Choux pastry

Choux pastry

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Choux pastry is softer than other pastries and is shaped with a spoon or by squeezing from a piping bag. When it is cooked, it swells into crisp golden shells that are hollow inside. The secret of making shells that will hold their shape is to be sure that the pastry is cooked and dry right through. A well-cooked shell should be golden-brown, firm to the touch and feel very light in the hand.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150g plain flour
250g water
125g butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 eggs

Method

  1. Sift flour onto a sheet of baking paper. Put water, butter, salt and sugar, if using, into a medium-size saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil (butter must be melted before water boils). Immediately remove from heat, tip in flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spatula.
  2. Return to heat and continue stirring until mixture forms a mass, leaves sides of saucepan and begins to film the bottom – this will take only a short time. Remove from heat and cool a little.
  3. Turn mixture into bowl of an electric mixer or leave in saucepan. Beat eggs together and add to dough, a little at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Do not add all the egg unless necessary; dough is ready when it is as shiny as satin and holds its shape on a spoon. Shape while warm.
  4. To cook, first place in a preheated very hot oven so that the pastry puffs quickly, then reduce heat to moderate so that pastry will cook without over-browning. To be fail-safe, leave cooked shells in the turned-off oven with door slightly open for 20 minutes to ensure that they are thoroughly dried out.
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