If there's one thing the French do well, it's their delicious pastries and desserts.
A key element of many, from [profiteroles, is a beautiful choux pastry. Pronounced "shoo", it is unusual because it’s “cooked” before it’s baked and uses steam created by the eggs as the raising agent.
Here, The Australian Women's Weekly's Test Kitchen experts take you through how to make choux pastry step by step, with all their secret choux pastry tips to get it right, every time.
Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Grease two oven trays. Combine 75g butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and ¾ cup (180ml) of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients.
Add ¾ cup (110g) of plain flour all at once, beating with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of the saucepan to form a ball. Continue to beat for a further 30 seconds-1 minute over low heat.
Transfer dough to a medium bowl. Using a wooden spoon, beat 3 eggs into dough, one at a time, beating vigorously and thoroughly after each addition.
Add enough of a fourth beaten egg to dough until it is thick and glossy and just falls from the spoon – not all the egg may be needed.
Drop rounded teaspoons of dough 3cm apart onto prepared trays. Sprinkle or spray puffs with a little water.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Bake for further 15 minutes or until puffs are golden. Cut a small opening in base of each puff; return to oven for 5 minutes or until puffs are dry.
Tip: The puffs “puff” because the steam is trapped inside them, causing them to rise up and out.
Choux pastry fillings can be sweet or savoury mixtures, such as thick custard or vanilla-scented cream.