Thursday, March 02, 2006

Pate A Choux

Choux Paste
makes 24 profiteroles, 8 t0 10 large puffs, or 48 miniature eclairs

Position a rack in the lower third of the ovem. Preheat the oven to 400º.
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
Combine in a large saucepan:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk (I used 1% with success)
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt (I reduced this to 1/4 tsp and added 2 tsp. sugar)

Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium heat. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook and stir the mixture for about 1 minute, to eliminate excess moisture. The butter may ooze out, which is fine; it simply means that the moisture is evaporating. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat in 1 at a time by hand, with a wooden spoon, or on low speed with a mixer:
4 large eggs

Make sure the paste dough is smooth before adding the next egg. Beat the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Choux paste can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours. When it is cold, you do not need to bring it to room temperature before shaping.

Scoop the paste into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1 inch tip for large eclairs/puffs or 1/2 inch tip for smaller ones. For best results bake small puffs on ungreased baking sheets, larger puffs on greased and floured baking sheets. Pipe the desired shapes onto your baking sheets, using a finger dipped in cold water to smooth the tops. If desired, brush with an egg wash, taking care to keep the egg from touching the baking sheet.

Bake in a 400º oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350º and bake for another 15 minutes for small puffs, and 25 to 30 minutes for larger puffs. Bake until golden brown and very firm to the touch. To allow more room for filling, you will want to dry the puffs further. For smaller puffs pop them off the sheets and poke a small hole in the bottom of the puffs, using a skewer or paring knife. Place upside down on the baking sheets and return to the oven(while it is off) for another 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, remove to a cooling rack to finish the cooling. To fill, use the hole that you already poked in, or split in half.

Once baked and filled, choux pastries should be served immediatley, or refrigerated and served within several hours. However, unfilled baked shells can be frozen for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

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