand you using? Any advice on how to cut the pipping bag properly? my batter always squeeze out between the pipping bag and the tip, when I re-use the bag for a 2nd time.

    Stephie

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  29. Experimental cook,
    Haha, those 2 choux monsters.


    Alice,
    the mixer will give better results, because of the intense beating to form gluten. Better gluten, better structure, better texture.


    Pei San,
    Aiyor, where got always, LOL. sometimes only.


    Ilan,
    I tot churros was always with an eggy choux dough? Hmm.. sorry I've never eaten churros before :)


    Stephie,
    Please refer Note #8.
    Push the tip snugly to fit. I don't know of any other to way to cut besides using the scissors. Just snip it just like that.

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  30. Thanks for the detailed post and your little ones are too cute :)

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  31. hey this recipe is a definite keeper!!! thanks wendy.

    btw, some books call for sprinkles of water just before baking. necessary? mine also turned out with a big hole the last time i tried. is that correct?

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  32. Ronni,
    I don't know about the water part, I have always used this recipe and done it this way.
    You need the hole to fill with cream :)
    One big hole is good, not multiple holes.

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  33. Hi Wendy,

    May I know how many puffs does this recipe yield? I saw some durians in the market this morning, plan to buy some and make durian puffs after seeing your post here.

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Lynn

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  34. Hi Wendy,

    Another question, sorry to bother you.

    The baking time for conventional oven is 200C for 20 mins?

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Lynn

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  35. lynn,
    How many depends on how big you pipe them.
    The smaller u pipe, the more puffs u have.
    But one portion of the recipe makes enough puffs to fill a 9 inch cake box, like what you see in the corn custard puffs post.
    Yes, if it's a conventional oven, use 200C for 20 mins or until it is light (in weight) and golden in colour

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  36. Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    Regards,

    Lynn

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  37. AWWW! Your girls are absolutely adorable! <3

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  38. Hi Wendy,

    I made Durian Puffs yesterday with the Basic Choux Pastry recipe. It was very easy compared to other recipes that I had tried previously.

    Thanks for the detailed guides for the recipe. =)

    Regards,
    Lynn

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  39. Lynn,
    thanks for the feedback.
    I guess some other recipes call for visual estimation, and that makes it hard.

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  40. Hi,

    I have followed your method to the T but somehow my batter is runny and watery, unlike yours which was stiff enough to form the swirly shape when you piped it out. Would like to know why mine became so runny. The dough was a dry lump but it only became runny when I incorporated the eggs. The dough was still a bit warm when I put in the eggs. Should I wait until it is completely cold? Thanks!

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  41. world angel,
    I hope you didn't accidently added an extra egg.

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  42. Nope, I am pretty sure I used the amount you suggested. I even weighed it to ensure that it matched the weight you stated in the recipe. Not too sure what went wrong :/

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  43. worldangel,
    If the cooked dough looks just like mine, then I really have no idea. The only time mine was runny was when I accidently cracked an extra egg in, I used 5 instead of 4.

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  44. Thanks for your post. I always do the choux when in oven it rises. But when I take them out of the oven it sinks. WHy is that so?

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