Friday, March 7, 2014



Beginner's luck; that's what I had for this particular recipe.
The first batch of puffs (or "choux") came out perfectly; puffed and golden brown, just like the choux à la crème that are sold at the patisserie I frequent. Too bad I messed up on the pastry cream AND ran out of eggs. Well, I didn't have any whipping cream either, so I guess it was for the best.
2 days later, I tried everything over and ended up making 3 batches of choux just to get them close to that first batch. The key to success seems to be how quickly you work to maintain the temperature of the dough, and how much egg you add at the end.
This was one of the recipes that made me realize all over again how very chemical baking is. I was once told by a very experienced food blogger that "cooking is all about taste and adding this and that through the process, while baking is all about chemistry and following the recipe precisely". Very wise words which I always keep in mind whilst baking.

p.s. recipe for choux à la crème to be posted soon . . . *

* { pâte à choux adapted from : sadaharu aoki, via NHKテレビテキスト 趣味DO楽 パティシエ青木定治とつくるあこがれのパリ菓子 — パータ‧シュー }
— click on the images above, or continue reading for the recipe

{ ingredients } makes about 10 choux
80g cake flour
65ml water
65ml milk
3g granulated sugar
2g salt
65g unsalted butter
130g eggs (roughly 2-3 eggs depending on size)
confectioner's sugar for dusting
※ make sure all ingredients are at room temperature

{ method }
1. Sift the cake flour over a large piece of baking paper and set aside. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200℃. Line the back of 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Place the water, milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
3. Once the milk and butter mixture comes to a boil remove from heat and quickly add all the sifted flour at once. Using a heatproof spatula (or wooden spoon), stir until the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
4. Return the saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring and rolling the dough around to make sure that it does not stick to the bottom. When the dough is slightly shiny and forms a ball (the dough should pull away from the sides of the pan), and the pan is coated with a thin film, transfer the dough into a bowl. (Be careful not to include the dough that is sticking to the pan.)
5. Mix the dough for a minute or two to release some of the heat.
6. Add half of the beaten eggs and stir using the spatula or wooden spoon, until fully incorporated. (Make sure not to add any air; you can do this by stirring in circles with the spatula placed in the center of the bowl in an upright position.) Once fully incorporated, add two-thirds of the remaining eggs, stir again until fully incorporated, and check the consistency of the dough. If the dough is a smooth thick paste (and takes about 3 seconds to fall when you lift the spatula) it is done. If the dough is too thick, add the rest of the eggs and stir. Be careful not to make the dough too loose; if the dough falls from the spatula in a thick ribbon, it is too loose.
7. Transfer the dough into a large pastry bag with a large (around 1.8cm) round tip. Carefully pipe ten 4cm rounds, about 5cm apart, onto the back of the prepared baking sheets. (Hold the pastry bag upright so the tip is at a 90-degree angle. Without moving the tip, squeeze while very slowly pulling straight up until you have a 4cm circle. Release pressure and turn the tip (pastry bag) sideways to finish. Dough with the right consistency should hold it's shape.) Dust with confectioner's sugar.
8. Position the baking sheets with the back sides up in the oven and bake at 160℃ for 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. (Make sure not to open the oven until done.) Transfer the puffs to a wire rack to cool.

* note: Due to the fact that I use a convection microwave oven which is very small, I preheat the oven to 200℃ (but bake at 160℃) as the original recipe suggests. If you use a large oven, you can preheat the oven to 160℃.

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