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Choux Chantilly

Choux chantilly is a delicious French pastry made of pâte à choux (pronounced “pot – a – shoe”) and chantilly cream.  Pâte à choux, also called choux pastry, is a unique pastry that’s made by cooking the dough in a saucepan and then piping it into the desired shape.  In this case, it’s piped into rounded mounds (e.g., the shape of a cream puff) and then baked.  Instead of using a leavening agent (e.g., yeast, baking powder, or baking soda), choux pastry rises when the moisture inside the dough turns to steam.  This causes the dough to “puff up” and become hollow. 

Choux Chantilly, Pâte à choux, and Cream Puff

Pâte à choux dough can be used to make multiple desserts including éclairs, Paris-Brest, profiteroles, cream puffs, and gougères.  These desserts are very similar except the shape of the piped dough is different and they frequently have different fillings. 

Like many French pastries, there is a learning curve associated with making pâte à choux, but the end result is truly fantastic!  Don’t be afraid or intimidated.  It’s easier than it might seem.  Also, any mistakes when you practice become the “chef’s treat” (aka the perfect excuse to get first dibs at your delicious creation). 

Choux Chantilly with Chantilly Cream (also Pâte à choux and Cream Puff)

Fill the pâte à choux with Chantilly cream and berries for a light treat that is good any time of the day. 

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Ingredients for Pâte à Choux
Equipment
Prepping for Baking

Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  I like these pre-cut sheets, so they lie flat on the pan.  I also sometimes use a silpain (a silicone mat with holes that is used to bake bread).  If you want a guide to make all of the piped mounds an equal size, you can trace 1.5” (3.75cm) circles on the underside of the parchment paper.  Flip the parchment paper back over before piping so the ink or pencil marks don’t touch the dough.  Also, make sure to leave at least an inch between the circles so the pâte à choux mounds can rise without touching. 

Making the Pâte à Choux Dough
Pâte à choux Ingredients
Pâte à choux Ingredients

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt with a wooden spoon.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat while stirring frequently.  Don’t let the milk scorch while heating it. 

Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the flour, and stir vigorously until the dough comes together into a ball.  This is when a wooden spoon comes in handy because the dough will be VERY stiff.  This will be a small arm workout while stirring. 

Stir constantly while continuing to cook for 1-2 minutes.  The dough will begin to dry, and a film will form on the bottom of the saucepan while cooking.  When the film covers the bottom of the pan, remove the pan from the heat. 

Adding the Eggs
Pâte à choux Dough

Immediately transfer the dough to the stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer). 

Pâte à choux Dough

Mix on low speed for a few minutes (i.e., until the steam stops rising) to release some of the heat from the dough.  Begin to add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed.  The amount of eggs needed to make this recipe will vary slightly due to the amount of moisture that was cooked off in the previous step and the size of the eggs.  Incorporate each egg fully before adding the next to ensure that the mixture does not become too runny. 

Pâte à choux Dough

When adding the egg, the mixture will immediately begin to look curdled.  After mixing for a few seconds, the dough should smooth out. 

Pâte à choux Dough

After adding two eggs, use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  Test the consistency of the dough by dipping the paddle attachment or a spatula into the dough, holding it above the bowl, and checking to see how the dough falls.  If the consistency is correct, the dough should hang down from the paddle in a “V.”

If it doesn’t hold a “V,” more liquid is needed.  Beat the remaining eggs and add small amounts at a time to the dough (i.e., don’t pour in an entire egg).  Don’t add too much of the beaten eggs because you can turn the dough into “soup” (i.e., a very thin dough).  Keep any remaining eggs to use as an egg wash.  If you used all of your eggs, beat the additional egg yolk and use for the egg wash instead. I didn’t need the additional yolk.

Dough Troubleshooting

If you’ve added too many eggs, DO NOT add more flour to thicken it up.  You will have two options. 

  1. Try to use the dough anyway.  It will spread on the pan, so you will end up with shorter and less “puffy” choux.  They should taste the same and you can always make up for the height difference with lots of cream and fruit.
  2. Make up another quick batch the same way as before, but don’t add any eggs.  Mix the two batches together and then begin to slowly add eggs until you reach the correct consistency. 
Preparing the Piping Bag

After getting the dough to the correct consistency, prepare your piping bag by placing a large round tip (approximately ½” or 1.25cm) into the bag and filling it halfway with choux pastry dough.  Use your hand or a bench scraper to push the dough toward the tip to remove any air bubbles.  Try not to fill the bag more than halfway because the dough is a little stiff and it can be hard to squeeze the bag when it is very full.  Refill the bag as necessary. See the note below for an alternative to using a piping bag.1 

Piping the Dough
Piped Pâte à choux Dough

Hold the bag at a 90-degree angle (i.e., perpendicular) approximately ½ inch (1.25cm) above the prepared baking sheet.  Squeeze evenly without raising or moving the bag until you reach the desired size (approximately 1.5 inches (3.75cm) in diameter).  Stop squeezing and quickly flick your wrist away from the dough.  This should help to leave a small tail rather than a large tail (like a Hersey’s Kiss) when pulling the bag up. 

If there are any tips on the pâte à choux, dip your finger in a small amount of water and gently flatten the tips.  If you do not flatten the tips, they will burn in the oven, in addition to not looking right. 

Piped Pâte à choux Dough

Finish by using a pastry brush to gently brush a small amount of egg wash over the top of each pastry. 

Baking the Choux Chantilly

Place the baking sheet on the center rack in the preheated 425°F/220°C oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the pastries rise.  At this point, a soft shell forms on the outside of the dough, which forces the water inside the puff to turn to steam.  If the oven is not at a high enough temperature, steam will not be created and the pâte à choux dough will remain flat and dense. 

Choux Chantilly, Pâte à choux, and Cream Puff

After the pastries rise, lower the heat to 350°F/175°C and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  The goal during this stage of baking is to create a crisp crust and to dry out the pastries completely so they aren’t doughy on the inside.  DO NOT OPEN the oven door during the baking process.  Opening the door could cause the pastries to collapse. 

Once they have finished baking and are golden brown, turn off the oven and use a wooden spoon to prop open the oven door for 10 minutes to release steam and some of the heat.  Then, close the oven door and let them sit for 1-1.5 hours to dry out completely. 

Choux Chantilly, Pâte à choux, and Cream Puff

If you cut the puff in half, the inside should be hollow and completely dry.  If they haven’t dried completely, leave them for a little while longer. 

Cooling the Choux Chantilly

Remove the pastries from the oven and allow to cool completely on the pan.  Use them immediately or store them in an airtight container until ready to use.  These are best the day they’re made, but you can always reheat them for a couple minutes in the oven if they have lost their crispy exterior. 

Freezing Choux Pastry

There are two options for freezing choux pastry:

  1. The first is after piping the dough and brushing them with egg wash.  Place the baking sheet into the freezer without anything covering it until the pastry is completely frozen.  Then, wrap the pastries in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags or an airtight container.  Before baking, remove them from the freezer and allow them to come to room temperature on a baking sheet. 
  2. The second freezing option is after the dough has been baked.  Allow the baked pastries to cool completely.  Freeze them on the baking sheet (unwrapped).  Then, transfer to an airtight container or a freezer bag.  To eat, let the pâte à choux come to room temperature while preheating the oven to 425°F/220°C.  When thawed, place the pastries in the oven for 1-2 minutes to ensure the pâte à choux is crispy and not soggy. 
Constructing the Choux Chantilly

To make the Choux Chantilly, cut off the top third of the puff and pipe a generous amount of Chantilly Cream into the cavity inside the bottom of the pastry.  I used a large star tip to pipe the cream. Return the top of the pastry and garnish with fresh fruit and powdered sugar. 

Choux Chantilly with Chantilly Cream (also Pâte à choux and Cream Puff)

Each Choux Chantilly is light and airy with burst of sweetness and tartness from the fruit.  I probably could have eaten all of them if I didn’t have guests to share with.

Choux Chantilly Variations
Fourth of July or Independence Day
Choux Chantilly with Chantilly Cream (also Pâte à choux and Cream Puff)
Choux Chantilly with Chantilly Cream (also Pâte à choux and Cream Puff)

It’s easy to customize Choux Chantilly for the Fourth of July or Independence Day by adding your favorite red, white, and blue colored fruit. Mix and match strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries for an easy patriotic dessert!

Cream Puffs
Pâte à choux and Cream Puff with Chantilly Cream

Rather than cutting the top off of the pastry, poke a small hole into the bottom of the puff and fill with Chantilly Cream or Pastry Cream.

More French Recipes:
Choux Chantilly with Chantilly Cream (also Pâte à choux and Cream Puff)
Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving your thoughts and any helpful tips and tricks below. Or snap a photo and share it on Pinterest or Instagram (@windycitybaker).

Choux Chantilly

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Drying Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French

Equipment

  • Piping bag
  • Large round tip (approximately ½-inch (1.25cm) in diameter
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients

  • cup (75g) water
  • ¼ cup + 1 tsp (70g) whole milk
  • Tbsp (75g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp (3g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (2g) salt
  • cup (100g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 to 4 large (150-200g) eggs
  • 1 large (20g) egg yolk (if necessary)

Instructions

Prepping for Baking

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  I like to use pre-cut sheets, so they lie flat on the pan.  I also sometimes use a silpain (a silicone mat with holes that is used to bake bread).  If you want a guide to make all of the piped mounds an equal size, you can trace 1.5” circles on the underside of the parchment paper.  Flip the parchment paper back over before piping so the ink or pencil marks don’t touch the dough.  Also, make sure to leave at least an inch between the circles so the pâte à choux mounds can rise without touching. 

Making the Pâte à Choux Dough

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt with a wooden spoon.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat while stirring frequently.  Don’t let the milk scorch while heating it. 
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the flour, and stir vigorously until the dough comes together into a ball. 
  • Stir constantly while continuing to cook for 1-2 minutes.  The dough will begin to dry, and a film will form on the bottom of the saucepan while cooking.  When the film covers the bottom of the pan, remove the pan from the heat. 

Adding the Eggs

  • Immediately transfer the dough to the stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer). 
  • Mix on low speed for a few minutes (i.e., until the steam stops rising) to release some of the heat from the dough.  Begin to add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed.  The amount of eggs needed to make this recipe will vary slightly due to the amount of moisture that was cooked off in the previous step and the size of the eggs.  Incorporate each egg fully before adding the next to ensure that the mixture does not become too runny. 
  • When adding the egg, the mixture will immediately begin to look curdled.  After mixing for a few seconds, the dough should smooth out. 
  • After adding two eggs, use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  Test the consistency of the dough by dipping the paddle attachment or a spatula into the dough, holding it above the bowl, and checking to see how the dough falls.  If the consistency is correct, the dough should hang down from the paddle in a “V.”
  • If it doesn’t hold a “V,” more liquid is needed.  Beat the remaining eggs and add small amounts at a time to the dough (i.e., don’t pour in an entire egg).  Don’t add too much of the beaten eggs because you can turn the dough into “soup” (i.e., a very thin dough).  Keep any remaining egg to use as an egg wash.  If you used all of your eggs, beat the additional egg yolk and use for the egg wash. I did not need the additional yolk.

Dough Troubleshooting

  • If you’ve added too many eggs, DO NOT add more flour to thicken it up.  You will have two options:
  • First, try to use the dough anyway.  It will spread on the pan, so you will end up with shorter and less “puffy” choux.  They should taste the same and you can always make up for the height difference with lots of cream and fruit.
  • Second, make up another quick batch the same way as before, but don’t add any eggs.  Mix the two batches together and then begin to slowly add eggs until you reach the correct consistency. 

Preparing the Piping Bag

  • After getting the dough to the correct consistency, prepare your piping bag by placing a large round tip (approximately ½”(1.25cm)) into the bag and filling it halfway with choux pastry dough.  Use your hand or a bench scraper to push the dough toward the tip to remove any air bubbles.  Try not to fill the bag more than halfway because the dough is a little stiff and it can be hard to squeeze the bag when it's very full.  Refill the bag as necessary.

Piping the Dough

  • Hold the bag at a 90-degree angle (i.e., perpendicular) approximately ½-inch (1.25cm) above the prepared baking sheet.  Squeeze evenly without raising or moving the bag until you reach the desired size (approximately 1.5 inches (3.75cm) in diameter).  Stop squeezing and quickly flick your wrist away from the dough. 
  • If there are any tips on the pâte à choux, dip your finger in a small amount of water and gently flatten the tips.  If you do not flatten the tips, they will burn in the oven, in addition to not looking right. 
  • Finish by using a pastry brush to gently brush a small amount of egg wash over the top of each pastry. 

Baking the Choux Chantilly

  • Place the baking sheet on the center rack in the preheated 425°F/220°C oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the pastries rise.  At this point, a soft shell forms on the outside of the dough, which forces the water inside the puff to turn to steam.  If the oven is not at a high enough temperature, steam will not be created and the pâte à choux dough will remain flat and dense. 
  • After the pastries rise, lower the heat to 350°F/175°C and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  The goal during this stage of baking is to create a crisp crust and to dry out the pastries completely so they aren’t doughy on the inside.  DO NOT OPEN the oven door during the baking process.  Opening the door could cause the pastries to collapse. 
  • Once they have finished baking and are golden brown, turn off the oven and use a wooden spoon to prop open the oven door for 10 minutes to release steam and some of the heat.  Then, close the oven door and let them sit for 1-1.5 hours to dry out completely. 
  • If you cut a puff in half, the inside should be hollow and completely dry.  If they haven’t dried completely, leave them for a little while longer. 

Cooling the Choux Chantilly

  • Remove the pastries from the oven and allow to cool completely on the pan.  Use them immediately or store them in an airtight container until ready to use.  These are best the day they’re made, but you can always reheat them for a couple minutes in the oven if they have lost their crispy exterior. 

Freezing Choux Pastry

  • There are two options for freezing choux pastry:
  • The first is after piping the dough and brushing them with egg wash.  Place the baking sheet into the freezer without anything covering it until the pastry is completely frozen.  Then, wrap the pastries in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags or an airtight container.  Before baking, remove them from the freezer and allow them to come to room temperature on a baking sheet. 
  • The second freezing option is after the dough has been baked.  Allow the baked pastries to cool completely.  Freeze them on the baking sheet (unwrapped).  Then, transfer to an airtight container or a freezer bag.  To eat, let the pâte à choux come to room temperature while preheating the oven to 425°F/220°C.  When thawed, place the pastries in the oven for 1-2 minutes to ensure the pâte à choux is crispy and not soggy. 

Constructing the Choux Chantilly

  • To make the Choux Chantilly, cut off the top third of the puff and pipe a generous amount of Chantilly Cream into the cavity inside the bottom of the pastry.  I used a large star tip to pipe the cream. Return the top of the pastry and garnish with fresh fruit and powdered sugar. 
Choux Chantilly with Chantilly Cream (also Pâte à choux and Cream Puff)
Notes
  1. If you don’t have a piping bag, you use a teaspoon that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray or oil to scoop out a mound of dough.  Use your finger to push the dough off of the spoon and onto the baking sheet. (Back to “Preparing Piping Bag” section)
  2. This recipe was inspired by “My Go-To Pâte à Choux” recipe in Everyone Can Bake by Dominic Ansel.

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