Pâte à choux

OMG Choux!! 

Pâte à choux was invented in 1540 by Popelini, the italian cook of Catherine de Medecis.

Water, salt, sugar, butter, wheat flour and eggs. Basic ingredients and some chemistry: the starch from the wheat flour will react in contact with a boiling liquid (water) containing a fat source (butter), sugar and salt. This will result in a translucent dough called in pastry jargon ‘panade’.

To hydrate, soften and create air bubbles, some eggs will be integrated to the ‘panade’, slowly.

Once in the oven, the water will evaporate and the steam will push the dough inflating it and creating a beautiful hollow pastry ready to be filled.

Very important: all this humidity can hurt our choux. It's very important at that point to slightly open the door of the oven to leave the steam come out.
By the way, the Brazilian “pao de queijo” follow this same scheme.

My teacher is a very experienced pastry chef. He generously shared 2 secrets with us:

1. Replace part of the water with milk (50% 50%)
2. First integrate the yolks and then the whites

I've tried both tips and they really work well!

Eclairs au chocolat, Réligieuses au café and Salambo (filled with crème pâtissière, kirsch and glazed with caramel and almonds)

For (6 éclairs, 6 réligieuses and 6 salambos)

125 g of water
125 g of milk
4 g of salt
8 g of sugar
100 g of butter (in cubes)
150 g of flour
225 g of eggs (whites and yolks separated)

  1. Bring the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter to a boil.
  2. Add the flour in once and mix it vigorously (at this point the starch will react with the boiling liquid and create the panade). All the ingredients will get together in a ball shape. Leave it dry a little bit on the stove (30 secs)
  3. Right after mix it with the beater blade. After 30 secs start adding the eggs. First the yolks (one by one, leaving some seconds between each yolk) and then the whites (also little by little)
  4. The mix has to get to ribbon stage (add more eggs if needed). 
  5. The basic pâte à choux is ready to be used 
Options are numerous: besides the ones on the picture, here are some other desserts with choux:

Saint Honoré
Chouquettes (the one on the top of this post)

This dough can also be used for savory dishes. In single serving or as finger food. 



Meet the author

Hi there! I'm Lucia Tahara, welcome to my blog!

I'm a Brazilian living in France since 2002 and working as a Business Developer at Google.

This blog is about my 5 months sabbatical to become a pastry cook at the 'Institut National de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie', one of the best French pastry schools in the world.

Recipes, tips, techniques, video tutorials, but also posts related to the sabbatical experience will populate this space little by little.

My favorite pastries

Saint honoré
Macaron (coming soon)
Fraisier (coming soon)

Tutorial videos

Crème pâtissière (pastry cream)
Millefeuille (assembly)
Pâte feuilletée (puff pastry)
Choux dough (coming soon)
Sweet pie dough (coming soon)
More to come...