Choux Pastry tips
This easy and versatile pastry has many sweet and savory uses. For the choux-challenged, I offer the following tips from today's newspaper:
There is a lot of debate over how to pipe puffs onto baking sheets. Some people spiral the dough, but (the author) prefers to pipe the dough as if collapsing a figure 8 onto itself. This method seems to give the puffs more "lift."
Bake cream puffs about an inch apart on ungreased baking sheets lined with a Silpat liner (preferable) or parchment paper. If using parchment, secure it with dabs of dough to keep the paper from rising when the puffs are piped onto the pan.
Bake puffs in a hot oven - 425 degrees. For plain (to be filled) puffs, leave them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes with the oven off after they are baked. That achieves extra crispness and keeps the amount of uncooked dough inside to a minimum.
Be careful not to underbake. Plain puffs should move easily around the baking sheet and feel light. If they feel heavy, let them bake a few minutes longer.
Use a gallon-size plastic bag with a corner snipped off (1/2 inch to 1 inch) as a disposable pastry bag.
Cream puffs soften when exposed to air. If made ahead, they can be crisped in a hot oven for a couple of minutes.
For do-ahead prep, you will get better results by reheating baked puffs than by baking dough that has been refrigerated. Baked cream puffs may be frozen, but freezing diminishes their flavor.
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