Choux Pastry, or pâte à choux, is a light pastry dough that uses only eggs, butter, flour and water. It is used to prepare éclairs, profiteroles, St. Honour cake, croquembouches, gougéres, beignets, among many others.
The dough was first invented in 1540, by Panterelli, a French chef. The dough was used by him to prepare a gâteau which he named Pâte à Panterelli. Over a number of years, the dough went through various evolutions, and this saw the creation of the Choux Bun, in the 18th century. The dough name changed as time went by and became Pâte à Choux. Its name was assigned because of the resemblance that the dough had to “cabbages”, as it formed an irregular shape after baking. Choux meant cabbage in French, which is how the dough was named.
Unlike short crust, flaky or puff pastry, choux pastry dough is made from water and flour which is further enriched and lightened through the incorporation of eggs while beating the paste.
When baked, Choux Pastry forms into a crisp shell with a thin, moist lining of cooked paste and a hollow centre. There is no leavening agent in choux pastry. Instead, these pastries rely on the steam produced during baking to puff up and form the hollow centre. It can also be shaped into various shapes prior to baking, which enables it to be used to make a variety of delicious goodies.
Choux pastry / Pâte à choux
20g caster sugar
100g butter, and extra for greasing
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking time: 6 minutes
Recipe: Ginette Mathiot – Je Sais Cuisiner
In a large pan, gently heat 120ml water and the sugar, butter and salt until the butter has melted, then bring to the boil.
Quickly add the flour all at once, and beat with a wooden spoon.
Reduce the heat and continue to beat the dough for about 1 minute until it comes away easily from the sides of the pan.
Grease a plate with butter, turn the mixture out onto it and leave to cool to room temperature.
Return to the pan and gradually beat in the eggs until the dough is smooth and glossy.
1 quantity choux pastry
butter for greasing
chocolate crème pâtissière
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Recipe: Ginette Mathiot – Je Sais Cuisiner
Make the choux pastry.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C and grease a baking tray with butter.
Pipe or spoon the dough into fingers on the prepared tray.
Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool. When cooled, slit the éclairs along the side, fill with chocolate crème pâtissière and top with chocolate icing.
Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris, was founded in 1730 by King Louis XV’s pastry chef, Nicolas Stohrer. It has been located ever since at 51 rue Montorgueil, and is a legend in its own right.
Nicolas Stohrer was pastry chef to Stanislas Leszczynski, Duke of Lorraine, former King of Poland, and father of Marie Leszczynska, who married Louis XV of France. He invented the rum baba, which has since become a legendary recipe.
Century after century, this mecca for both sweet and savory delicacies, where everything is prepared in-house, has offered the best of classic French pastry. Today the shop is part national treasure, part tourist destination, it has diversified into traiteur and event catering but it remains, essentially, a delightful pâtisserie
The pastry shop is home to all manner of finely sliced sandwiches, intricately created desserts and local speacialties. Even the window display is almost always full with traiteur (take out) goods, with salads served from large porcelain bowls, œufsen gelée, Bouchées à la Reine puff pastries with rich cream sauce spilling out, gratins, and some very impressive savory tourtes sold by the wedge.
Stohrer is famous for its éclairs, which have won the shop numerous awards. These choux pastry marvels can be filled with classic coffee or chocolate pastry cream, as well as passion fruit. It truly is a delectable experience trying all of the different treats at Stohrer.
Listed as a historical site, its lavish décor was designed by a student of Paul Baudry, who decorated the Opéra Garnier.
The Dolfi family, who owns the House, is faithful to tradition and wishes to keep the spirit of Stohrer alive, relying on its incomparable legacy and the know-how of head pastry chef Jeffrey Cagnes.