The Mother of all recipes!
The recipes, beignets, crab puffs, Cream puffs, éclairs, Gnocchi, gougères, Paris-Brest, profiteroles, swans, Saint Honoré have the same recipe in common.
Call it choux pastry, pâte à choux, cream-puff dough or cream-puff pastry, this French recipe is the base of the above-named recipes and other recipes favored by chefdecuisine.com. Pâte à choux is cooked on top of the stove. You don't want to tamper with this jewel recipe. Pâte à choux is truly the Mother of all recipes. Only puff pastry can match the uniqueness of Pâte à choux.
The best tips for the success of Pâte à choux are simple:
1. Make sure the butter is cut into small pieces so it's completely melted by the time the water comes to a boil. Avoid the loss of water through evaporation as it would affect the results.
2. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. The mixture looks clumpy but quickly thickens into a mass that pulls away from the side of the pan.
3. Breaking and whisking the eggs in a bowl prior to beating in the dough is the best way to make Pâte à choux.
4. Gradually beat in eggs thoroughly with a wooden spoon. We favor the use of an electric mixer when the recipe is doubled, or made in larger quantities. After every addition, the mixture breaks into slippery lumps, and quickly thickens back together.
5. Finally, a pastry bag is the easiest way to shape the dough into small mounts, finger shaped éclairs or rings for St. Honoré.
Tap down slightly with a finger dipped in water before baking. When piped or spooned into little mounds and baked, the dough inflates to three times its size, forming crisp, hollow puffs.
Pastry cream and Chantilly cream are standard fillings for desserts cream puffs and éclairs. The fillings can vary from smoked salmon mousse, caviar, egg salad and other fillings that make delicious hors d'oeuvre profiteroles. The addition of grated Emmenthal cheese to the dough makes delicious beignets as hors d'oeuvre or appetizer.
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