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Pate Choux or… a Cream Puff by any other name…

Tim Dineen

Many (many) moons ago, when I worked at The Riviera Dinner House in San Francisco, I had to make 400 of these every Saturday night for Sunday Brunch.  I filled half of them with whipped cream, and the other half with something savory – usually a chicken salad-type filling, or chopped lox and cream cheese. They’re extremely versatile!

  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (scant)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350°.  Sift flour. In saucepan, bring the milk, water, salt, and butter to a boil . Immediately remove from heat and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, and scraping sides of pan, until a stiff paste forms and comes together in a ball. Return to medium heat, stirring quickly to eliminate extra moisture. Remove from the heat. (The paste should be smooth, thick, and glossy.) Transfer the thick paste to a large mixing bowl to cool for about 10 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Fill a pastry bag with the paste and pipe bite-size cream puffs about 1-inch in diameter onto the baking sheet. Space the cream puffs about 1 inch apart. (Or, use 2 spoons to form 1 inch balls.)

Bake about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.  If using for cream filling, poke a small hole in the side of each puff. Return baking sheet to the oven for about 3 more minutes to allow the puffs’ interiors to dry. Remove from oven to cooling rack.  If using for a savory filling that can’t be piped, just cut off the top and pull out any soft dough.

Fill with whipped cream, Pastry Cream, Ice cream….. Chopped chicken, whatever!

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