Making Pate a Choux

This versatile dough is perfect for baking light-as-air pastries like eclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs and gougeres.

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©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

©2015, Food Network

What's Pate a Choux?

With its fancy French name, pate a choux might sound intimidating to some, but it’s actually a very simple dough to make. Enriched with melted butter and eggs, pate a choux is prepared on the stovetop before being piped into various shapes and baked. As it cooks the dough puffs up, leaving a hollow space inside that’s just begging to be filled with sweet or savory fillings.

Gather Your Ingredients

You’ll need butter, salt, flour and eggs. Be sure to crack the eggs into a bowl before beginning.

Turn Up the Heat

Melt the butter in a high-sided saucepan along with the salt and water. 

Add the Flour

Once the butter is melted, add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. (Don’t worry, you can’t overmix this dough!)

Watch the Sides

Continue stirring until the dough appears dry and begins pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Add the Eggs

Transfer the flour mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, allowing it to cool slightly, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Note that your dough will look hopelessly broken after you add each egg, but it will magically come back together as you continue mixing.

Prepare for Piping

Once all the eggs are in, scoop the finished dough into a piping bag fitted with your favorite tip. If you like, use a bench scraper to press the dough down into the bag to release any air pockets.

Get in Line

For an eclair shape, pipe short lines of dough onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, turning the bag at the end of each line to release the dough neatly. For a round shape, pipe dough into golf ball-size balls.

Time to Bake

Put the pastries into the oven and bake until they're puffed and golden.

Ready to Fill

When they're done, your pate a choux pastries will be dry and mostly hollow inside. Once completely cooled, they're ready to be filled with sweet or savory fillings such as whipped cream, pastry cream or smoked salmon mousse.


Recipes that Use Pate a Choux:

Chocolate Eclairs

Strawberry Cream Puffs Extraordinaire

Profiteroles with Ricotta Mascarpone