Choux pastry – 14 small buns
Eclairs, choux buns, profiteroles and cheese puffs are made with choux pastry.
Choux pastry is not rolled like other pastries – it is a dough of flour, fat, eggs and water.
50g butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing
75g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
For cheese puffs, mix 100g grated cheese to the dough, fill with low fat cream cheese.
For profiteroles use 150ml whipped double cream and dust with icing sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7 and grease a baking tray or line with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan with the water then bring to the boil.
- Add the flour quickly into the boiling water and beat the pastry mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and leaves the bottom of the pan. This takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Cool for 2-3 minutes then gradually beat in the eggs to make a smooth, shiny paste.
- Using a dessert spoon, put spoonfuls of the mixture on the baking tray.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/Gas 4 and bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed up, golden brown and with a crisp bottom.
- When cooked, pierce holes in the top to let out the steam and bake for 2 minutes to dry out.
- Leave them upside down on a cooling rack to dry completely.
The science bit
When the eggs are beaten into the flour dough, they trap air which helps the pastry rise.
Beating the mixture stretches the gluten which helps form the structure.
When the mixture bakes, the liquid from eggs and water in the dough turns to steam and puffs up and raises the mixture leaving the centre hollow.
The egg protein denatures, coagulates and the gluten in the flour sets forming the structure.
Starch in the flour gelatinises as it cooks.
The hole is made in the choux buns to let the steam out and stop the buns from softening.
Coagulated egg also glazes the crust to give a golden colour.