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How to Make Choux Pastry Profiterole and Paris-Brest (With Photos)

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I absolutely love choux pastry. It's versatile and not nearly as hard to make as it might seem!

Paris-Brest are one of the great desserts you can make using choux pastry.

Paris-Brest are one of the great desserts you can make using choux pastry.

Homemade Choux Pastry

Choux pastry is wonderfully versatile and can be used as the basis for a variety of fabulous desserts. People are often a little afraid of choux pastry, but provided you pay attention to what you are doing, making this delicious pastry doesn't need to be difficult.

Homemade choux pastry should be crisp on the outside and fluffy and light on the inside. It's so much better to make your own, as shop-bought choux pastry desserts can often be a little soggy.

Here, I have given recipes for a basic choux pastry, along with suggestions for a couple of fantastic desserts—profiteroles with chocolate sauce and Paris-Brest filled with a decadent creme patissiere.

Sift the flour into a bowl and keep handy

Sift the flour into a bowl and keep handy

Once the milk and butter have heated, add in all the flour in one go and mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Once the milk and butter have heated, add in all the flour in one go and mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Put the choux pastry dough into a bowl to cool

Put the choux pastry dough into a bowl to cool

Whisk the eggs with the salt and vanilla extract.

Whisk the eggs with the salt and vanilla extract.

Add the eggs into the dough, a little at a time.  Don't worry when the dough looks like this.  It will come back together if you continue to beat it thoroughly

Add the eggs into the dough, a little at a time. Don't worry when the dough looks like this. It will come back together if you continue to beat it thoroughly

When ready, the dough will be glossy and smooth and will fall from the spoon as shown.

When ready, the dough will be glossy and smooth and will fall from the spoon as shown.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

40 min

50 min

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 4 ounces butter, unsalted
  • 5 fluid ounces water
  • 5 fluid ounces whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Pinch salt

How to Make Choux Pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C). Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Now sift the flour into a bowl and set aside until required.
  2. Put the water, milk and butter into a saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted completely and then bring the mixture to the boil.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in all the flour in one go. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until a dough forms. It should come away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Put the saucepan back onto the heat and stir continuously for approximately 2 minutes. The dough should look smooth and shiny at this stage.
  5. Pop the dough into a bowl and allow to cool for 3 to 4 minutes. In the meantime, beat the eggs. You just want the yolks to break up and blend with the whites—you're not trying to make it all frothy and yellow. Add in the vanilla extract and pinch of salt.
  6. Now start to pour the eggs into the dough, just a little at a time. After adding the eggs, stir vigorously. The dough will look as though it's coming apart, but if you continue to beat the eggs in with a wooden spoon, it will come together again. When it does, add a little more egg and beat this into the dough. Repeat the process until you have only a small amount of egg in reserve; you will use this to brush the top of the pastry before baking.
  7. You can tell the dough is ready when it is shiny and falls from the spoon in a way that creates a shape like a duck's bill (see photos).
  8. Spoon the dough into a large piping bag. The type of nozzle you use will depend on the type of pastry you intend to create. Pipe your pastry shapes onto the baking sheet and pop into the oven.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the heat in the oven down to 350˚F (180˚C). Continue to bake tor 30 minutes.
  10. When the pastry is golden brown, remove from the heat and transfer to a wire rack. Cut the pastry in half horizontally as soon as you've put them on the cooling rack. This lets out the steam and prevents the pastries from becoming soggy.
  11. If the centres of the pastries still appear to be uncooked, put them back into the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to dry out.
  12. Once the pastries have cooled, you can fill and top them as you choose.
Pipe the dough into rounds and bake until golden brown.

Pipe the dough into rounds and bake until golden brown.

When cooled, fill with whipped cream

When cooled, fill with whipped cream

Serve the profiteroles with chocolate sauce

Serve the profiteroles with chocolate sauce

Profiteroles With Chocolate Sauce

Follow steps 1–7 shown above.

Then put the dough into a piping bag with a star-shaped or plain round nozzle attached. Pipe rounds of approximately 1.5 inches onto the baking sheet. All you need to do is hold the piping bag over the baking tray and squeeze out some dough, allowing it to spread out until you have a circular shape of the desired size.

Bake the profiteroles as shown in steps 9–12 above. Once cooled, fill them with fresh whipped cream.

To make a chocolate sauce, melt 3.5 ounces chocolate (milk or plain according to your preference) in a bowl with 2 tablespoons butter and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use a double boiler (a bowl over a pan of simmering water) to melt the chocolate and butter together. Stir until there are no lumps and pour the chocolate sauce over the top of the profiteroles.

You can also use a store-bought chocolate sauce and can make it hot or cold according to your preference.

Pipe two layered circles of pastry, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaked almonds before baking

Pipe two layered circles of pastry, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaked almonds before baking

Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven and cut open horizontally to let out the steam.

Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven and cut open horizontally to let out the steam.

When cooled, fill with creme patissiere

When cooled, fill with creme patissiere

Sandwich the two pastry halves together, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Sandwich the two pastry halves together, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Paris-Brest With Creme Patissiere

This is a wonderful French dessert which is named after a bicycle race held in 1891, between the cities of Paris and Brest. The pastry is shaped to resemble the wheel of a bicycle. Traditionally, they are filled with a praline cream but I prefer to use creme patissiere (pastry cream) in mine.

To make the Paris-Brest, follow steps 1–7 as shown above.

Then put the pastry into a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe circles of approximately 6-inch diameter onto the baking sheet. Pipe a second circle on the top of each circle, so you have a double layer of pastry. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle flaked almonds over the pastries. Bake as directed above, remembering to cut the pastries in half horizontally as soon as you remove them from the oven. Fill with creme patissiere and dust with icing sugar before serving.

How to Make Creme Patissiere

To make creme patissiere (pastry cream), you will need:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 ounce all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk.

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the egg yolks with the sugar until they are well mixed and appear to have thickened.
  2. Stir in the flour, whisking well to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Put the milk and the vanilla into a saucepan and heat until it almost reaches boiling point. Don't allow it to actually boil.
  4. Whisking continuously, gradually pour the heated milk into the egg mixture.
  5. Return the egg and milk mix to the pan and stir over a gentle heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
  6. Cook for a further 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Use a whisk to stir continuously as it cooks to avoid getting lumps in the mixture.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and allow to cool.
  8. Use the creme patissiere to fill your Paris-Brest or alternatively it can be used to fill tart shells.

Rate this recipe

© 2012 alliemacb

Comments

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on September 26, 2012:

Mmmmm - I have had this before, but didn't really know what it was called, and of course had no idea how to make it. The recipe looks intimidating, but you made it look easy! If I gain weight, it's your fault!

Voted up and up!

alliemacb (author) from Scotland on September 23, 2012:

Thanks, Nettle.

Sonia Sood from Mumbai on September 23, 2012:

Can't wait to try this. Pinned!

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on September 23, 2012:

I've never tried making it, but you have succeeded in making me imagine I could. What I really wish is that you would post some of yours to me - they look delicious.

Novascotiamiss from Nova Scotia, Canada on September 22, 2012:

This is very mouthwatering. If you have any leftovers please let me know and I'll be there in a flash....

alliemacb (author) from Scotland on September 22, 2012:

Thanks, LaThing. It's amazing how scared people get of making choux pastry but as you say, it's actuakly easy to do

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on September 22, 2012:

I have recently started making Choux Pastry and love it! Your are absolutely right, it's easy to make and taste great! Will try your version and will have to make the cream! Thanks for the tips....

alliemacb (author) from Scotland on September 21, 2012:

Thanks, Pollyannalana.

alliemacb (author) from Scotland on September 21, 2012:

DzyMsLizzy, you are absolutely right about beating the eggs into the dough. It's a real workout for the arms! Thanks for stopping by.

Pollyannalana from US on September 21, 2012:

Yum I will have to try this. Thanks.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on September 21, 2012:

Oh, golly! I haven't had these in a coon's age, and I've never made them myself. When I was a child, a friend of my mom's used to make these profiteroles (we called them creme puffs) once in a while...I remember the arm-wringing beating it took to mix in the eggs.

This was a very well explained and superbly well-illustrated recipe. Bookmarked, voted up, interesting, useful, awesome and shared.

Graham Gifford from New Hamphire on September 21, 2012:

Back when I was a professional cook, I remember making hundreds and hundreds of tiny profiteroles for both dessert and hors d'oeuvres. A bit intimidating when you first learn because of their beautiful appearance, but as you have shown, pate choux is very easy to master. I'm now craving a Paris-Brest...must go....

cfin from The World we live in on September 21, 2012:

Delicious :)

alliemacb (author) from Scotland on September 21, 2012:

Tnanks for stopping by and leaving a positive comment. I only started baking about a year ago and can't get enough. The only problem is that it does have an impact on my waistline!

MickiS from San Francisco on September 21, 2012:

I love these pastries, and they are beautiful to boot. Like Carol, I've never tried making them (I'm more a cook than a baker), but I sure enjoyed your photographs of the process.

alliemacb (author) from Scotland on September 21, 2012:

Thanks, Carol.

alliemacb (author) from Scotland on September 21, 2012:

Thank you.

nanderson500 from Seattle, WA on September 21, 2012:

This looks delicious. Nice pics.

carol stanley from Arizona on September 21, 2012:

I love choux dough but have never tried it. You must be quite the cook and baker. I remember a recipe with gruyere cheese in a roll of the dough. These recipes sound wonderful and when I put on my baking cap..I will have this bookmarked. Up and shared.