Choux, Pichet Ong

cool choux batter

These are supremely puffy. They expand with exuberance and zero sense of decorum. They are also obscenely delicious warm from the oven. Maybe I had plain choux for dinner… Who knows?

crust at the bottom of the pot after 4-5 minutes of cooking the roux

They’re a different bird than Migoya’s choux… Migoya emphasis is in appearance. I tried cooling half this batter to see if there was any difference besides being easier to pipe – the end result didn’t show much difference, neither did the choux suffer tremendously from sitting out for 40 minutes except not puffing up as much. The oil mist that tamed Migoya’s choux was futile on this dough’s enthusiasm, if anything the rips were deeper and the eclairs less puffy, sinking a little in the middle.

fresh choux

fresh choux

fresh choux - the one on the right probably had an air bubble

cool choux batter

cool choux batter

The cool choux batter is not as puffy as the warm one.

The baking time was problematic, baking them for the full 20 minutes on 175C is impossible. The surfaces started to burn at the 12 minute mark, but were still a bit wet inside. Switching the oven off, leaving the door open a crack and leaving them in for another 15 minutes works. Here’s Norman Love’s recipe for pate a choux,similar temperatures but only 5-7 minutes at 175C.

cool choux batter

cool choux batter

So the reason why choux batter must be used immediately is so that it’ll have better puff. Perhaps Migoya’s choux is cooled on purpose to control the puffing.

overbaked choux

I have yet to settle on the perfect baking time, as well as test out the frozen unbaked choux, so stay tuned.

Pate a Choux
By Pichet Ong

water, 140g
whole milk, 110g
butter, cut into pieces, 113g
sweetened condensed milk, 2T (48g)
salt, 1/2t
AP flour, 125g
large eggs, 4 (more may be needed)

Egg wash:
egg yolk, 1
water, 2T

Put the first 5 ingredients into saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil.

Add the flour all at once to the boiling mixture. Stir with wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until a smooth mass forms. Keep cooking and stirring it around over moderate heat to dry out the dough as much as possible, about 4-5 minutes.

Transfer dough to mixing bowl. With the paddle attachment, beat at medium speed to release steam and cool a bit for one minute.

At low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated between additions.
The dough should look smooth and glossy. When you lift up some of the dough with a spatula
it should take 5-7 seconds to fall back into the bowl. If it doesn’t fall back into the bowl at all,
you need more eggs. Eggs in pate choux are ALWAYS variable. The above is only a guide. When I need to add additional eggs, I add the yolk first and check the dough. If I still need more, I add the white, and so forth. Sometimes one whole egg can be too much.

When your dough is ready, fill a pastry bag with a plain tip and pipe out as desired. Beat one egg yolk with 2 Tbsp. water to make an egg wash. Egg wash the choux, and sprinkle with a little coarse salt if desired. Put in pre-heated 200C oven for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 175C to continue baking for about 20 minutes more, until  the puffs are a deep golden brown, and nearly weightless. No matter how beguilingly they beckon do not open the oven door before they are thoroughly brown.
Note: It took me 10 mins at 200C, 10 minutes at 175C and then 15 minutes with the oven switched off and door ajar. If frozen bake for 12 minutes at 200C and keep everything else the same.

If freezing: Pipe onto a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then store in a ziploc bag for up to one month. Bake directly from the freezer, adding a couple extra minutes to the initial baking time.

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