Pâte à choux (about 20 puffs)

A go-to recipe for either cream puffs or éclairs. I use this recipe as a base for making Beard Papa's style cream puffs. Click through to read more on how you can too.

5 1/2 ounces water
2 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
3 1/2 ounces all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

1 egg, lightly beaten, to use as an egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400°

Have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment and a pastry bag fitted with a large, plain tip.

If you haven’t wrangled a pastry bag into submission before (or if you have and found it frustrating), these 12 tips for using a pastry bag will make the process mess and stress free. Read through before you get started so you’ll have your pastry bag ready to go (the right way!) when it comes time to pipe.

In a medium pot, combine the water and butter over medium or medium high and bring to a simmer. Immediately dump in the flour and salt all at once.

Stir vigorously to incorporate all of the flour and continue to cook and stir for a full minute. The flour-water mixture should gain a Play-Doh like consistency and form a ball or, at least, a unified mass.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed for about four minutes. Adding the eggs and yolk, one at a time, waiting for each to fully incorporate before adding the next. Scrape the bowl down once or twice during the mixing process.

After you’ve finished adding the eggs, transfer the batter to a piping bag. For the most even shapes, let the pâte à choux cool in the bag before piping. Pipe the mixture as uniformly as possible so they will bake at the same rate. For cream puffs, pipe 20 spheres of batter, 2 1/4” in diameter, 10 per tray. Aim for a round, rather than a flat shape. Try not to pipe Hershey’s kiss-like blobs.

Use a pastry brush to brush each with some of the beaten egg, then put them in the oven for 15 minutes. After that, lower the oven temperature to 350° and continue baking until they’re uniformly golden brown, another 20 minutes or so.

Remove from the oven and cool completely. For super crisp puffs, cut each in half (if you find any doughy bits inside, scoop them out and discard) and toast off at 375° for about 5 minutes. If you’d rather keep the classic presentation, just poke a hole in the bottom of each and toast, with the puffs lying on their sides so steam can escape.

Classically, these are filled with Pastry Cream, but ice cream would be grand too. Either way, a generous drizzle of ganache wouldn’t be a bad idea. Or possibly
lemongrass poached rhubarb for a fruity twist…

Fork!

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Any questions?

Apr 28, 2012 ·  3:09 PM

Hi Stella, I’m looking to try this recipe over this week as a test batch for my daughter’s up coming 10th birthday. She loves Beard Papas. Would you be able to update the measures to grams/kilos please? Thanks again

 · Celeste · 

Apr 28, 2012 ·  5:51 PM

@Celeste, ahhh, I’m such an American, aren’t I? I’m at work right now and likely won’t be able to update the recipe anytime soon. Online ounces to grams conversion calculators are very reliable and can do the heavy lifting for you. Or, grab a calculator and just multiply the weight of each ingredient by 28.35. Hope that helps!

Stella

Sep 06, 2012 ·  2:44 PM

I love making choux pastry! Always on a lookout for new variations I see that you don’t actually use milk like many recipes that I’ve seen and used. Is there a reason for that? Also I always find that after piping in some pastry cream, the puffs go a bit soggy. Is there a way to prevent that? I don’t know whether it is my cream or the choux pastry T_T please help >_< Thanks so much ^^

 · pinglinh · 

Sep 06, 2012 ·  6:27 PM

Hi pinglinh! I’ve done with and without milk, but so far I’ve felt pretty meh about the difference. I feel like with water, they taste a little butterier, but I’ve got no science or logic to back that up. Post-piping sogginess seems to just be a way of life, so I only fill them at the last minute. If I ever come up with a miracle solution, I’ll be sure to post it here.

Stella

Jul 28, 2013 · 12:19 AM

Hi Stella!

I was wondering how Italian Meringue Buttercream would go as a filling for choux.

Would it go too soggy?

I’m making profiteroles for a friend’s 21st and have a butt-load of frozen imbc of various flavours in the freezer and would love to use them if possible?

Any help would be much appreciated!

 · Bek · 

Jul 28, 2013 ·  8:36 PM

Hi Bek! With Italian Buttercream, you don’t have to worry about sogginess, there’s such a high-fat low-moisture profile it wouldn’t be an issue. That being said, I can’t imagine ever wanting to eat more than a small spoonful or two of Italian Buttercream. It’s so insanely rich that it can literally become hard to swallow after a few bites of the pure stuff. It’s for this reason that custards, which cut the richness through milk, are traditionally used as a filling. Hope this gives you some good info to work with, cheers!

Stella

Jul 30, 2013 ·  2:54 AM

Thanks Stella!

I’ll keep the richness in mind…should just be making small ones though for a big group of people so it shouldn’t be an issue.

The nutella flavoured is thinner due to the amount of nutella I had to add to overcome the butter. The Brown sugar-Cinnamon should be tasty and I have some plain I’m thinking of flavouring up somehow…Maybe peanut butter. Getting pretty excited now.

How much does the choux expand during baking (e.g. if I wanted 3-4cm profiteroles, what size rounds should I pipe?)

Love your blog. That German Buttercream is incredible and a great way to use leftover egg yolks after imbc. I liked your post in smbc too, but prefer imbc due to a bad elbow (whisking is painful…no souffles for me).

The German Buttercream, flavoured with coffee syrup (Espresso boiled with sugar) went really well on Tiramisu cupcakes (Drools!)

 · Bek · 

Aug 01, 2013 ·  9:25 AM

Hi Bek! Choux should at least triple in size, but that being said a lot of factors will contribute to the puff. If it’s your first time making them, they might not puff as large as they should. It can take a bit of practice to get just the right balance of eggs, etc.

I’m curious about your IMBC vs SMBC preference; I would think they both involve the same amount of whisking?

Stella

Aug 02, 2013 ·  2:47 AM

Thanks Stella!

No whisking by hand for the IMBC.

Boil sugar and water, have egg whites and sugar beating in mixer, pour syrup into stiff peaks, beat until cool, add butter in chunks, no whisking whatsoever. Plus once the sugar syrup reaches 245 (Celcius) none of the other steps are time sensitive, you can walk away and answer a phone call without having to worry about it being ruined. Major plus in my book.

And while I have to dirty a pan as well it doesn’t bother me because it’s sugar syrup, just fill it with hot water and it dissolves.

I use the proportions and method from CakeLove circa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxWmiHRTMz8

Now I don’t know what CakeLove is (being Australian), but if it’s tantamount to Costco sheet cakes, I apologise…but his frosting IS to die for.

Hope that helps,
Bek.

P.S. Just made my first batch of profiteroles, they are huge!!!! And came out looking like little mushrooms (Haha!). Now for another batch (practice makes perfect). My choux was quite runny though, sticky but was falling out of the bag.

 · Bek · 

Aug 03, 2013 · 12:00 PM

Hi Bek! Oooh, I understand. It’s the whisking of the meringue over the water that’s the trouble. Gotcha!

Oh, I learned a tip recently about profiteroles! You can refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes before piping. This causes it to get thick, so piping is much easier. I never knew that, always thought it had to be piped right away. But I tried it myself and it was so helpful. I need to update this recipe with that info!!

Stella

Sep 24, 2013 · 12:35 PM

Hey Stella, first off, I love your blog!
It’s my go-to blog for pretty much all my baking, even if I find something somewhere else I will see what you have to say about it.
I have a question, I made the choux today, however I used the Culinary Institute recipe, simply because my scale uses grams and I was too lazy to convert…
Plus it seemed roughly the same proportions.
Now I am curious, is there any advantages of adding the salt with the flour?

By the way, they turned out gorgeous
And I am very excited to try the Beard ones next

 · Leon · 

Oct 28, 2013 · 10:28 PM

I’m too curious about the salt. I made the choux recipe yesterday. I doubled it as I needed to make quite a few cream puffs and eclairs. Since it’s been ages since I’ve made choux, they didn’t puff like I would have preferred. They would have been salvagable, but when I tasted them, I about choked. They were too salty. Now, I did use coarse kosher salt (what I had on hand) and I did put the salt in with the water and butter when bringing it to a simmer. Did this cause the salt to dissolve too much or should I have used less since it was coarse salt? Thanks for your insight. I will have to try these again.

 · Miss Tori · http://mycakebytori.blogspot.com

Oct 28, 2013 · 10:48 PM

Hi Miss Tori. Oh, no, yikes! That doesn’t sound great. Kosher salt can definitely vary in coarseness/volume from brand to brand. I’ve been using an off-brand Kosher salt that was from the restaurant, and it may be a lot fluffier than yours? I like to use a lot of salt in the choux to pull out a rich flavor and offset them from the filling, but it should definitely not be gag inducing by any means. I’d try cutting back on the salt by half, and see what you get from there.

Stella

Nov 08, 2013 ·  9:45 AM

Hi Stella, I was wondering if you have any tips for achieving those beautifully even eclairs like for instance Fauchon makes.
I saw a video of Christophe Adam piping some when he was still working there but neither piping with a round tip nor a rippled one like he did helped my eclairs.

 · Leon · 

Mar 09, 2017 ·  6:30 PM

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I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share
some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work.
If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

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