Choux pastry is light pastry dough that uses only eggs, butter, flour and water. It is used to prepare éclairs, profiteroles, St. Honour cake, croquembouches, gougères, French crullers, Indonesian kue sus and beignets.
Let’s have a look at the history of the delectable Choux pastry. Panterelli, a chef, first invented the dough in the year 1540. This dough was used by him to prepare a gâteau which he named Pâte à Panterelli. As time went by, there were various variations in the recipe and the dough went through various evolutions, and this saw the introduction of Pâte à Popelin. This was used to prepare Popelins, which were small cakes shaped like the breasts of a woman. Later a pâtissier, Avice, created Choux Buns in the 18th century. This dough name too changed as time went by and became Pâte à Choux. This dough got its name from the resemblance that the dough had to “cabbages”, as choux meant cabbage in French. Antoine Carême made various successful modifications to the dough recipe, to make it the renowned recipe that is the hot favorite for preparing profiteroles.
For most preparations Choux pastry is baked, however if you are preparing beignets the Choux pastry is fried. Fried Choux pastry is used to prepare Churros in Latin America and Spain. A variant that is a favored breakfast dish is Choux pastry coated with sugar and a thin layer of chocolate blancmange. Marillenknödel, an Austrian cuisine, is prepared by boiling Choux pastry. This dish is a dense apricot dumpling that does not puff. You can make éclairs or cream puff by stuffing the dumpling with cream.
So what is it that makes choux pastry rise? Unlike many similar recipes, Choux pastry does not have any chemical raising agent. However, as the dough needs to rise anyways; Choux pastry makes use of a mechanical raising agent. The dough is stirred persistently, due to which the mixture gets exposed to air and various layers of gas are formed while the mixture expands in volume. These chemicals in the air i.e. hydrogen, oxygen etc serve as the raising agent for the dough.
Choux pastry is what is used to make éclairs, cream puffs and profiteroles, and. You can also use it to prepare the yummy Paris-Brest, which is a huge puff ring stuffed with flavored cream. Do not mistake Choux pastry for only sweets; you can add some cheese to prepare gougeres, also known as cheesy puffs. Alternatively you may poach it and prepare Parisian gnocci which is a great appetizer. For some variations in the recipe you may fill the huge choux buns with fillings like chicken salad or tuna. You may also try making some small puffs filled with any filling flavored to your taste. A renowned and delectable Zürich patisserie, known as Sprügli, is prepared by making small puffs and stuffing them with a delicious mixture of butter and Gorgonzola cheese and butter.