Choux Pastry is kind of miraculous when you think about it. You add a few typical suspects: water, butter, flour, eggs to heat and make an endless array of puffed up creations. They can be filled, coated, assembled into creatures–even used to construct a festive wedding cake (google croquembouche!) Sweet or salty, mammoth or petite- the applications are really endless.
I’ve always felt right at home making choux pastry –Dunkin Donuts has nothing on homemade eclairs and don’t get me started on the wonders of fresh baked gougeres with wine! For those of you know familiar with it, choux dough (pronounced “shoo”) is made by melting butter in water and bringing to a light boil. The flour is then added and mixed (still over low heat) until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the edges of the pan. Next the eggs are gradually mixed in, until you get a smooth, soft but slightly firm dough that holds it’s shape when piped out.
Since I’m rather well versed in making choux, I spent the week building on that knowledge, whipping up various traditional French creams, praline from scratch and oh- the caramel!
Here are some of the highlights from Choux Pasty Week:
Freshly baked eclairs on the cooling rack.
Classic eclairs, long choux pastry, filled with classic pastry cream and coated in white fondant. These are the standard patisserie fare in France, but I’m still partial to chocolate ganache glaze from the US instead of the fondant coating.
Miniature St Honore: Pate Sable base with Choux pastry ring and choux puffs attached with caramel. Piped with diplomat cream.