A very light, twice-cooked pastry usually used for sweets and buns. It’s made with plain flour, salt, butter, eggs, milk and a little sugar (if it’s being used for a sweet dish). Choux pastry is used to make profiteroles, éclairs and choux puffs and is the basis of the dramatic dessert Gâteau St Honoré. It can also be used for savoury pastries such as gougère, a large ring of choux flavoured with Gruyère or Emmental cheese.
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Choux pastry has a reputation for being difficult to master, but in fact it’s no bother once you know the technique. A pre-heated hot oven is essential to raise and set the choux and if you take it out of the oven before it’s cooked thoroughly (firm to the touch) it will collapse. Any filling should not be added until the last possible moment because it will make the choux pastry sag.