How To Make Choux Pastry Profiterole and Paris-Brest

Updated on January 13, 2017
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 | Source

Homemade Choux Pastry

Choux pastry is wonderfully versatile and can be used as the basis for a variety of fabulous desserts. Often people are 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 | Source
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. | Source
Put the choux pastry dough into a bowl to cool
Put the choux pastry dough into a bowl to cool | Source
Whisk the eggs with the salt and vanilla extract.
Whisk the eggs with the salt and vanilla extract. | Source
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 | Source
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. | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: Serves 4 people

Ingredients

  • 5 oz all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 4 oz butter, unsalted
  • 5 fl oz water
  • 5 fl oz whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • pinch salt

To Make The Choux Pastry

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F / 220C. 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 3-4 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 350F / 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 5-10 minutes to dry out.
  12. Once the pastries have cooled, you can fill and top them as you choose.

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. Once cooled, fill them with fresh whipped cream.

To make a chocolate sauce, melt 3.5 oz chocolate (milk or plain according to your preference) in a bowl with 2 tbsp 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 the dough into rounds and bake until golden brown.
Pipe the dough into rounds and bake until golden brown. | Source
When cooled, fill with whipped cream
When cooled, fill with whipped cream | Source
Serve the profiteroles with chocolate sauce
Serve the profiteroles with chocolate sauce | Source
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 | Source
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. | Source
When cooled, fill with creme patissiere
When cooled, fill with creme patissiere | Source
Sandwich the two pastry halves together, dust with icing sugar and serve.
Sandwich the two pastry halves together, dust with icing sugar and serve. | Source

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 oz all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
  • 1 and 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.

Favourite choux pastry desserts

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  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    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 profile image
    Author

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

    Thanks, Nettle.

  • indian cooking profile image

    Sonia Sood 5 years ago from Mumbai

    Can't wait to try this. Pinned!

  • Nettlemere profile image

    Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

    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 profile image

    novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

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

  • alliemacb profile image
    Author

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

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

  • LaThing profile image

    LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

    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 profile image
    Author

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

    Thanks, Pollyannalana.

  • alliemacb profile image
    Author

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

    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 profile image

    Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

    Yum I will have to try this. Thanks.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    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.

  • alifeofdesign profile image

    Graham Gifford 5 years ago from New Hamphire

    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 profile image

    cfin 5 years ago from The World we live in

    Delicious :)

  • alliemacb profile image
    Author

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

    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 profile image

    MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

    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 profile image
    Author

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

    Thanks, Carol.

  • alliemacb profile image
    Author

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

    Thank you.

  • nanderson500 profile image

    nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

    This looks delicious. Nice pics.

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

    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.