Choux pastry isn’t made like other types of pastry. Here the fat is put into a pan with water and when this has boiled, the flour is poured in and the mixture beaten.
It’s really important that you only beat the flour until the pastry is smooth and it only takes a few seconds.If you carry on beating the mixture at this stage, the pastry won’t rise. As simple as that. You need to use plain flour to get a really crisp result plus you need a strong gluten rich flour that you can buy anywhere.
Only once the eggs have been added, can you beat the pastry thoroughly and at this stage you can use your electric mixer for the first time on slow.
When it gets to the cooking bit, bake it in a hot oven but on a rising temperature. In other words, bake them for 10 minutes at 200 C and then complete the baking period for the length of time in the recipe at 215 – 220 C.
This will give you a brown, crisp choux because, if it’s still pale when you take it out of the oven, believe me, it will collapse.
I also found that it’s best to bake these on a dampened baking sheet, in other words hold the sheet under the tap for a few seconds before you put them onto the sheet to bake them and then, my last tip, only once they have been baked, cooled down for a few seconds and removed from the tray, can you make a hole on the side of the pastry with a skewer (you can also use the point of thin knife) to release the steam and keep them crisp.
Don’t let them cool down completely and then try and make the hole because they’ll be all soggy by then. Of course you shouldn’t make more choux pastry than you need because it doesn’t keep well at all – you’ll need to use it within 2 – 3 hours and anyone that tells you that you can make your croquembouche in the morning before your dinner party is a bold faced liar.
Serve with a yellow custard like zabaglione or make your own version of puff pastry.
Mastering the choux pastry recipe means you can make light, puffy and crisp pastry desserts. A variety of pastry delights from cream puffs, eclairs, craquelin, profiteroles, and more can be created with this classic French dough.
So what makes choux pastry rise? It’s not baking powder, baking soda, yeast or any other raising agent. What makes choux pastry rise is actually the trapped air inside the dough.
You’ve baked a wonderfully crisp batch of choux pastries and now wondering about the best way to keep them crisp. The trick is to split them in half, scoop out any damp dough in the middle, put them in the oven on low heat for about 5 minutes, and then store them in airtight containers. When you are ready to serve, just pop them back to the oven on low heat for about five minutes and when done, you can pipe your favorite filling into those light and crispy shells.