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Baking Calendar #2: Choux Pastry

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Welcome to another baking calendar! I really hope you enjoyed the tart calendar and learned a lot. This month, we’ll be learning all about choux pastry! Starting with one basic choux pastry recipe, we’ll be making 4 amazing pastries: profiteroles, Paris-Brest, chocolate religieuses and vanilla filled éclairs.

If you are intimidated by choux pastry, then this calendar is for you! I’m going to be sharing with you all my failed attempts (which are numerous!). We’ll discuss how to avoid them and I’ll share lots of tips in each post. Hopefully, by the end of this month, you’ll be very comfortable making choux pastry.

Before we start, you can print out the choux pastry calendar. I’ve included the ingredients so you can use it as a shopping list. The recipes are broken down into several days to fit busy schedules. You can make the recipes faster if you wish, or even slower. I’ll share make-ahead tips so you can modify the calendar to fit your needs.

choux pastry baking calendar

We’ll be using the same choux pastry recipe all month so I did not write the ingredients for it every week. You could technically just make a large batch and store it. But I would recommend actually making the pastry every week to get comfortable with it and learn what issues you should look out for.

Make-Ahead Tips

Choux pastry can easily be made ahead. You have several options:

  1. Prepare and bake the choux pastry. Once fully cooled down, store at room temperature in an airtight container for a day.
  2. Freeze the baked choux pastry. Once it has baked and cooled down, place the choux pastry in a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to a month. Don’t forget to write the date on the bag.
  3. Freeze unbaked choux pastry. Pipe desired shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour or until the piped pastry is frozen. Transfer the choux pastry to a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to a month. To bake, simply thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

As mentioned in the tart calendar, I strongly encourage you to keep a notebook and a pen next to you when baking. Write down things like the oven setting used, the oven shelf. Keep a record of any issues you might encounter to make troubleshooting easier. Snap some pictures whenever you can, to track your progress. And if you are willing to share them, I’d love to see them. You can email them to me at [email protected] or tag me on Instagram @wheelofbaking.

Okay, time to bake some amazing desserts!

WEEK 1: Profiteroles

Day 1

We will learn:

  • About the 2 types of chocolate sauce: syrup and liquid ganache.

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Chocolate Sauce for Profiteroles.
  2. Prepare the chocolate sauce and refrigerate it for up to a week.

Day 2

We will learn all about choux pastry such as:

  • How to make choux pastry.
  • How to pipe it.
  • How to bake choux and éclairs.
  • What can go wrong and how to fix it.

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Choux Pastry.
  2. Prepare the choux pastry and either bake it immediately or freeze it and bake it whenever you manage.

Day 3

We will learn all about chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream) such as:

  • What type of cream to use.
  • What happens when you start whipping.
  • What can go wrong and how to fix it.

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Chantilly Cream.
  2. Make chantilly cream. It’s best to use it immediately.
  3. Cut the choux, fill them with cream. Warm the chocolate sauce in the microwave for a few seconds. Drizzle and enjoy!

WEEK 2: Paris-Brest

Day 1

We will learn:

  • How to make craquelin to get choux with a uniform surface.

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Craquelin.
  2. Prepare the craquelin. Roll it out and cut shapes. Wrap in parchment paper and place in a zip-lock bag (and on a flat surface) before freezing. Craquelin will last several weeks in the freezer and shouldn’t be thawed before using.

Day 2

We will learn:

  • How to make caramel.
  • How to caramelize nuts.
  • How to make almond and hazelnut praline paste (called praliné in French).

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Almond & Hazelnut Praline Paste.
  2. Prepare the paste and fill at least 8 cavities of an ice cube tray or 3.8cm dome-shaped silicone molds with the paste. Freeze until needed. The rest of the praline paste will be used for the praline cream on day 3. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator (it will last for several months).

Day 3

We will learn:

  • How to flavor pastry cream with praline paste.
  • How to make a Paris-Brest (Chef Philippe Conticini’s version).

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Paris-Brest.
  2. Prepare the praline cream. Refrigerate it for at least an hour and up to a day.

Day 4

We will learn:

  • How to assemble the Paris-Brest.

Action steps:

  1. Prepare the choux pastry. Pipe as explained in the recipe and top the choux with craquelin disks before baking them. Let the choux cool completely before filling.
  2. Whip the praline cream for 3 minutes until creamy and smooth.
  3. Assemble the Paris-Brest. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.

WEEK 3: Chocolate Religieuse

Day 1

We will learn:

  • About controlled crystallization.
  • How to make poured fondant icing from scratch.

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Poured Fondant for Choux Pastry.
  2. Prepare the poured fondant. Wrap in cling film or parchment paper and place in a zip-lock bag. Write the date and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 days (it will mature) and up to a year.

Day 2

We will learn:

  • How to flavor pastry cream with chocolate.

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make Chocolate Pastry Cream.
  2. Prepare the pastry cream and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Day 3

We will learn:

  • How to prepare and flavor the fondant before icing choux pastries.
  • How to assemble religieuses.

Action steps:

  1. Read the post How to make a Chocolate Religieuse.
  2. Prepare the choux pastry. Pipe as explained in the recipe and bake. Let the choux cool completely before filling.
  3. Fill the choux with pastry cream and refrigerate.
  4. Prepare the chocolate fondant icing and coat the choux. Place one small choux over a large one and refrigerate.
  5. Whip a little bit of heavy cream with icing sugar. Pipe on the choux to create the collar. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours.

WEEK 4: Vanilla Filled Eclairs

Day 1

We will learn:

  • How to make chocolate craquelin.

Action steps:

  1. Review the post How to make Craquelin if needed.
  2. Prepare the chocolate craquelin and roll it out. Cut rectangular shapes, about 12cm x 2.5cm and freeze. Craquelin will last several weeks in the freezer and shouldn’t be thawed before using.

Day 2

We will review:

  • How to make pastry cream.

Action steps:

  1. Review the post How to make Pastry Cream if needed.
  2. Prepare the pastry cream and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Day 3

We will learn:

  • How to lighten pastry cream by adding whipped cream to it.
  • How to pipe éclairs.
  • How to fill them and glaze them.
  • What can go wrong when making éclairs and how to fix it.

Action steps:

  1. Prepare the choux pastry. Pipe éclairs. Top with a chocolate craquelin and bake them. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before filling them.
  2. Whip heavy cream to medium-stiff peaks and fold into the pastry cream.
  3. Fill the éclairs and refrigerate.
  4. Prepare the chocolate glaze and dip your éclairs in. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours.

So, how does it feel? Suddenly choux pastry isn’t so intimidating anymore, is it?! I hope you had a great time learning how to make different desserts using choux pastry. I’d love to know what your favorite dessert was and what you learned. And as always, if you have any pictures to share, I’d love to see them! You can tag me on Instagram.

The next calendar will be about crème anglaise. If you’re like me, you might be thinking, “it’s just a sauce”! What will we do with it for a month? But you’ll be very pleasantly surprised when you learn how many things we can actually do with it! It’s the base for so many desserts! So tune in for the next calendar! See you soon!

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