03 April 2005

Formula : Pate A Choux , Éclairs & Cream Puffs revisited

Well , at first glance most Pate A Choux ,[pronounced pat-e-shoe], formulas generally are of the the same basic structure. In class we had used this formula :

[#= lb.] {Bad Formula }

  • 1 # water
  • 1 # fresh milk
  • 1 # butter

We made both éclairs & cream puffs with the same batch. The éclairs were very uneven in texture, with jagged edges, and not at all pleasing to the eye. As were the cream puffs - the oven spring was quite large . Unfortunately both the éclairs & cream puffs had to be browned very dark to achieve a cooked inside. They smelled very much like scrambled eggs.

Most of you probably wouldn't mind darker pastry, and in some European bakeries that is the standard. Americans are said to "like under baked pastry goods." That being said these were quite dark.

My instructor wasn't satisfied with the bake off and she even did a batch herself to rule out student error. The results were the same. So she converted a home formulation to production size. The results were beautiful - uniform texture, with a slight crunch, yet soft and wonderful insides. The smells reminiscent of some French haunt. These were a heavenly delight :

{best formula}

  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 1/2 Cups Butter
  • 3 Cups flour
  • 12 eggs

Place water and butter in a sauce pan, bring to a rolling boil. Add flour and stir to smooth paste. Continue to cook and stir for a minute or two.

Place flour mixture in a mixing bowl . Mix on 1st speed. Slowly add eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix on second speed until smooth and glossy.



Eggs Are added to the flour mixture
Eggs being added to Eclair batter


Mix until Incorporated
eclair Batter

Pate A Choux mixture smoothing out in 2nd speed
Eclair batter smoothing out

Pate A Choux mixture is smooth & glossy - ready to be shaped
Ready to be pulled

Pipe with pastry bag or scoop Pate A Choux onto parchment lined pans. Bake at 400° F for about 10 minutes Lower temperature to 350° F and finish baking until done. Shut off oven and allow Pate A Choux to sit in oven until dry.




Pate A Choux pipe into cream puffs
Eclair batter piped into cream puffs

Pate A Choux piped into eclair shape
Piped eclairs

Eclair bake off
bake 098

Eclairs are done when they are light, and can be touched without collapse. Do Not open oven until the eclairs/cream puffs are set ( baked enough not to collapse), or you will not have puffs no longer.
bake 102

Once cool and dry, fill éclairs with pastry cream, dip in cooled ganache.

Éclairs filled with pastry cream, finished with ganache
bake 120


Cut cooled cream puffs {these were pictures from the 1st formula's batch a.k.a "bad formula"} at an angle. Trim out any webbing formed on inside which prevents insertion of filling. There should be a pocket formed.

Fill the cream puffs with stabilized whipped cream or other filling. You can use a large pastry tip and fill the pocket, then make a large rosette, put tops back onbake 123


Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar
cream puffs..


6  Comments
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  Comments

6 comments

J.T
4:47 AM, January 24, 2006 Reply  

Funny story. When I first started pastry school and I was baker...I always wanted to bake the breads to a light color. The Chef had to keep her eye on me because I'd always pull'em before they were done. lol I was like no!!! They're burning....!!! I'm still that way...somewhat. Anyway..those puppies look good..boy they're huge. Sam's club size. ;)

**originally posted to haloscan April 3rd 2005

4:49 AM, January 24, 2006 Reply  

Thanks ...how are you feeling Jay? like you were ran over probably...;) I hate being sick. It sucks.

J.T
4:50 AM, January 24, 2006 Reply  

Hmm..I could really use the sugar fix right about know ;) looks good Amber.

Lindsay Craft
12:30 AM, February 09, 2006 Reply  

Funny, I've been making cream puffs for years with what is basically the first recipe and they've always turned out just fine. Never too dark or sloppy inside. I've been using all milk lately instead of a mixture of milk and water, and I beat each egg in thoroughly before adding the next. (This is standard, yes?)

Bring to rolling boil in heavy sauce pan:
1 cup milk/water
1/2 cup butter
Add all at once:
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
Add one at a time, beating well (by hand) after each, until fully incoporated:
4 eggs
Bake @ 400 for 10 mins, then 350 for 25 mins )

I like to fill mine with a Tiramisu cream derivative. My last one was this:

Blend until light with hand mixer:
8 oz (225g) Mascarpone
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp powedered sugar
Add:
3.5 oz (100g) Lindt White Chocolate Coconut bar (1 bar), melted
Make the whipped cream (over-whip a bit to hold shape):
~1 cup heacy cream
~4-6 Tbsp powdered sugar
Fold mixtures together. Fill cream puffs.

This filling is best with a dusting of powdered sugar on the cream puffs.

-Lindsay Craft

8:46 PM, February 14, 2006 Reply  

Lindsey - Thanks for sharing your yummy favorite recipe for Pate A Choux :)

You said :

"Funny, I've been making cream puffs for years with what is basically the first recipe and they've always turned out just fine. Never too dark or sloppy inside

In response to your statement --- the recipe you noted seems to be for a home oven, am I correct?

These formulas were baked in a commercial convection oven.

All ovens vary in general. However there is a big difference between your standard range in a home kitchen vs. those used in commercial or production baking.

There are more varibles to consider when using certain formulas and baking a product --- especially if using a commercial convection oven (where a fan is blowing which disperses heat faster and if the temp becomes too hot, this causes a rapid rise on the outside of a baked good but unbaked inside) vs. a deck oven (which has a stone on the bottem and uses conduction to create even baking).

So next time you read an article or recipe -- you might want to consider whether it is a home recipe or made in a commercial kitchen/bakery.

Anonymous
4:47 AM, November 17, 2009 Reply  

ah. these look good. i was trying to make puffs. i forgot the salt and sugar but they puffed beautifully anyway. but then my helper didn't know and opened the oven door to check, then *poof*, it all collapsed :(

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