Pate a choux or choux pastry is a specialty from France used for chocolate éclairs, profiteroles, and cream buns. This is a feather-light pastry that is surrounded by a large cavity that is filled using cream. In place of a raising agent like baking powder or baking soda, it uses high moisture content for creating steam while cooking. This is done for puffing the pastry. This pastry is widely used in several European-derived dishes and cuisines.
The head chef invented Choux pastry at Catherine de Medici of Florence, called Pantanelli. This happened in 1540. The cake that got its name from Pantanelli was a dried and hot paste that he used for making pastries and gateaux. These were delicacies that spread throughout France a little later. Its disassembled shape post baking gave it the name Choux or cabbage in French. Antoine Careme introduced further perfection and refinement in the 19th century.
How Is The Dough Made?
Dough for this pastry is made using strong flour, eggs, butter, water, and sugar. Nevertheless, sometimes it can even be made using half milk and half water. Butter is boiled with milk or water blend, and then flour is mixed along with eggs. The entire combination is placed in a forcing bag and put in the form of lengths or rounds on a baking tray. The dough is generally prepared on a stovetop with all the ingredients brought to boil and then formed into a ball. The entire procedure of making the dough for this pasty is a bit unusual because the majority of the pasty doughs are combined and then folded or rolled. They are not cooked.
The pate a choux is first baked at high temperature, and then the procedure is completed on low temperature. Initially, the high temperature used for baking the choux generates steam and also helps in blowing out the starch and the protein in the mix. The heat from the hot oven transforms the choux into an empty and hard shell. Once cool, this pastry is lightly pierced for letting out the steam. The meaning of choux in French is cabbage. Since the minuscule balls of choux paste used for making the cream puffs look very similar to cabbages, the name choux pastry.
Cooking Or Processing
Some steps go into making a pate a choux, and they are as follows:
- Bringing the water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil while stirring continuously for the perfect combination.
- Adding flour while continuing to stir.
- Heating the mix all over again while stirring so that the blend transforms into cohesive form and leaves the sides of the container.
- Transferring the mass to a blender with the paddle attachment.
- Mixing the entire thing on low speed.
- Adding the eggs once it reaches the desired consistency.
It is vital to ensure that the paste is moist and smooth but at the same time sufficiently firm for holding proper shape. You can add hot milk also to the paste for adjusting its consistency.