Cream Puffs

I can now make choux pastry. Say it with me: shoo, or shoe, if you like. Choux is French for cabbage, so named for the resemblance these pastries have to small cabbages. This patisserie staple was surprisingly easier to make than I’d imagined.

As always, I approached this recipe with my standard “no fear” motto. What was the worst that would happen, I wondered? I suspected that perhaps my choux buns wouldn’t rise, having seen more than one baker fall victim to flat choux on The Great British Baking Show. But rise they did! And once they cooled, I filled them with pastry cream, and I’m here to tell you that I’m never going to be the same again. This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe, just cut in half to yield a smaller batch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Pastry cream, for filling

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Return to heat and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball. This will only take a minute or so.

Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes, until it reaches about 140 degrees. Transfer to a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat in one egg; the mixture will look curdled, but keep beating for about 30 seconds, then add the second egg and beat for 2 minutes more. The mixture will even out and turn into a smooth batter.

Transfer batter to a piping bag and pipe into 1- to 1 1/2-inch rounds. Wet the tip of your finger and lightly press any sharp peaks down.

Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake 15 minutes more. Turn off your oven, open the door a crack (I used a bamboo spoon to hold the door open just a bit) and allow the choux to cool inside the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

To fill, you can either pipe pastry cream into each choux bun from the bottom, or split the pastries and fill them from the middle. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Makes about 12, depending on how large you pipe your rounds.

Filled cream puffs – yay!

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