In my continuous attempt to become a better baker, so that one day I can do what I love professionally, I thought it would be a good idea to get some sort of reference book that covers all the bases from different doughs and pastries to cakes, muffins, tarts and cookies and so on. I had thought of going with the Bo Friberg book but in the end I settled on the new book from the French Culinary Institute, which I have always dreamed of attending. The book is impressive in its 500+ pages with lots of colour pictures. I’ve only just scratched the surface of the book but I think it will be a good reference to have. As anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time will know I like to experiment, in the last year and a half I have cooked over 80 different recipes, and next on my list to tackle was Pate-a-Choux. Most pastry and doughs follow the same basic method but Choux pastry is completely different and actually a lot of fun to make. You bring water and butter to a boil and dump the flour in and then cook this paste before adding the eggs, off the heat, and then pipe it into the desired shapes. I would love to say that the profiteroles I made with the dough came out perfectly but I would be lying. I took the dough too far by adding too much egg meaning the batter was a bit too thin and the resulting profiteroles were a little flat for my liking. I may not have made a perfect pate-a-choux this time but I learnt a lot and next time I think I’ll have a lot more success.
Pâte à Choux (Choux Patry or Cream Puff Dough)
250g (8 3/4 Ounces) Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
¾ Tblsp Sugar
¾ Tsp Salt
340g (12 Ounces) Bread Flour, sifted
10 to 12 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1. Preheat your oven to 260C (500F) for convection or 233C (450F) for a conventional oven.
2. Line 2 baking sheets with either silicon or parchment paper and set aside.
3. Add the butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan along with 475 millilitres (1 pint) water. Over high heat bring to a boil. Do not allow to boil for any length of time as you don’t want to affect the proportion of liquid to dry ingredients. Once the mixture has reached a boil remove from the heat and dump in all the flour and beat with a wooden spoon.
4. Put the pan back over medium heat and continue to beat for 30 seconds. The mixture will thicken and dry out and should form a thin film on the base of the pan.
5. Use a rubber spatula scrape the mixture into the bowl of a mixer or a large mixer bowl. Beat the mixture either on medium-slow in the mixer or by hand until the mixture cools. The mixture needs to be cool to prevent cooking the eggs.
6. One by one add the eggs to the mixture beating each in well before adding another. You know you have added enough egg when a ribbon forms when you lift the beater. You can now ready pipe the dough into whatever shape you desire.
7. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and pipe into alternating rows of 1.3cm rounds onto the prepared baking sheets. Brush each lightly with egg wash.
8. If using a convection oven place the piped rounds into the oven and immediately switch the heat off. Bake for 15 mins the turn the heat to 177C (350F) and bake for about 25 mins or until golden brown and baked through. For a conventional oven bake in the preheated oven for about 40 mins until golden brown. Cool for 20 mins before filling.