Pate a choux is a simple and timeless dough that lies at the basis of all pastry and is a strong contender for most versatile product in any pastry chefs’ ability. Elegant eclairs, plump profiteroles, delectable croquembouche, Alsatian tarts, crispy churros, and even decorative lace finishes are only a small sampling of what choux can do. Or you can mix it with your cheese of choice for an irresistible savory appetizer known as gougeres.
- 8 ounces milk
- 4 ounces butter
- 5 ounces flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 4 large eggs
- up to a 2 cups of grated cheese
- Additional spices as desired
Heat milk and butter together in a large pot over medium high heat until it boils.
Remove from heat and add flour and spices in one pour.
Mix quickly to form a dense ball of dough.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until there is a very thin film on the bottom of the pot, typically 5 minutes.
Completely remove from heat and stir with a strong spoon to reduce the heat, then add the eggs in single increments. The dough will break into large chunks and look greasy with each egg, but will come back together into a smooth paste when it is ready for the next addition.
Add the cheese and mix to incorporate fully.
Place the choux paste into piping bag and pipe onto parchment lined pans destined for the oven. Alternatively, you can scoop them if you don't have a piping bag but it is a bit more difficult to handle. For any lumps or misshapen choux simply wet your finger and dab to smooth your piping.
Bake at 375F until the outside is golden-brown-delicious then reduce the heat to 300F and continue baking until the gougers are light, delicate, and the inside is completely dried.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before enjoying.
As a general rule, can alter the types of liquids and fats used in most recipes. If you want a crunchier choux, use a lower fat liquid. If you want a sweeter product, add up to 1/2 cup sugar to the basic recipe. Pate a choux freezes very well for that reserve treat. Simply heat in a 350F oven until it is toasted and warmed through.