Light, airy, crispy and custardy. What more could you want from a choux pastry? I absolutely love profiteroles, cream puffs, and éclairs and I think just about everyone else does, too! 🙌
But when it comes to making choux pastry, it’s polarising – some people find it therapeutic and others find it insanely hard! Actually it reminds me of macarons: how some get it right and others… well… (I’m on Team Fail after 6 attempts)! This fail-or-success-but-no-in-between seems like a French pâtissière trend, don’t you think? 🤔
Thankfully, I have a fail proof recipe for you which you’ll want to run into the kitchen and make immediately (because who would look at these adorable mini éclairs and shrug them off without a little drool? If that’s you, we can’t be friends, sorry not sorry!) 😑
Some tips before you start to fail-proof this thing:
- bake continuously at 180°C to avoid cracked, irregular tops.
- Do not for the love of éclairs open the oven while baking. Whatsoever.
- add ONE egg at a time and beat vigorously until dough emulsifies (it will look split initially)
- beat your eggs before using them, and keep adding them one by one until you get a nice gloss in the pastry, and it’s still pipeable (not runny). Sometimes you’ll only use a “half egg” in the end to achieve the gloss without making the batter too runny.
- measure your ingredients by weight if possible for more consistent results
My recipe is adapted from Dini at the flavour bender who has a great, in-depth post all about Choux. If you’re interested head over and have a through read before getting started. 👨🍳
Yields: approximately 10 éclairs
226 grams water
113 grams unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
130 grams plain flour, sifted
226 grams eggs (weighed without the shell, about 4 large eggs)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp of white sugar (optional)
A batch of crème pâtissière (or your favourite filling)
100g dark chocolate melted with 15g butter
Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced.
Add water, butter, salt and sugar (if using) into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When butter has melted and the water is just starting to boil, remove saucepan from heat, add the flour in one go and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon so that the flour absorbs all of the water. When the flour has absorbed the water and it’s forming a dough, return the pan to the stove on medium heat.
Cook the dough for 3-5 minutes while you move it around in the pan until you get a dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan, forming oil droplets on the surface.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and set aside to cool slightly. This is important so the eggs don’t cook from the heat of the dough.
With a hand held mixer or whisk, mix the dough while adding the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Make sure the eggs are lightly beaten so that you can stop adding eggs immediately, when you reach the right consistency – a dough with a glossy sheen and a pipeable consistency.
Prepare a baking tray with baking paper and mist the surface with water (use a mister or lightly sprinkle water with your hands – this is an optional step but it helps the choux pastry rise).
Pipe small oblongs (for mini éclairs) on to the baking sheet. I do this by adding the choux pastry into a ziplock bag and cutting off the corner. Otherwise make profiteroles by spooning the dough onto the tray, using a teaspoon.
With a damp finger, flatten the apex and any points to smoothen out the shape.
Bake on the middle rack in preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes (for mini eclairs), or until the choux pastry shells puff up and are golden brown on top. Do not open the oven door at least till you have reached the 30 minute mark. Importantly, baking time depends on the size of your pastry shell. For smaller shells try baking for 30-40 minutes and do not open the oven before the 25 minute mark.
Remove from the oven, and set aside for a minute or so. If the shells are holding their shape, prick each shell with a toothpick and let it cool completely, otherwise immediately return the oven to continue baking (will probably only require a few extra minutes. Keep your eye on them so the don’t overbake).
Fill with a homemade crème pâtissière and dip tops in melted dark chocolate. Serve immediately.
Store cooled choux pastry shells in an air tight container for up to a day (preferably in the fridge).
P.S. need a crème pâtissière recipe? Let me know in the comments below and Ill add mine to the blog (just for you!)