Making choux pastry is probably the most fun you can have in a kitchen (almost). It’s transformation on baking from smooth glossy mound to flamboyant airy puffs, never fails to excite. These vanilla cream puffs should be a staple of every afternoon tea.
- Warm the butter in a pan with the milk, water, salt and sugar. Ensure the liquid doesn't boil until the butter is melted. Once all the butter is melted bring to the boil briefly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour in one go.
- Stir slowly to start with to ensure the flour doesn't spill out of the pan, then as the paste comes together return to a medium heat and cook stirring all the time. The paste needs to come together as one ball but it also needs to develop a slight shine or gloss to its surface. This takes 30 seconds or so.
- Tip the paste into a clean bowl or a bowl of a free standing mixer and beat for 30 seconds. This cools the paste a little and releases steam.
- Continue to beat the paste and add the eggs a little at at a time. Ensure the paste is smooth and well combined before adding the next amount of egg.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C
- Using a piping bag is the best way to shape the choux pastry for baking.
- Using a template is a great way of producing uniformly shaped and sized choux buns. Specialist choux pastry silicon trays are also available.
- Once piped the pastry may be brushed with egg wash to give a glossy finish.
- Bake the choux pastry in a pre-heated oven set at 200°C for 15 minutes or until well inflated. Turn down the heat to 150°C for a further 15 minutes to set the choux and dry them out.
- Do not be tempted to open the oven door at check on them for at least the first 20 minutes. The sudden drop in temperature and humidity will cause the pastry to collapse.
- Whisk the double cream and vanilla to soft peaks. Using a piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle fill the choux.
- Dust the filled choux with icing sugar.
80g T55 Flour (or a 50/50 mix of bread/plain flour)
2g Table Salt
3g Caster Sugar
4g Vanilla Extract
140g Whole Egg
300g Double Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla paste
Tim’s Top Tip
The same basic choux recipe can be used to make eclairs. However try using a little less egg. A firmer choux paste helps when piping eclairs. Ecairs are best piped using a fluted nozzle. The glorious Atteco 867 is our favourite!