Choux pastry is a baking workhorse in disguise. Despite its fancy French name, it’s a simple dough made from humble ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. What’s more is that it easily transforms into a variety of treats—both sweet and savory.
All you need to make it is eggs, all-purpose flour, salt, and water or milk. Whether you use milk or water ultimately comes down to what you have on hand. Milk lends extra sugar and protein to the dough, which when baked, break down to form a beautiful golden brown crust through a process called the Maillard reaction. Water, on the other hand, creates a lighter choux pastry with a slightly crispier crust. Using half water and half milk is also an option, if you want to try to reap the benefits of both ingredients.
If you’re using milk, be sure to heat it up slowly to prevent scalding. Otherwise, it’s important to remember to stir vigorously until the sticky ball of dough forms around your spoon. Transfer it to the stand mixer and stir it slowly for about a minute to allow the mixture to cool down. Then proceed by slowly streaming in the eggs and increasing the speed to medium, until the choux emulsifies.
The finished choux pastry should be a smooth, shiny dough that isn’t too stiff. Since eggs vary by weight, it’s possible that you’ll need to incorporate an extra egg or two to achieve the right consistency. Keep a couple of extra on hand, in this case, adding them one at a time until the batter loosens up a bit. You’ll know all is well when you dip the paddle into the dough, lift it out, and some of the choux sticks to the paddle and hangs off in the shape of a ‘V.’
Turn the choux pastry into treats toting similarly fancy-sounding names: crullers, profiteroles, éclairs, or gougères—only you’ll know just how easy it was.
75 g flour
1 pinch salt
125 ml water
25 g butter
2 small bowls
stand mixer or hand mixer with beaters
Find the full recipe in the video.
Published on September 4, 2016