Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pâte à Choux, Gesundheit!

Puff Pastry (Pâte Feuilletée) and Pâte à Choux are two important pastry doughs to learn how to make successfully. Pâte à Choux is the only dough that is cooked twice and Pâte Feuilletée is time intensive and a little tricky.

If you love éclairs, profiteroles, or even the towering croquembouche, all of these are made with Pâte à Choux. Last night we tackled both types of dough starting with the Pâte Feuilletée since it needs to rest between folding and turning to create that flaky, layered pastry. Palmiers, Napoléons and Tarte Tartin all require this type of dough and time and care need to make it properly.

After combining our ingredients and making the puff pastry dough we let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. We started on the Pâte à Choux which is easy to make – bringing water and butter to a boil with a pinch of salt and sugar then adding flour to make the dough come together. Once the dough forms together, it is necessary to keep stirring it on the stove to dry it out before adding eggs. Once eggs are added and the dough cools a bit it is ready to use. We filled pastry bags with the Pâte à Choux and piped elongated éclair shapes and small cream-puff sized pastries brushed with egg wash. The dough baked for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven until golden brown, light and puffed.

We made our own Crème Chantilly to fill our puffs and Chef’s assistant made pastry cream and coffee cream for the éclairs. We ended the evening making Beignets Soufflés à l’Orange (Orange Fritters) with another batch of Pâte à Choux. These past few classes in pastry have been enjoyable – learning about different dough and their uses. I’m longing to get back to cooking real food – sweets are nice but I’m really all about the savory.

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