Baked Pate a Choux
TOTAL TIME About 1 hour .
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a little more for greasing the baking sheet
1 cup flour
1.Heat oven to 400 and grease a baking sheet with butter. Put the butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over high heat; add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add all the flour at once; stir constantly until the mixture pulls away from the pan and forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time; use an electric mixer if you like, and beat until the mixture is smooth. (At this point, you can cover the dough and refrigerate it for up to two days.)2.If you’re planning on piping out the dough, scoop it into a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tip, or a plastic freezer bag with a corner cut off. Pipe the pastry onto the baking sheet, or just use two spoons to form your desired shape. Cream puffs should be circles about 1 inch wide and a little over 1 inch tall; éclairs should be 3-to-4-inch fingers, about 1 inch wide.3.Bake until the pastries are golden brown, nicely puffed up and sound hollow when you tap on them, about 30 minutes for cream puffs and 40 minutes for éclairs. Use a skewer to prick one or two holes in each one to allow the steam to escape; transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature.4.To fill the pastries using a pastry bag, poke a hole into the pastry and pipe the filling into it, or cut off the top caps of each pastry, spoon in the filling, and close it up like a sandwich. (Éclairs can be slit open and filled, too.) Serve as is, or drizzle with chocolate sauce.
YIELD2 to 4 dozen pastries, depending on size
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups cream, half-and-half or whole milk
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.Combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and cream. Over medium heat, whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture; whisk occasionally at first to get rid of lumps, then pretty much constantly until the mixture starts to boil and thickens, about 10 minutes.2.Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. The mixture is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and a line you draw with your finger through this coating holds its shape. Stir in the butter and vanilla, and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Let cool to room temperature before using.
YIELD2 1/2 cups .
VARIATIONS Chocolate pastry cream: Add 2 ounces chopped chocolate to the mixture as it cooks.
Coffee pastry cream: Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso or 2 shots freshly brewed espresso to the mixture as it cooks.
Boozy pastry cream: Skip the vanilla. Add 2 tablespoons Scotch, bourbon, rum or port to the finished mixture while it’s still hot.