Oh August, what fun you brought; vacation time, a trip to France, and Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Doesn’t get much better than that. And this months Daring Bakers Challenge was pate a choux (cream puff) swans.
We’ve made pate a choux before, if you recall the croquembouche. But apparently it was so long ago, I forgot the technique. Fortunately for YouTube, I only had to throw away the first attempt, which was completely runny. That’s not unexpected when the liquid in the dough is about the same amount as the dry. But attempt number two yielded a stiff dough like a pro. I attribute that success due to adding the flour to the water/butter mixture after bringing it to a boil and still over heat.
I halved the recipe so I didn’t have a lot of dough to play with, but I tried to make sharks in addition to swans. Try is the key word. They seemed to look more like airplanes with a fin. Therefore I just used the fin to create an impending shark attack scene with leftover pastry cream.
Pate a choux is pretty versatile, so I’m sure I will use the recipe yet again. But I’m not so sure that I’ll repeat using it for swans.
Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!
Pate a choux
(cannot be doubled)
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) butter
1 cup (240 ml) water
¼ teaspoon (1½ gm) salt
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
- Line at least two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, or grease pans well.
- Preheat oven to 415°F.
- In a small saucepot, combine butter, water, and salt. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and add flour all at once. Mixture should come together in a stiff ball. Remove from heat and continue mixing until room temperature.
- Add one egg, and beat until well combined. Add remaining eggs individually, beating vigorously after each addition. Resulting mixture should be somewhat glossy, very smooth, and somewhat thick.
- Spoon or pipe out classic rounds or other desired shapes.
- Bake in oven about 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375°F and bake until lightly browned, about another 10 minutes.
- Allow to completely cool before filling with pastry cream.