Paté à choux, or choux pastry, is the simple preparation for making those wonderful puff shells or profiteroles which we have all come to love. They really are the ultimate tea time treat. They take you back to your childhood with a little plate of nostalgia. They are so easy to make and I hope to show you here how easy they really are so you can make them at home.
All it really consists of is a very thick white sauce, sometimes called a panade of flour, water, butter, eggs and seasoning.
You can quite easily make your own choux paste in ten minutes! And here's how!
· 110g plain, all purpose flour
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 175 mls (6 fl oz ) water
· 85 g (3oz) unsalted butter cut into pieces
· 3 eggs
· Pinch of nutmeg
· Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas 6)
· Sift the flour together with the salt and nutmeg.
· Put the water into a heavy bottomed medium pan, add the butter and bring to the boil.
· Remove it immediately from the heat and quickly add the flour mixture.
· Beat well with a wooden spoon and continue to beat until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
· At this stage, place the pan back on a low heat and continue beating for about 2 minutes.
· Remove from the heat.
· Make a well in the middle and place one egg in the well and beat into the mixture until well absorbed.
· Continue with the other eggs in the same way, it should be easier with the last egg.
· The mixture should now be shiny and smooth.
· Drop tablespoons of the mixture on to a baking sheet, leaving a space between each one to allow for it to puff.
· You can use a piping bag with a 1/2 inch round tube opening if you prefer.
· Place into a pre-heated oven and bake for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
· Take out of the oven and pierce each puff to allow the steam to escape.
· Turn the oven off and place the puffs back in the oven with the door ajar for about 10 minutes.
· Remove and allow to cool on a wire tray.
· 10oz (275g) plain chocolate broken in pieces
· 120ml (8 tablespoons) warm water
· Place the chocolate and water in a bowl in a pan over hot water (or in a double boiler if you have one) and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring as it melts.
· Keep warm while you fill the puffs with your choice of filling.
To serve, split the puffs in half and fill with vanilla ice cream or thick fresh cream.
Arrange on a serving plate or individual plates and pour the chocolate sauce over them and serve at once.