Mary Berry Choux Pastry Recipe

Mary Berry Choux Pastry
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 40 Mins

In this blog post, I will show you how to make Mary Berry’s choux pastry recipe, step by step, with tips and tricks along the way. I will also share some ideas on how to fill and decorate your choux pastry creations, as well as how to store and serve them.

Let’s get started!

What is Choux Pastry?

Choux pastry, also known as pâte à choux, is a French pastry dough that is made with butter, water, flour, and eggs. It is cooked twice: first on the stovetop, then in the oven. The dough expands and creates hollow cavities that can be filled with cream, custard, or other fillings.

The name choux pastry comes from the French word for cabbage because the dough resembles small cabbages when baked. Choux pastry is the base for many classic French desserts, such as:

  • Profiteroles: small round buns filled with whipped cream or pastry cream and topped with chocolate sauce.
  • Eclairs: long oval buns filled with pastry cream and glazed with chocolate or icing.
  • Religieuses: two buns of different sizes, one on top of the other, filled with pastry cream and coated with chocolate ganache. They are decorated with whipped cream to resemble a nun’s habit.
  • Croquembouches: a tower of profiteroles, held together with caramel and decorated with spun sugar, almonds, or chocolate. They are often served at weddings or special occasions.

What is Mary Berry Choux Pastry?

Mary Berry choux pastry is a light and airy pastry dough that can be used to make various desserts, such as profiteroles, eclairs, religieuses, and croquembouches. It is made with butter, water, flour, and eggs, and it is cooked twice: first on the stovetop, then in the oven. The name choux pastry comes from the French word for cabbage because the dough resembles a small cabbage when baked.

Why You Love this Recipe

  • It’s simple – only 4 ingredients needed to make the choux pastry
  • Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions even for beginners
  • Versatile – make different shapes like profiteroles, eclairs, etc.
  • Impressive results – a light, airy pastry that puffs up beautifully
  • Delicious flavor – buttery, slightly sweet choux pastry that complements both sweet and savory fillings
  • Endless filling options – fill with cream, custard, fruit, savory mixes, etc.
  • Fun to decorate – drizzle with chocolate, icing, crystallized sugar, fruits, nuts
  • Perfect for any occasion – birthdays, parties, holidays, or an elegant dessert
  • Can make ahead – choux pastry can be prepared in advance and filled just before serving
  • Recipe from acclaimed baker – Mary Berry’s recipes are trusted for their deliciousness and reliability

How to Make Mary Berry’s Choux Pastry Recipe

Mary Berry’s choux pastry recipe is simple and easy to follow. You only need four ingredients: butter, water, flour, and eggs.

Here are the steps to make the choux pastry:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7 and line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Draw eight 5cm circles and eight 2.5cm circles on the paper, leaving some space between them. These will be the guides for piping the choux pastry.

Step 2: Make the dough on the stovetop

Place the butter and water in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until the water is boiling and the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and immediately shoot in the flour, all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and makes a smooth, thick dough.

Return the pan to low heat and cook for 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dry out the dough. The dough is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball.

Step 3: Add the eggs and beat well

Transfer the dough to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, until the dough is thick and smooth. You may not need to use all the eggs, depending on the size and moisture of the dough. The dough should be glossy and hold its shape when lifted with a spoon.

Step 4: Pipe the dough onto the baking sheet

Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle. Pipe discs of dough inside the drawn circles on the baking sheet, following the size and shape of the circles. Dip your finger in water and gently smooth the top of each disc.

Step 5: Bake the choux pastry in the oven

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas 5 and bake for another 10–15 minutes until the choux pastry is golden and crisp.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and pierce each bun with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. This will prevent the choux pastry from collapsing or becoming soggy. Return the buns to the oven and bake for another 4–5 minutes to dry them out.

Transfer the buns to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

How to Fill and Decorate Choux Pastry

Once you have made the choux pastry, you can fill and decorate it according to your preference and taste. Here are some suggestions on how to do it:

For Profiteroles

  • Slice each bun in half and fill the bottom half with whipped cream or pastry cream. You can use a piping bag or a spoon to do this.
  • Dip the top half of each bun in chocolate sauce or ganache and place it on top of the filled bottom half. You can make your own chocolate sauce by heating double cream and dark chocolate in a pan until melted and smooth, or you can use a ready-made one.
  • Arrange the profiteroles on a large platter or a cake stand and serve with extra chocolate sauce if desired.

For Eclairs

  • Slice each bun lengthwise and fill the bottom half with pastry cream. You can use a piping bag or a spoon to do this. You can flavor the pastry cream with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or any other flavor you like.
  • Glaze the top half of each bun with chocolate or icing and place it on top of the filled bottom half. You can make your own chocolate or icing by heating double cream and dark chocolate or icing sugar and water in a pan until smooth and glossy, or you can use a ready-made one.
  • Sprinkle some chopped nuts, and chocolate shavings, or sprinkles on top of the glaze for extra decoration if you like.
  • Arrange the eclairs on a large platter or a cake stand and serve.

For Religieuses

  • Slice each bun in half and fill the bottom half with pastry cream. You can use a piping bag or a spoon to do this. You can flavor the pastry cream with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or any other flavor you like.
  • Dip the top half of each bun in chocolate ganache and place it on top of the filled bottom half. You can make your own chocolate ganache by heating double cream and dark chocolate in a pan until melted and smooth, or you can use a ready-made one.
  • To assemble the religieuses, place a small bun on top of a large bun and secure them with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining buns.
  • Whip some double cream until stiff and pipe a frilly collar around the base of each small bun, using a star nozzle. This will make the religieuses look like nuns wearing habits.
  • Arrange the religieuses on a large platter or a cake stand and serve.

For Croquembouches

  • Slice each bun in half and fill the bottom half with pastry cream. You can use a piping bag or a spoon to do this. You can flavor the pastry cream with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or any other flavor you like.
  • To make the caramel, place some sugar and water in a small pan and heat over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat and boil until the caramel turns golden. Be careful not to burn the caramel or yourself, as it is very hot and sticky.
  • To assemble the croquembouche, dip the top half of each bun in the caramel and stick it to the bottom half. Then, dip the bottom of each bun in the caramel and stick it to a large cone-shaped mold, starting from the bottom and working your way up. You can use a polystyrene or cardboard cone as a mold, or you can make your own by rolling a large sheet of paper into a cone shape and securing it with tape.
  • Once you have covered the cone with buns, drizzle some more caramel over the croquembouche and decorate it with spun sugar, almonds, or chocolate. To make spun sugar, dip a fork in the caramel and wave it over the croquembouche, creating thin strands of sugar. Be careful not to touch the caramel or the croquembouche, as they are very hot and fragile.
  • Place the croquembouche on a large platter or a cake stand and serve.

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Choux Pastry?

Mary Berry’s light and airy choux pastry creations pair beautifully with a variety of accompaniments like rich sauces, fresh fruit, crunchy nuts, and more to balance sweetness and add texture.

Some of the suggestions are:

  • Hot fudge or caramel sauce for dipping profiteroles or eclairs
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries, raspberries, or sliced peaches
  • Whipped cream, ice cream, or custard to add richness
  • Nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts for crunch
  • Shaved chocolate or chocolate curls for decoration
  • Espresso or coffee to complement chocolate or coffee-flavored fillings
  • Tea or lemonade for a lighter accompaniment
  • Crème anglaise for drizzling over religieuses or croquembouches
  • Toasted coconut flakes or crushed biscuits for texture
  • Honey or maple syrup for drizzling over plain choux buns
  • Cookies like shortbread or biscotti for dunking
  • Fresh berries and mint leaves for garnish
  • Salted caramel or peanut butter cups for filling profiteroles
  • Lemon curd, passionfruit curd, or jam for a tangy contrast

Mary Berry Choux Pastry

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Choux Pastry

Here are some pro tips to make the perfect Mary Berry choux pastry:

  • Make sure the butter and water are boiling before adding the flour, and stir quickly and vigorously to form a smooth dough.
  • Cook the dough on the stovetop for a few minutes to dry it out, and stir constantly to prevent it from burning or sticking.
  • Add the eggs gradually and beat well after each addition, until the dough is glossy and holds its shape. You may not need to use all the eggs, depending on the size and moisture of the dough.
  • Pipe the dough onto the baking sheet using a piping bag and a plain nozzle, and follow the size and shape of the drawn circles. Smooth the top of each disc with a wet finger to avoid leaks or cracks.
  • Bake the choux pastry in a hot oven for the first 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature and bake for another 10–15 minutes until golden and crisp. Pierce each bun with a skewer to let the steam escape, and bake for another 4–5 minutes to dry them out.
  • Fill and decorate the choux pastry as soon as possible after it has cooled, and serve on the same day for the best freshness and crispness.

How do I store Mary Berry Choux Pastry?

You can store Mary Berry choux pastry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you store it in the freezer, make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

How do I reheat Mary Berry Choux Pastry?

You can reheat Mary Berry choux pastry in a low oven for a few minutes to restore its crispness, or serve it cold or at room temperature. You can also dust it with some icing sugar or cocoa powder for extra sweetness and flavor.

Nutrition value list:

The nutrition value list for one serving of choux pastry (about 100g) is as follows:

Calories Carbohydrates Protein Fat
360 kcal 54 g 6 g 20 g

FAQs

Why are my pastry shells flat, soft, and soggy?

There are a few common reasons why your choux pastry shells might turn out flat, soft, and soggy instead of light and airy:

  • Not enough baking time. Choux pastry needs sufficient time in the oven to properly set, dry out, and develop an interior “pocket.” Try baking a few minutes longer until the shells are fully cooked through. Gently check by cutting one open – the interior should not be doughy.
  • The oven temperature is too low. The high heat of the oven causes the moisture in the dough to turn to steam and puff the shells up. Make sure your oven is preheated properly and at the right baking temperature.
  • Not enough eggs. Eggs provide structure and rise to choux pastry. Using too few eggs can prevent the shells from rising fully. Try increasing the number of eggs slightly.
  • Adding eggs too quickly. Be sure to add the eggs slowly and fully incorporate each one before adding the next. This allows the dough to absorb them properly. Adding eggs too fast deflates the batter.
  • Too much moisture in the filling. Wet, runny fillings like pastry cream can make the interior of the shells soggy. Be sure fillings are well chilled and thickened before piping them into the shells.
  • Not drying out the shells. Before filling, be sure to cut a small hole in each shell to allow steam to escape while cooling. Let the shells fully cool and dry out before filling them.

FAQs

How do I make choux pastry without eggs?

Eggs are essential for making choux pastry, as they provide the structure and moisture that makes the pastry rise and puff up. Without eggs, the pastry will be flat and dense. However, some people have tried to use egg substitutes, such as aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas), flax seeds, or tofu, to make vegan choux pastry. The results may vary depending on the type and amount of egg substitute used, and the pastry may not be as light and airy as the traditional one.

How do I make choux pastry ahead of time?

You can make choux pastry ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to use it. To store choux pastry in the refrigerator, place the dough in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To store choux pastry in the freezer, place the dough in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To use the frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then pipe and bake as usual.

How do I make choux pastry gluten-free?

You can make choux pastry gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour blend instead of plain flour. You may need to adjust the amount of flour and eggs depending on the consistency of the dough. You can also add some xanthan gum or psyllium husk to help the dough bind and rise. You can find some gluten-free choux pastry recipes online, such as [this one].

How do I make choux pastry more flavorful?

You can make choux pastry more flavorful by adding some spices, herbs, cheese, or zest to the dough. For example, you can add some cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom for a sweet pastry, or some rosemary, thyme, or parmesan for a savory pastry. You can also add some lemon, orange, or lime zest for a citrusy pastry. You can experiment with different combinations and amounts of flavorings to suit your taste and preference.

Choux pastry is a versatile and delicious pastry that can be used to make many different desserts. With Mary Berry’s choux pastry recipe, you can master this pastry and impress your family and friends with your baking skills. Try it out and let me know how it goes in the comments below. Happy baking!

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