basic choux pastry

cheese puffs

I made these cheese puffs on a whim after remembering what a good friend had recently commented about this recipe – it’s so easy and your arm will not break as you stir the paste. The last time I made choux pastry my arm almost fell off and my hand mixer almost died. This time round I had my stand mixer on hand and am glad this recipe had the option to use the stand mixer. The recipe is relatively easy and the results good. I have posted the basic choux pastry recipe but made it with cheese.

Basic Choux Pastry

Makes about 24 puffs

(taken from Ratio, by Micheal Ruhlman, p. 47-48)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces water
  • 4 ounces butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces flour
  • 8 ounces eggs (or 4 large eggs)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Bring the water, butter and salt to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour, and stir rapidly. The flour will absorb the water quickly and a dough will form and pull away from the sides. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two.
  3. Remove your pan from the heat and let it cool slightly, a few minutes. The paste needs to be warm to hot but not too hot that the eggs will cook.
  4. You can do this step by hand or in a stand mixer. Add the eggs in one at a time. The paste will go from shiny to flat, slippery to furry, when the eggs are fully in.
  5. On a parchment or Silpat, spoon out or pipe golf ball sized portions.
  6. Wet your finger with water or milk to smooth out the tops. Peaks can burn.
  7. Place the puffs in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350ºF and cook for 10-20 minutes longer, until done. Taste or cut into one to check if they are done. My puffs took about 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and filling them.
  9. You can also freeze the puffs and use them when needed. To reheat, place in microwave first for about a minute before transferring to the toaster oven.

Variations:

To make cheese puffs (gougères), add in 1.5 teaspoons of salt instead of the 1/2 teaspoon and add 1/2 cup of Parmesan or Gruyere cheese after mixing in the eggs.

You can also add in some black pepper and herbs to create a savoury canapé version of the cheese puffs.

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