I borrowed Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" from the library a few weeks ago and of course I turned to the sweet section first. A lot of Julia Childs' recipes are quite complicated and require a lot of steps and a lot of measurement converting on my part. After watching Rachel Khoo make chouquettes, I knew making the pastry dough for profiteroles would not be so hard. In fact, it is a real breeze. Pâte à choux is a pastry dough that is used to make chouquettes, eclairs, profiteroles, and croquembouches to name a few. So learning how to make this dough could come in handy!
Pâte à Choux (adapted from Julia Child)
Makes about 24 small puffs
1 cup water
86g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 218C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan/pot together with the butter, salt, and sugar and boil slowly until the butter has melted. Meanwhile, measure out the flour.
Remove the boiling mixture from the heat and immediately pour in all of the flour at once. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for several seconds to blend thoroughly. Then beat over a moderately high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and the spoon, forms a mass, and begins to coat the bottom of the pan.
Remove saucepan from the heat and stir the dough for a minute or two to help it cool down slightly. Make a well in the center of the dough before beating the first egg into the pastry until it is absorbed. Continue with the rest of the eggs beating them in one by one. the third and fourth eggs will be abosrbed more slowly. Beat until everything is blended and the dough is smooth.
Scrape the dough into a piping bag (with or without a large round tip) and pipe puffs that are 1 and a half inches in diameter or whatever size you would like them. Brush with an eggwash if desired. (You will need another egg for this, I skipped this step.)
Bake at 218C for about 20 minutes. The puffs are done when they have doubled in size, are golden brown, and firm and crusty to the touch. Remove them from the oven, turn off the heat, and pierce the side of each puff with a sharp knife to release the steam. Then place the puffs back in the oven and leave the door ajar for 10 minutes. Cool the puffs on a rack. Use the same day, or freeze them to use at a later time. (If you go the freezing route, put the frozen puffs in the oven for a few minutes to recrisp them.)
To turn my little puffs into profiteroles, I just cut a little slit in them and filled it with a spoon of vanilla ice cream and topped them with a sprinkling of icing sugar and some raspberries.