HOLIDAY TREATS – PATE CHOUX
Pate Choux or Choux Paste is the basis for many desserts and even entrees. Well-known popular items that are made with Choux Paste are Cream Puffs and Eclairs. The ChouX Paste Shells can be used as a holdEr for Creamed Dishes such as Turkey or Chicken Ala King and/or Lobster Thermidor, an old favorite from back in the forties and fifties.
Making Cream Puffs can be fun and is certainly a miraculous thing (for those who don’t know what is actually happening) to watch those globs of dough puff up into beautiful casings of rich pastry.
Cream Puffs and Eclairs are usually filled with a Vanilla Custard and then topped with a thin Chocolate Glaze. Other fillings can be Lemon or Orange Curd or even Ice Cream. Profiteroles are miniature Cream Puffs filled with Ice Cream and then frozen. They are usually served with a chocolate sauce.
THE INGREDIENTS THAT ARE NEEDED FOR A GOOD PATE CHOUX ARE:
Bread Flour – contains enough gluten to make sturdy walls
Butter or Vegetable Shortening
EQUIPMENT THAT IS NEEDED IS:
4 quart saucepan
Electric Mixer (optional)
Before starting to make the Pate Choux, your oven rack should be adjusted to the middle position and then preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pate Choux starts as boiling water and butter which is cooked with flour to make a paste. Flour is added to the boiling water/butter mixture and then vigorously stirred to form a paste. The paste should then be cooked for a minute or two to get rid of the starchy taste imparted from the flour. Once the paste is finished, you can let it cool for a minute or two.
At this point you start beating in the eggs. One egg should be beaten in at a time with a very vigorous action. While you are beating in the eggs, you are also beating in air and this is what makes your Pate Choux raise up. Without the air, you will just have flat pieces of a very eggy pastry, not much good for anything. Beating in the eggs by hand can be a very tiresome task, therefore, if you have a standing mixer or even a food processor, these tools can be used to beat the eggs in for you – still only one at a time.
The puffs need to be baked for a good forty minutes in order for the walls of the pastry to stand up. Once they are baked, they are then cooled. Some people like to remove the soft pieces of dough that remain inside once they are baked and then bake them again to dry out the insides. I for one, love the eggy taste of those pieces of dough and don’t want my puffs to be dry. This is a matter of personal taste and each baker will do what their preference is.
For uniform-looking shells, fit a large pastry bag with a large ST tip and then half fill it with the Pate Choux Dough. The shells can be formed by squeezing the Dough out of the bag. The shells can also be formed with a #30 Food Scoop or even soup spoons, depending of course on how large you want them to be.
Once the Pate Choux casings have cooled, they are then ready to fill. The featured Cream Puffs (at top of page) are filled with Chocolate Bavarian Cream http:chocolate-bavarian-cream/ and topped with a Chocolate Glaze.
To store unfilled Shells, be sure that they are completel cooled and then store in an airtight plastic bag, making sure that there is no moisture inside the bag. If the puffs are not completely cooled, then beads of moisture will appear on the sides of the bag. If this happends, open up the bag and let the puffs cool further.