Choux pastry has been one of my all-time favorite desserts, whether it comes in the form of profiteroles or éclairs or whatever other form it may be! Not the easiest type of dough to work with especially if you are new in the kitchen but still worthwile to try and improve your skills, because the end result is so appealing both to the palate and the eye.
As long as you have planned ahead and are able to show a little bit of patience throughout the process of making these beautiful pastries, all your effort and tenacity is bound to pay off! So then, let’s get started…
Beat eggs, sugar and cornstarch. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add into egg mixture.
In a saucepan, heat milk with the vanilla pod. When milk comes to a simmering point, take the vanilla pod out and slowly add hot milk to the egg mixture while continuously beating with a whisk.
Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk, beating vigorously and then place mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat while continuously stirring until mixture starts to thicken.
Take off heat, add butter and mix until it melts into the mixture. Transfer into a shallow glass vessel and cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool at room temperature then place in refrigerator for 2-3 hrs.
To make the crème diplomat, whip the double cream and fold into the chilled crème pâtissiére.
Place first four ingredients in a saucepan and heat until mixture rises to a boil. Add flour all at once and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough starts pulling off from the sides of the pan and forms into a ball. Take off heat and leave to cool shortly. Meanwhile start heating oven and line 2 trays with baking paper.
You can prepare the creme pat one night in advance.
You can skip Step 5 and use the creme pat as is, i.e. without adding the whipped cream. In this case, before filling your “pâte à choux,” mix the creme well with a whisk to obtain a smooth texture and get rid of any lumps that may have formed while cooling.
It is very important for this recipe that all ingredients (but especially the eggs!) are at room temperature.
You can use your mixer for Step 7, to speed things up a bit!
I use a size 1C star tip to pipe the dough but it doesn't necessarily have to be star shaped. You can use a plain tip just as well.
After cutting the baked choux pastries in half, you may need to place them back into the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. This will also be necessary if you bake the choux in advance and store them in a box - they tend to become soft and spongy and will need to dry up a bit before you assemble your dessert!