Choux is a light, crisp pastry dough said to have been invented by an Italian chef in the 16th century.
In the French kitchen, Pâte à Choux is baked to make profiteroles, eclairs, Paris Brest and the famous towering croquembouche, also known as a French wedding cake. A savoury version, gougére, contains cheese and sometimes herbs and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
In the Spanish and Latin American kitchen churros are a fried form of choux.
In many Eastern European cultures, choux is boiled or steamed to make sweet and savoury dumplings.
Profiteroles with cream and chocolate
75g butter, diced
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (190ml) water
¾ cup (110g) plain flour
Whipped cream, to serve
Melted dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 200⁰C (180⁰C fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place diced butter, salt and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and remove immediately from heat.
- Add flour, all at once, and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan to form a ball (called a panade). Continue to beat for 30 seconds to one minute over low heat to allow the mixture to dry.
- Still using the wooden spoon, beat three eggs into the dough, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Break remaining egg into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add enough of this egg to the dough to make a mixture that is very shiny and just falls from the spoon. (All the reserved egg may not be needed. If too much is added, the dough cannot be shaped. If too little is added, the dough will not rise well.)
- Using two teaspoons, place small mounds of dough well apart on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Alternatively put dough into a pastry bag fitting with a 1cm plain tube and pipe dough into 3.5cm mounds. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffs are firm and brown.
- (Choux pastry invariably looks done before it is ready and must continue to ‘dry’ for five to ten minutes after it has browned. Cracks will appear and these too should be brown).
- Transfer puffs to a rack to cook and split them while they are still warm to release the steam and prevent softening. To store, place in an airtight container when cold. Do not fill more than one to two hours before serving. Then either use stiffly beaten cream, flavoured with a little sugar and vanilla or orange rind and Cointreau or make crème pâtissiere