Choux pastry

On this page:

Choux pastry, sweet and savoury.
Eclairs, Cream Buns, Profiteroles.
Cheese Fritters, Cheese Puffs (Gougeres)
Mornay/Bechamel Sauce.
Gnocchi Parisienne.
Choc Coating, Chocolate Sauce.

CHOUX PASTRY 

  •   60g     (21/2 oz)            Strong White (Bread)Flour                                          
  • 150ml     (5fl oz)            Cold Water.
  •   50g          (2oz)            Butter  or Lard. 
  • 2 medium Eggs.           

Method 

  • Weigh and sift the flour into a bowl, put to one side.
  • Put the water and butter into a medium sized saucepan. Place on a low heat to melt the fat, increase the heat to bring the mixture to the boil.
  • Add the flour to the boiling fat/water, stirring in using a wooden spatula/spoon.
  • Lower the heat and beat the mixture vigorously to form a smooth ball of paste (roux) that leaves the side of the saucepan clean,.This should take no more than 1 minute- do not overcook.
  • Remove from the heat and tip into a cool mixing bowl.Before adding the egg, allow to cool. The egg will start to cook if you add it to the hot paste. 
  • A good way to test if the paste is cool, place the inside of your wrist on the paste,if you cannot leave your wrist comfortably for 10 seconds it is still too hot. 
  •  Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl so that the yolks and whites are evenly mixed together.
  • Return the paste to the now cooled saucepan
  • Gradualy add the egg in 5 lots, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  • When all the egg is added, the mixture needs to be beaten by hand for at least 2 minutes, this will develop the gluten in the flour and produce a glossy, pipeable consistency.

   


Equipment 

Scales - Saucepan - Wooden Spoon/ Spatula - mixing bowl - basin- measuring jug,  piping (savoy )bag. plain and serated nozles/tubes -  baking sheet - bakingparchment or silicone matt

Production Points.

Make sure that the fat is melted  before the water boils. Allowing the water to boil for too long will reduce the volume in the form of steam which is required to aerate the finished product.

The principle of aeration in this product is Physical.

50%, 75%, or 100% wholemeal flour may be used.

Possible faults.......

Greasy and heavy: basic mixture over-cooked.

Soft- not aerated: flour insufficiently cooked, eggs insufficiently beaten in the mixture, oven too cool, under-baked.

 

 


Eclairs ( Yield 14) 

Pipe out the pastry into finger shapes on a clean, or baking parchment lined, baking sheet/tray, approx 9cm (31/2in) long using using a savoy bag fitted with a 11/4-cm (1/2in) plain tube. (traditionaly piped in a dog bone shape rather than a straight finger shape) evenly spaced allowing for expansion.

Bake at  220C, fan 200C, 430F for approx 15-20 minute. Do not open oven door before 15 minutes to ensure that all steam created is retained.

On removing from the oven, allow to cool before handeling to avoid damage.

When cold, split open with a knife.

Fill with either whipped, sweetened fresh dairy cream or confectionery custard. The cream can be added with a spoon but for best results, pipe using a star tube.

Dip the base of the eclair in (a) Melted Chocolate

                     116g/4oz Dark Chocolate ,   30ml/ 2 tbsp water,  28g/1oz Butter.

Place the chocolate and water into a basin, set over a pan of hot water (Bain-marie)  making sure the hot, not boiling, water does not touch the bottom of the basin containing the chocolate. Melt stirring, on a very low heat, until smooth and then add the butter and stir until combined.  Do not let the chocolate get too hot as it will become unworkable                                                   

                                                (b) Chocolate flavoured fondant icing.

                                                  (c) Chocolate Icing.

                                               Allow to set before serving.

The base of the eclair is flat and allows you to give a better finish, however it is perfectly acceptable to coat the top for a more rustic appearance.


Cream Buns. (yield 12)

Pipe on to a clean, or baking parchment lined baking tray,  rosettes or bulbs using a savoy bag  with a 11/4 cm (1/2 in) star tube. They need to be spaced to enable inverted bread tins to cover the buns. This stop  the steam from escapeing.

After covering bake in oven 230C, fan 210C, 450F for approx 20 minutes.

 As they are baked under tins ,take care when removing from the oven and lifting the tins, as there will be a lot of steam involved. Do not be tempted to take out of the oven before 20 minutes as they are likely to collapse.

If after the 20 minutes the buns are not baked , return to the oven, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes.

When cold, split open with a knife and fill with whipped sweetened dairy cream.

Replace the top and dust with icing sugar, alternatively the top can be coated as with eclairs or spun with melted chocolate or piped with chocolate fondant. 


Profiteroles.

Using a savoy bag fitted with a plain tube 11/4 cm (1/2in) pipe on to a clean, or baking parchment lined, baking tray, smal bulbs of paste evenly spaced allowing for expansion. If a savoy bag is not available, spoon out small amounts on to the prepaired tray.

 Bake 220C, fan 200C, 430F for 15-20 minutes.

After baking, allow to cool before filling with whipped cream or confectioners custard, this can be piped in having made a small incession or cut in half ,as for eclairs.

Place a number of these in a dish and to finish, pour over a chosen chocolate sauce.

Choc sauce.

  • 50g/2oz granulated sugar
  • 100ml/4oz water.
  • 150g/5oz Dark chocolate.(broken up or grated)
  • 25g/1oz Butter.
  • 45ml/3tbsp Double cream.

Place the sugar and water into a pan and gently heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 3 mins approx.Remove from heat and add the chocolate and butter and stir until smooth. Finaly stir in the cream until blended.


Savouries from choux paste.

Cheese Fritters. Cheese Puffs. Gnocchi parisienne.

There are many savoury choux recipes available but the principle  is based on the recipe above with the addition of cheese, seasoning ,herbs etc.. There can also be a number of ways in which it is cooked. For example the fritters will be fried in deep fat, the puffs are baked in the oven and the Gnocchi is poached in water. Given below is a suitable recipe for any of these end products.


  •         125ml (4!/2 oz)  Water.
  •           35ml (11/2 oz) White wine or milk.
  •           1/2 Tspn Salt.
  •           56g (2oz)  Unsalted butter.
  •           75g ( 21/2 oz) Strong white flour.
  •         125g (41/2oz) ± Egg  (2 Large eggs)
  •          (crack eggs into a container and gently blend together)
  •           ---------------------------------------
  •         30g (11/4oz ) strong hard cheese.(grated)
  •         (Mature Cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan )
  •        Finely chopped Herbs, ideally fresh, of your choice such as chives, parsley . 
  •        Seasoning to taste black pepper, Cayenne pepper,Pimento etc.    
  •   

 Using the method given above, mix as instructed   to the right consistency and then add the grated cheese  herbs and seasoning. Give a final mix to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Cheese puffs (Gougeres)

Using a savoy bag fitted with a plain tube 11/4 cm (1/2in) pipe on to a clean, or baking parchment lined, baking tray, smal bulbs of paste evenly spaced allowing for expansion. If a savoy bag is not available, spoon out small amounts on to the prepaired tray, a small ice cream scoop could also be used.

When piped, gently egg or milk wash, flattening any peeks as you go to give a nice round bulb.

Finally sprinkle grated cheese on the egg washed bulbs.

 Bake 220C, fan 200C, 430F for 15-20 minutes.

These can be eaten as they are but are much improved by filling with a Bechamel/Mornay sauce in the same way as Profiteroles are filled with Dairy cream .Another way is to cut the top third off, add such things as finely chopped smoked salmon, seafood, cooked meats to the sauce, pipe in and then return the top as a lid. These are just a few ideas to get you started. This is a very versatile product.

Cheese Fritters.

Using the above mixing, drop teaspoon size amounts ,carefully, into deep fat/oil 180C /360F and fry for aprox 10 mins, turning after 5 mins. When cooked remove and allow to drain on kitchen paper . Lightly salt to taste and serve warm, as they are ,or with an appropriate sauce, as required. 

Gnocchi Parisienne.

Using the above mixing.

  • Place the mixing in a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 cm (1/4in) plain tube.
  • Pipe out in 1cm (1/2in) lengths into a shallow pan of gently simmering salted water not boiling).
  • Cook approx 9-10 mins , remove from water and allow to drain in a colander or similar.
  • Combine carefully with a bechamel/mornay sauce
  • Place into heat proof dish, sprinkle with grated cheese
  • Brown under a hot grill and then serve.

Mornay Sauce.

  • 20g/1oz Plain flour.
  • 20g/1oz Butter.
  • 200ml/10oz (half pint) Milk (warmed)
  • 40g/2oz Grated cheese.
  • 1Egg Yolk.
  • Pinch grated Nutmeg.
  • -------------------------------------
  • Melt the butter in a pan, when melted stir in the flour.
  • Cook for approx 2 mins over a gentle heat, making sure it does not colour.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Gradually add the warmed milk stirring/whisking till smooth.
  • Increase the heat and bring to simmer, stirring all the time.
  • The sauce should start to thicken,do not boil or allow the sauce to burn in the pan.
  • Continue cooking for approx 4mins over a gentle heat and continue to to stir.
  • Stir in the grated cheese and egg yolk to clear.
  • Remove from the heat and add any additional seasoning to taste.
  • Cover the surface with film or lightly buttered parchment to avoid skinning whilst cooling.
This sauce can then be thinned, with the addition of a little milk or cream to a pouring consistency, or
it can be allowed to cool and then used in a piping bag to fill the puffs.
As stated it can be used as a base for a number of ingredients to give variety to the end product.
It can also be stored in a lidded container and refrigerated for up to 5 days, gently rewarming in a pan and stirring  continuously . Do not however allow to boil and ensure that it does not "catch" on the the bottom of the pan.

Note: Choux pastry can be frozen, after piping the required shape , unbaked. Simply pipe the product you require ,such as profiteroles on to a tray and place them in the freezer. after about 30 mins they should be frozen enough to remove from the tray and then stored in a Freezer bag When required simply place onto a suitable lined or  lightly greased, baking sheet and bake from Frozen.