It's a rainy, soon-to-be-snowy, almost Spring kind of weekend. So it's a perfect time to blog and make something that's been on my baking bucket list ever since I discovered The Great British Baking Show: pâte à choux (pronounced "PAHT-uh-shoo").
I think I had always been intimidated by pâte à choux - mainly because of the fancy sounding name. If you're wondering, "what the heck is pâte à choux?", it's a light, airy pastry dough that was first created in France and is used as the base for many popular treats: profiteroles (aka cream puffs), eclairs, croquembouches, beignets and churros (the last two are fried vs. baked).
What makes this dough unique compared to other baked goods, is that butter, water and flour are first cooked on the stove and the ball of dough then transferred to a mixer where you beat in eggs. The dough is then piped onto a baking sheet and baked (you can pipe a variety of shapes). While baking, the water evaporates, creating steam, which then causes them to puff! It's a lot of fun to watch as they bake! Once they're baked and cooled, you can fill them with a variety of fillings: whipping cream, pasty cream, custard or even ice cream! These cream puffs really came together much faster and more easily than I had imagined.
If you're looking for a dessert to really wow your guests - but come together in about the same time as making a cake or pan of brownies, these churro cream puffs are a "choux" in!
CHURRO CREAM PUFFS (adapted from Barbara Bakes)
Pâte à choux
- 6 tablespoons, butter
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, bring butter, water, sugar and salt to a boil. Turn off heat and add the flour. Mix until the dough is smooth and forms a ball. Transfer dough to the bowl of a mixer and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- Beat the dough and add the eggs one at a time. Beat until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip (at least 5/8" - can be plain or star tip). For standard-sized cream puffs, pipe dough into 1 1/2" rounds that are also 1 1/2" high. With a wet finger, smooth out and round the tops of each puff.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. They should be puffy and golden brown. (They'll really start to puff at about the 15-20 minute mark.) Turn the oven off - and let them cool in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- In a small bowl, heat honey in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Using a pastry brush, brush the honey over the tops and sides of the cream puff shells. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of each puff. Bake the shells for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool completely before filling.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipped cream
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- In a large bowl, whip cream and salt until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar and cinnamon and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Transfer mixture into a piping bag fitting with medium round or star tip.
- Either cut each cream puff shell in half or with a paring knife, pierce an "X" on the side of each puff. Insert the pastry bag tip into the hole and fill each shell with the whipped cream.
- Serve immediately.