Easy Tips for No-Fail Pate a Choux Pastry.  You can make almost anything with this versatile french dough!

Get it, like "too easy"!?  *dadum tss* It's been a long week...  Anyhow, these look so good and are so versatile, everyone is always impressed when you bring these to the table.  It can just be our little secret that they are so easy and not nearly as fussy as they look!

Cream Puffs are my dad's favorite dessert, so over the years my mom has perfected the art of making choux pastry.  She can tell when they are done just by how they smell while baking (an art that I hope to master someday- I think maybe women get that when you get the all-moms-have-eyes-on-the-back-of-their-head skill and other womanly superhero tricks).  Someday...

In the meantime, you can use my tips below to make the perfect pastry!  No fussing, no fancy tools, no crying.  I promise you'll like making them and we will all be friends when it's over!
Makes: depending on size, 12 large, 24small
Time: about 1 hour total, baking time included
1 stick unsalted butter (113g.)
1 cup flour (128g.)
1 cup water (236ml.)
4 eggs

In a saucepan, melt the butter in the water.  Some recipes say to boil it, but I don't like to- I can't see what it could possible add to the recipe and you risk boiling off some of your water and messing with the ratios.  Remove from heat and mix in the flour.  Some recipes say to "cook" the flour to add to it's elasticity by stirring over medium heat.  I've made them both ways and find no difference in the end result, but to each their own! Add the eggs, one at a time. (It will seem like there is no way they will mix in and then, at the very last minute, they will.  Ahh, the magic of cooking).

Easy, No-Fail Tips for Pate a Choux Pastry (cream puffs, eclairs, gougeres, profiterole)

Let the mixture cool enough to put it into a pastry bag or a plastic baggie with the tip cut off and pipe onto a baking sheet.  You can use fancy tips, make fancy shapes, big or small.  Bake at 350'F- the length of time will vary depending on the size of the pastries and the actual temperature of your oven, which can vary greatly.

Here are the three most important tricks to getting your choux pastry just right:

1. Bake them until they are browned on the top but, more importantly, you will know that they are done when all of the little bubbles that form on the surface of their tops disappear.  That is when they are done.

2. Don't open the oven door to check on them, no matter how incredibly tempting this is!  The steam that builds up in the oven is helpful to their success.

3. Poke them with a skewer to release the steam when you take them out of the oven.  If I were Cooks Illustrated, I could tell you the scientific reasoning behind this, but I'm not, so I can't.  I just know that they are less likely to fall and less soggy when you do this.

There you have it!  A basic, easy choux pastry recipe- now you can take it and make it your own!

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