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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.

pate-a-choux-1076

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. Julien Karodia — 12/1/11 @ 5:06 am

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for such a long time and FINELY I found it. I first got this recipe from my aunt and fell in love with it, it’s very versatile and can be used in so many ways. Unfortunately I lost it a couple of years ago and sad to say my aunt passed away and nobody in the family knew what happened to her cook books.
    But now that I have it again I will cherish it always!!

  2. Kelly Friesen — 1/4/12 @ 3:26 pm

    Tried this recipe. Not sure what I did wrong as they didn’t rise. Any advice.

    • Cheeka21 — 11/15/13 @ 1:28 pm

      I find it helps to chill the dough a bit before piping. and the puffs form better & rise better. important also to start the heat on high & reduce towards the end.

  3. Dan in Chicago — 1/6/12 @ 9:26 pm

    Try again! The egg is what causes the rise and it is important to add one egg, let the mixer (or a wooden spoon and your biceps) incorporate, and then add the next. If you still have trouble try throwing two egg whites in to the mixture toward the end of the mixing–they poof more than the yolks. Good luck!

  4. christkelly — 1/13/12 @ 10:54 pm

    Same happened to me. If you find put why it would do this please tell me and I’ll do the same.

  5. Mikie — 1/19/12 @ 10:01 pm

    So, I just made this for the second time. Both turned out perfect. The first batch I took to a party and people wouldn’t stop eating them. They said they were some of the best they ever had. If they aren’t turning out well, I can tell you, its something you did wrong.

    I tried making some before, using another recipe and they were lead bricks. This recipe produced light, airy, and just slightly crispy cream puffs every single time. They puffed up perfectly and left a nice, gaping hole inside to fill. If yours aren’t rising, it could be you aren’t pipping them correctly. You need to pipe in a small circle and build UP as you go, mine were to about the size of a hand ball. I baked them at 425 for 10 minutes and at 350 for 18 minutes. I leave mine in until they almost seem dry. I underbaked a few to see, and they were more doughy. Not bad, but the drier ones were melt in your mouth perfect.

    • Mikie — 1/19/12 @ 10:08 pm

      OH! But I did make one adjustment…I used bread flour. It has better structure when rising and less likely to collapse. Sorry about that!

  6. AUSTRALIA.IS.AMAZING — 2/28/12 @ 5:27 am

    okay so i have made a few recipies from these puffs and really the mixture was too thin and just flattened over my baking tray? i cant wait to try this recipe to see if it is a thicker mixture. also my other recipies deaflated and didnt rise and some also stuck to the baking paper. what am i doing wrong?!!
    off to make them.. fingers crossed..

  7. Chef Mimi (Pastry Chef) — 3/15/12 @ 1:48 pm

    Ok everyone, try putting a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Let this “steam” your pate choux until you turn the oven down, then remove pan. Make sure you bake the puffs or eclair shells long enough so that they are dry. All ovens are different, so you might need to experiment a little to get the cooking time right. DO NOT open the oven while steaming and DO NOT touch or bang the pan while cooling. The other reason they will flatten is that you did not cook out enough of the water or moisture when cooking the dough before adding the eggs. Try these fixes. Buon Apetito!

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  9. matt — 5/4/12 @ 5:07 pm

    remember the egg is the levening agent. if you do not let the mixture cool before adding them you maybe cooking the eggs while mixing them.

  10. Lan — 7/9/12 @ 9:13 pm

    So this recipe was so easy to follow! My first batch did not turn out right because I let the batter cool down too much, but my second batch turned out perfect! I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla to my batter and it was delicious! Definately will do this recipe agian. Thanks Steamykitchen! :)

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  15. Chung Nguyen — 10/5/12 @ 9:27 pm

    I can assure everyone here that my baking skills are suspect, but these were so easy to make that they turned out beautifully. And the mushroom pate? DELISH! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  16. Chung Nguyen — 10/5/12 @ 10:05 pm

    P.S.
    I topped half of the batch with cornmeal and it gave the shell a nice crunch. Add in some honey goat cheese with fresh basil as a spread and it was divine!

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  19. Renee — 10/31/12 @ 3:46 pm

    I LOVE this recipe.. its so simple and easy and they bake up perfect every time.

    For the ones that aren’t rising, check the date on your eggs.

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  21. Evelyn — 11/19/12 @ 2:15 pm

    I made this reciepe last night and my puffs did rise and they looked great, but when I removed them from the baking sheet, they had no bottoms!

  22. Evelyn — 11/19/12 @ 2:16 pm

    Don’t know what I did wrong, any advice?

  23. Chef George — 11/21/12 @ 3:19 pm

    Evelyn, you must bake pate a choux on parchment (never wax) lined baking sheets. The classic method, is to add the flour in all at once, and cook it over a medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon upside-down. You will notice as you cook and continually stir, that it begins to come away from the sides of the pan and cling in one large lump clinging to the spoon handle. This is when it is ready to transfer to a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attatchment. Fold it around with a rubber spatula 4-5 times and let it cool for 3-4 minutes. Start the mixer on low, add one egg, then increase speed to medium and make sure it is fully incorporated. Lower the speed and repeat process until all eggs have been added. Then transfer to a pastry bag sprayed with Pam or vegalene. Then pipe or bake according to this recipe on parchment lined sheets. You can pipe a slight ” snail shape” so they bake up. Just make sure they are dry, and do not remove them from the oven when you cool the oven, but rather let the profiteroles adjust with the oven temp.

  24. Chef George — 11/21/12 @ 4:05 pm

    …also I’ d do water AND milk. Half cup water to half cup of milk

  25. Evelyn — 11/22/12 @ 1:31 pm

    Thank you chef George, I will try it again this way

  26. I was always intimated to make pate choux but I tried it and it was great and easier than I ever imagined.

    Wonderful recipe.

    http://oliepants.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/pate-a-choux-and-cream-puffs/

  27. AnnaLisa — 1/24/13 @ 8:56 pm

    fantastic! I had a little trouble piping these at first. My dough was a little chilled (I had let it set while working on a few things) and as the ziplock bag was warmed by my hands piping, it really helped. The last ones were much poofier than the ones I piped at first that were colder.

    I will add a little more salt for something dinner like, or leave as in and fill with something wonderfully sweet! Thanks for sharing!

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  31. Ana — 2/5/13 @ 11:30 pm

    Love this recipe! So simple, so versatile. These are super cute.

  32. zerrin — 2/18/13 @ 4:21 pm

    It definitely sounds like an easy recipe with simple ingredients, which inspired me to try it very soon!

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  36. Charisma — 5/10/13 @ 11:15 pm

    Can i ask some questions about Pate a Choux? if without oil, what will it happen to Pate a Choux? Cause i’m actually doing an assignment about cream puffs. So I would need to have a better understandings in the usage of the ingredients and the importance of the ingredients. (the ingredients that i managed to get from a chief was flour, butter, oil, water, and fresh cream).Hope you can give me some knowledge about it. Thanks a lot.

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  44. Rachel — 6/26/13 @ 11:12 am

    Wonderful recipe! However, mine came out tasting a bit “fresh” and “eggy” how do I overcome or fix that?

  45. Andrea — 7/26/13 @ 9:40 pm

    Thank you! This recipe was so easy to follow and turned out great! The recipe seems to be quite forgiving – I know I wasn’t able to follow the steps perfectly but the pastry turned out light, airy and delicious!

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  48. Maggie — 9/1/13 @ 3:03 pm

    Thanks a lot for the recipe! Could you please let me know which ingredient(s)/ factor(s) will matter to the fluffiness of the puffs? Mine turned out good, but I feel like I’d want it to be even puffier (!) Is it the egg yolks? Or should I have cooked the dough a bit more to release more water? Thanks!

    • shoe — 9/12/13 @ 5:32 pm

      Egg white makes it puff. Add an extra egg white (leave the yolk)

  49. patti — 9/2/13 @ 10:04 am

    wonderful. remember as for all pastries fresh eggs make them lighter and fluffier. Support your local farm even if the eggs are a few more cents- you’ll get better results. I just use an old wooden spoon for mixing mine and comes out perfect every time.

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