Choux Pastry Hints and Tips
- Before baking, brush cream puffs with an egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 - teaspoon water or milk plus a pinch of salt. The salt is important as it will help keep the pate' choux from cracking.
- To prevent cracking, don't open the oven door during the early part of baking, but do open it at the end to help dry the centre. (If the puff is not dried adequately it will collapse when you take it from the oven).
- If you sift the flour before measuring, it will incorporate more easily into the liquid mixture.
- Take care when you combine the eggs, as whites coagulate at 55°C and yolks at 68°C.
- Cut the butter into pieces so that it will melt completely by the time the water comes to a boil.
- Make puffs in mini muffin tins to keep their shape.
- The fat and water must be removed from the heat immediately on boiling to prevent evaporation and clarification of the fat. The flour must then be added to the liquid immediately. The mixture must be worked well for a few seconds to allow the first heat to leave the pan, not the mixture. Add eggs two at a time if possible and beat well. Considerable beating is necessary between the additions of each quantity of egg, as the more quickly and thoroughly the beating in of the eggs is done, the greater the number of eggs that can be used. When finished, the paste should be fairly warm, light and soft but not soft enough to run.
- If filled with pastry cream refrigerate immediately and serve within two hours.
- They can be filled chocolate ganache, as well.
- If stored longer, the cream puff shell gets soggy.
- Refrigerate for up to 2 days, at best.
- If thoroughly baked, unfilled cream puffs may be refrigerated for a couple of days, but they do go stale quickly, so I recommend freezing, instead.
- Before refrigerating, you'll first want to cut them open and remove the strands of dough to prevent sogginess.
- Wrap all puffs individually after they have cooled and before freezing.
- Place them is a resealable plastic bag being careful not to put too many in at once.
- Thaw at room temperature.
- To crisp, unwrap and place in a 160°C oven until warm.
- Let cool and fill as desired.