Pâte à choux

This easy recipe, sometimes called cream puff shells or puff pastry can be used in many ways. Unsweetened, it is a base for Gnocchi or Dauphine Potatoes, a bland form for filling, soup garnishes or hors d’oeuvre cases. Sweetened, it can become a base for éclairs or beignets. Shaped as round cases, it can become profiteroles when filled with ice cream and covered with a chocolate sauce. In a towering pyramid, it becomes a Croquembouche.


For about 20 choux or 40 small puffs:

1 cup of water
1/4 lb. of butter cut in 5 or 6 slices
1/4 tsp of salt, 1/2 Tbsp of sugar
1 cup* of all-purpose flour
4 eggs

For about 80 choux or 160 small puffs:

4 cup of water
1 lb of butter, cut in slices
1 tsp of salt, 2 Tbsp of sugar
4 cups of all-purpose
4 eggs

  • Combine water, salt, sugar and butter in saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add flour.
  • Beat vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture forms a ball.
  • The dough, or panade, should be soft but not sticky.
  • Return to heat for a minute and continue beating to remove moisture.
  • Transfer to a clean bowl.
  • By hand, or in a mixer, add one egg at a time and beat well.

Fill a pastry bag with the pâte à choux, coat a large cookie sheet with butter & flour.

  • Squeeze out puffs about the size of a golf ball.
  • Brush the top with a egg wash (a whole egg, beaten), pushing down the tails.
  • Let the choux dry for a while before cooking.
  • Bake in a 370°F preheated oven for 35 minutes or until well puffed and golden.
  • Shut off the heat, open the oven door slightly and let the puffs cool slowly for 1 hour.

* 165 grams or 6 oz