400 ml water
130g butter or block margarine
215g strong flour
6 med eggs
Prep to Cook:
Microwave jug, measure, hand held mixer, spatula, piping bag, knife, sharp knife, baking tray
Prep: Measure water in a large microwave jug.
Dice butter into small pieces. Add the diced pieces of butter to the water and heat it until bubbling.
It may take around 5 minutes on high.
Use an oven glove to hold the jug and remove it from the microwave.
You can boil the fat and water in a saucepan if that is easier.
Immediately tip in all the strong plain flour and mix together with a wooden spoon.
Beat like mad using an electric hand-held mixture until the dough is thick and rubbery.
Crack the six eggs (medium size ) in another jug and beat them well.
Add egg to the pastry dough a little at a time.
Stop adding the egg if the mixture becomes sloppy.
You can now fill a piping bag with the choux pastry or simply spoon it out.
Use a Teflon sheet or a piece of bakewell – mark a circle.
Spoon out blobs to create a choux ring.
Alternately, spoon or pipe individual blobs for profiteroles.
Cook it Gas Nos 7 or Electric 210 C for well on towards an hour.
Turn the oven down if the crust is browning too much.
After 30 minutes, work quickly and stab the sides of the choux pastry with a sharp knife.
Continue cooking until the pastry is firm and golden. Reduce the oven temperature.
Choux pastry making is a skill that requires accuracy in measuring and weighing. It also needs a judgement in knowing when to stop adding the egg. Once perfected it is a wonderful and versatile pastry.
Nutritionally the amount of fat in Choux pastry is around 50% rather similar to shortcrust but the addition of eggs enriches the pastry with proteins and some iron.
Cooks Know How: The characteristic shape of choux structure is formed due to the amount of water in the paste which turns into steam and puffs the proteins in the eggs and flour. The basis of choux pastry relies on the coagulation of egg protein and wheat protein in the flour after they have stretched and puffed out. It is clear to see that the oven temperature needs to be high in order to generate steam initially and then coagulate or set the stretched proteins to create the risen shape.
The outer crust browns due to the effect of heat on the starch. The cooking needs to be thorough in order to dry the pastry and firm up the risen shape. On cooling the steam evaporates and the pastry hardens. Empty pastry shapes can be frozen or stored for decoration and completion later.
I urge you to make Choux pastry several times to gain confidence and recognise the stages. You can use the pastry to make eclairs, profiteroles, swans, choux rings, choux doughnuts and for savoury mini eclairs or profiterols filled with cream cheese.