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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simple Pate a Choux and Cheese Puffs

Pate a Choux Recipe

Update 11/17/11 I’m re-posting this recipe from 2009 – it’s perfect for Thanksgiving dinner – 3-ingredient recipe with impressive results. Add cheese to make Cheese Puffs – gougeres!

Update 12/8/09 I’m thrilled to share that I’m a featured blogger for Oprah’s Holiday 2009 where this recipe is being featured!

Pâte à Choux

paht-ah-shoo!

Sounds like sneeze, those fancy French words that I can’t ever get right!

But so easy that it can be summed up with this ratio 1:1:1:1:1

1 cup water: 1 stick butter: 1 cup flour: 1 cup eggs: 1 pinch salt

And so easy that even *I* an oven-fearing, non-baker could master it on the very first try.

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So easy that I’ve made these cute little babies 6 times in the past 6 days.

Now that’s easy.

Or obsessive.

Either way, you MUST make these — like TONIGHT! Or perhaps your holiday meal? I’ll be making Pâte à Choux for our Thanksgiving dinner! Actually, I’ll add gruyere cheese and make gougeres.

And if you try to make me pronounce gougeres, I can’t.

So we’re calling them “Fancy Cheesy Puffy Poofs” at dinner.

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The person responsible for my little poofy puffy pastry addiction is none other than Michael Ruhlman and his very useful ratios. Who knew 1:1:1:1:1 could do this? Well, Ruhlman did, and I know there are Pâte à Choux recipes out there that is way more complicated than 1:1:1:1:1….remember…

Rule #1: Simplest is best.
Rule #2: It’s RUHLMAN.

Oh but wait. I know what some of you smarty pants are going to say – this isn’t a TRUE Ruhlman ratio. A true Ruhlman ratio is by weight. And my 1:1:1:1:1 isn’t by weight — it’s just my way of remembering this recipe.

This choux dough is so versatile, that you can make the puffs sweet or savory. In fact, you can fill ‘em with cream to get Cream Puffs, fry them to get farts of nuns, make easy donuts, stuff them, boil them, dip them in chocolate, drizzle them with chocolate, serve ‘em with sauteed cherries, make cute little ice cream sandwiches with them, dip in peppermint fudge sauce, boil/saute for parisian gnocchi <- watch those 2 videos of Thomas Keller.

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pate-a-choux-snip

pate-a-choux-peaks

Print

Basic Pâte à Choux (cream puff dough) Recipe

Servings: 20 medium pastries Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
pate-a-choux-1076

(paht-ah-shoo)
recipe from Michael Ruhlman
To this recipe, you can make savory (add 1 teaspoon kosher/sea salt) or sweet (add 2 teaspoons sugar)

To make gluten-free pate a choux, head over to The Sensitive Epicure, Gluten Free Girl and Jenn Cuisine

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 good pinch of salt
1 cup eggs (4 large eggs)

Directions:

Preheat oven 425F.

1. In a medium pot, bring the water and butter to a simmer on medium heat. Add the flour and with a wooden spoon or spatula, stir very quickly in one direction. Carefully watch and you'll see that the flour starts absorbing the liquid -- and a dough will form. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two.

2. You can do the next step one of two ways:

  • Transfer the paste to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a bowl if you're using a hand mixer.
  • If you want to mix the eggs directly into the dough in the pot, let it cool slightly, 4 or 5 minutes, or cool off the pan itself by running cold water over its base if you will be mixing the eggs in that pot. You don’t want to cook the eggs too quickly.

3. Add the salt and the eggs one at a time mixing rapidly until each is combined into the paste. The paste will go from shiny to slippery to sticky as the egg is incorporated. The pâte a choux can be cooked immediately at this point or refrigerated for up to a day until ready to use.

4. Spoon the dough into a large gallon-sized plastic bag (or piping bag.) Use your hands to squeeze dough towards the bottom corner. With kitchen shears, snip off just the tippy tip of the bag, about 1/4" of the tip. Pipe onto a baking sheet into little puffs, keeping the puffs 2-inches apart. With your finger, press down the peaks (as they can burn.) Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then 350F for 18-30 minutes, depending on the size of your puffs.

To make gougeres (cheesy poofy puffs)

Stir in 1/2 cup finely grated gruyere cheese (or other grated hard cheese of your choice) + 1 teaspoon kosher/sea salt (1/2 teaspoon fine table salt) - I used a rasp/microplane grater to get ultra-light snowflakes of cheese so as not to weigh down the dough with heavy cheese. You can also sprinkle a bit of the cheese on top of the puffs after you've piped them.

Easy Mushroom Pate

If you’d like to try the Easy Mushroom Pate shown in the photo below, you’ll have to head over to Tasty Kitchen.

pate-a-choux-1088

Add a bit of truffle oil to that mushroom pate? Now that’s luxurious!

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117 Responses to “Simple Pate a Choux and Cheese Puffs”

  1. Margaret — 11/23/09 @ 4:45 pm

    Since my Pate a Choux NEVER works I will have to try this one. Those look fantastic. And so do the cheesey puffy thingys.

  2. Impromptu Diva — 11/23/09 @ 5:07 pm

    This will be on our Thanksgiving table Jaden! and oh yeah btw this will be my first ever Thanksgiving dinner that I’ll be preparing at home.(we’ve been living here in the US for 10 years now! but we usually visit families but not this year).. so it will be our first time to roast a turkey… yay! we’re soooo excited! Happy Thanksgiving!

    congrats!!! can’t wait to see what you cook up! ~j

    • Christine Johnson — 3/29/10 @ 7:16 pm

      Welcome to the US! How did the puffs turn out for you?

  3. Nice.
    At first sight I thiought you had a chicken liver pate/plain chopped one over there…. Which I like too, but with the 2 portabellas I have in the fridge this works out perf.

  4. The Teacher Cooks — 11/23/09 @ 5:16 pm

    Well done!! I love these little things. So easy! Made these for my students and they loved them. Nice photos.

  5. Diana — 11/23/09 @ 5:36 pm

    I had a dream last night that I made my favorite cream puffs from bakery in Hawaii. I think you posting this recipe is a sign that I’m supposed to try it!

  6. Carrie — 11/23/09 @ 5:58 pm

    These look fabulous, I’ve been meaning to make biscuits lately. And I’m always up for poofy pastries. Do you think it’d turn out half as well with whole wheat flour? It’s all I have in the house!

  7. Ravenouscouple — 11/23/09 @ 6:01 pm

    this is a winner, will plan on making this with cracked peppers and rosemary

  8. nik — 11/23/09 @ 6:39 pm

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
    Just minutes ago FedEx delivered the scanpan saute pan I won at your booksigning at Omnivore Books in San Francisco. I’m so excited. I love quality stuff and this is the best. I will enjoy and treasure it forever.

  9. Gina — 11/23/09 @ 7:04 pm

    I’m not a baker but these look pretty non-threatening and oh how I love poofy pastries! Thank you!

  10. Amanda — 11/23/09 @ 7:52 pm

    OK

    1) OMG I love these, thank you for the recipe!

    2) LMAO – farts of nuns???

    LOL

  11. Winnie — 11/23/09 @ 8:08 pm

    Love your fancy cheese puffy poofs!

  12. yummy!!! and farts of nuns, what?? lmao! I need to make that for my little brother. He’d die.

  13. Jason — 11/23/09 @ 8:32 pm

    We must be in sync… I just made the pate a choux (by Ruhlman’s Ratio) last night, along with the pastry cream to fill them (yum!). So easy and so delicious.

  14. Lisa Ann — 11/23/09 @ 8:33 pm

    Wow – I love patty shoe. I think we’ll make ‘em instead of turkey yorkshire pudding. I think the effect will be the same. Thanks for posting the easy way.

  15. Jessica — 11/23/09 @ 10:33 pm

    Hi!

    I’m always so afraid to try making these, I’m from Australia & I’m not sure what one stick of butter is equivalent to in weight? 1/2 cup – does that mean 125g or 125ml melted?

    Thanks!

  16. Kiran — 11/24/09 @ 1:54 am

    I love cream puffs! I would definitely give this easy-peasy recipe a try :) Thanks Jaden!

  17. veggiebelly — 11/24/09 @ 2:58 am

    these look amazing, cant wait to try them!

  18. Rasa Malaysia — 11/24/09 @ 3:21 am

    Brilliant, now I am thinking what should I stuff them with??? Durian perhaps??? Whahahahha.

  19. Ping — 11/24/09 @ 4:17 am

    yes yes yes, durian is the first thing that came to my mind too! lol

  20. Alta — 11/24/09 @ 9:24 am

    I saw this post and even before I read your admission about your non-baking self, I thought about how you’ve come so far to overcome your baking fears! These are gorgeous. I’m hungry now! And thanks so much for thinking of me (okay, well I know it wasn’t JUST me…but I’d like to pretend it was) when you linked some gluten-free versions! I might just have to try to make some of these. Or use the gluten-free version of the dough to make churros. Because churros rock. Anyway, I digress – awesome job on the pate a choux!

  21. Betty — 11/24/09 @ 9:26 am

    Jaden – I can’t wait to try these little devils. I’ll enlist the help of my daughter to come up with either a filling or side dish. Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. Pingback: Thomas Keller « bobbyswhateversite

  23. Lynn — 11/24/09 @ 11:15 am

    I never knew you had a hidden inner pastry chef. These look beautiful!

  24. Cate O'Malley — 11/24/09 @ 12:01 pm

    Thanks, Jaden. Because I needed to add something else to our Thanksgiving Day menu!

  25. shauna — 11/25/09 @ 7:28 pm

    Thanks for including the gluten-free options, Jaden! It’s much easier than it looks. And the rewards are so delicious.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  26. Su-yin — 11/26/09 @ 7:57 pm

    This looks great – and it’s a simple recipe! Definitely something I will try as I love love love cream puffs, but can never find good ones here.

  27. Jencrafted — 11/27/09 @ 12:59 am

    Wonderful. I know what my next dessert bake will be! Although I’ll be pairing this with something sweet, I’m wondering if this will go well with, say, Malaysian spicy sambal anchovies or even Chinese BBQ pork (char siew)??

  28. That mushroom pate looks divine and I bet it tasted fabulous on gougeres! Mmmm… Thanks for the link to my post on cream puffs!

  29. Melissa Graham — 12/1/09 @ 9:17 pm

    I LOVE choux pastry. So easy and they freeze really well. In fact, I usually make a double batch (especially the cheesy ones) and freeze them in small ziplock bags. Pull out a few when companies coming and bake ‘em for about 7 minutes at 425 F and your guests will think you were cooking all day. While I love sage and cheddar puffs, my favorite new variation is a beet puff, substituting beet juice for most of the water. They turn out the most brilliant red in color. I fill them with goat cheese mousse and top with tiny greens. I recently posted the recipe and picture on my site http://littlelocavores.blogspot.com/2009/11/beet-licous.html.

  30. Shari — 12/5/09 @ 10:37 pm

    I love choux paste. Simple ingredients, yet a little tricky to make. Great photos, as usual! Thanks for including a link to my “nun’s farts”! Deep-fried choux is soooo good!

  31. Pingback: Pâte a Choux Video | Ruhlman.com

  32. gowoon — 1/15/10 @ 11:52 am

    With the same recipe, you can try to bake up some Totoro Cream Puffs:
    http://www.annathered.com/2009/04/07/how-to-make-totoro-cream-puffs/

    The cutest darn thing I’ve been (OK, maybe food-related) in years. I think your sons will love them. :)

  33. s.a — 9/19/10 @ 4:52 am

    im from south Africa and im not sure which flour to use since we get cake flour,bread flour and self raising flour? PLEASE HELP!

    • SteamyKitchen — 9/19/10 @ 9:40 am

      You can’t find regular all-purpose flour? It’s the most common type of flour.

  34. Vicki B — 9/20/10 @ 12:12 am

    Check with this forum. Someone will know. We don’t realize the differences in flour in various countries. In the UK they don’t have cake flour and must make their own with a microwave. Most recipes use self rising which is called for very little in US recipes.

    http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/

  35. Marla — 11/26/10 @ 9:21 pm

    These were on my Thanksgiving table…SOOOOO delicious!!! My sons started eating them before they even made it to the table!! Thanks, Jaden for posting this in time for Thanksgiving!!!

  36. Rezia — 12/8/10 @ 8:36 pm

    These look really good. I totally want to try making them for Christmas, but I have one question. How far in advance can I make these? If I make them one day in advance, will they de-pouf and be sad little flaccid things by the time my family and friends arrive? Because I’m pretty sure that will lead to all of them casting aspersions on my ability to cook…which I SO don’t need in my life. At all.

    • SteamyKitchen — 12/9/10 @ 12:21 pm

      Too funny, girl!
      You can make the dough in advance, up to 2 days. Keep in refrigerator and then bake on day of. You might want to add a minute to the baking time to account for chilled dough. I really like to serve them warm when they are savory. What you can do is bake them a hour or so in advance and then pop them back into the oven to warm up just prior to serving.

  37. Rezia — 12/10/10 @ 5:44 pm

    Thanks so much for the reply! I’m trying to negotiate oven share-age (is that a word?) between the turkey and the appetizers. We have a big crowd and the amount of poofy puffs required to feed them won’t fit in the toaster oven, and the turkey will probably be hogging the bigger oven so I thought I could get these baked before the turkey has to go in (about 3 hours before people arrive). Thanks again! Also I love your blog!

  38. Pingback: January 2…National Cream Puff Day | Food Holidays

  39. Dee — 1/13/11 @ 12:18 pm

    These are better than Beard Papa’s! We make batches of these (sweet) for family gatherings. Jaden, I was wondering if you’d heard of/seen/tried one of these jelly fillers: http://www.bakedeco.com/detail.asp?id=839&manufacid=0&keyword=jelly%20filler.

    Currently, we are using a “gun” with a tip (the pastry bag option has been exhausted! ;p), but were hoping for something to help us with our big ol’ batches.

    Thanks for any suggestions you can give.

  40. Pingback: Bethesda, Maryland? - New York Pudding

  41. Pingback: Cream Puffs (Pâte à Choux) « Delicatedesserts's Blog

  42. Khalilah Bodah — 5/27/11 @ 8:20 pm

    Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Fantastic blog and excellent style and design.

  43. Pingback: Farts of Nuns aka Fried Choux Pastry with Maple Caramel | Salty Seattle

  44. hmoney — 8/19/11 @ 4:26 pm

    LILIHA BAKERY!!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!!! da best cocoa puffs!! hawaii no ka oi!!!

  45. Roy — 10/1/11 @ 4:18 pm

    Excellent recipe for choux.
    Made a little thinner (thick pancake batter) it is the best batter for deep frying fish or chicken.

  46. sara — 10/18/11 @ 7:25 am

    I’m trying this recipe out currently.
    at first I was extremely pleased, especially at how big the puffs puffed! I’m a student at Le Cordon Bleu and we’re making pate a choux this week (the recipe was weighed out and I haven’t gotten around to buying a scale so I googled and found this recipe) but the cream puffs we made in class didn’t puff up half as much so I was excited thinking of all the pastry cream I could fit inside!!

    until now, almost an hour later, and the insides of my puffs are still really moist and eggy. I switched the temp down to 350 degrees after 10 minutes and checked them 18minutes in (since lowering temp) then 30 minutes in and just checked them again at 50 minutes. my oven normally runs high so I don’t know what I did wrong! any suggestions?

  47. alan — 11/16/11 @ 8:50 pm

    try the classic “Paris Brest” simple twelve inch doughnut sliced horizontally, inserted and layered with choc mousse, gran marnier whipped cream, kiwi thinly sliced and strawberries sliced and layered as well put the top on and drizsle with chocolate. cut with serrated knife. have fun.

  48. Pingback: Homemade Vanilla Wafers | Fix Me A Snack

  49. What a great cream puff recipe! I’ve been looking for a quick, but nice homemade bread and here it is. Love your site, Jaden. You give me such wonderful ideas. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  50. Pingback: Basic Pate a Choux and Gougeres (Cheese Puffs) | CAB Cooks

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