You totally know what this is, you probably just don’t know it by its fancy-pants official French name.
Pâte à choux (pronounced “pot a shoo”) is the pastry used to make delicious goodies like profiteroles, cream puffs, and eclairs. It puffs like a bubble as it bakes and leaves the center open so we can fill it with wonderful things. See? You love this stuff!
But wait! There’s more! This pastry can also be made savory, either by adding ingredients like cheese and herbs or by using savory fillings instead of sweet.
Such a versatile recipe will come in so handy for the upcoming holiday season. You can make all sizes and shapes of these puffs. You can fill them with whipped cream, iced cream, or chocolate mousse. Even dip them in chocolate. The same puffs can be sliced and topped with sandwich fillings like curried chicken or deviled ham for the cutest little sandwiches. Or serve them filled with pâté or salmon mousse. The possibilities are endless.
Pate a Choux
Yield: 36 small pastries
Time: 1 hour
What You’ll Need:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
In a medium saucepan bring 1 cup water, butter and salt to a boil. Remove from heat. Plop the flour in all at once and stir quickly with a wooden spoon. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F. or the eggs will cook and not incorporate. Raise speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, it’ll look like a curdled mess at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for 2 minutes after adding the last egg.
For small sized puffs like the spiders pictured; make mounds using a generous teaspoon of dough. Use dampened fingers or two spoons to round each ball of dough and drop it onto the prepared parchment paper.
Bake the small pastries for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until pastries are golden brown. Don’t open the oven door while the pastries are baking.
Remove the pastries from the oven. Make a small slit in the side of each, and return them to the oven for 5 minutes, this allows the steam to escape. Place them on a rack to cool.
To make Halloween spiders: add ½ cup parmesan, ½ teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning to dough. Use chow mein noodles for legs and olive pieces for eyes. For larger pastries, use a tablespoon measure and bake for 15 minutes at 425°F and then for 25 minutes at 350°F. For éclairs, pipe the batter into 5-inch logs about a half-inch in diameter.
Fabulous Festive Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.