Recipe by Rita~
Tenderly spiced with cardamom puffy shells, Choux pastry or pate a choux is an unusual pastry in that flour is added to a boiled mixture of butter and water (roux like) and then cooked until it forms a smooth ball of dough. After cooling the dough to lukewarm, eggs are slowly added and the dough is beaten until it becomes a smooth thick paste. The the dough can either be piped or dropped into mounds onto a baking sheet and then baked, first at a high temperature and then at a slightly lower temperature. The high temperature is needed so the dough will rise quickly (giving it a hollow center) and to set the structure of the shells. Bakers' Ammonia is a leavening ingredient called for in many old world recipes, especially those from Scandinavia. It is also called "hartshorn". Unlike baking powder or soda, Bakers' Ammonia (ammonium carbonate) leaves no unpleasant alkaline off-flavor in baked goods. You can find it in any major supermarket or a Greek store.
Top Review by dracomage9
After spending about 25 yrs as a professional baker in my family owned bakery where we made anywhere between 4500 to 5000 cream puffs every Wednesday and Thursday using basically this same recipe without the cardamom except in larger quantities. I would cook the choux paste and drop them by hand and bake them on Wednesday afternoon and cover them and on Thursday my Dad and I would cook up approximately 4 to 5 gallons of milk into custard which we would IMMEDIATELY cool down by whipping it on our 80 qt mixer until it was BELOW room temperature and then we would fill the shells which I had baked on the previous day. By using the ammonium carbonate(Bakers Ammonia) which I dissolved thoroughly in the milk we NEVER had any failures with our shells deflating because I would blow a cool fan on the shells after I dropped them until they formed a light crust on them and I would put them into a 500° oven and then cut it back to 450° after 15 minutes. This made them puff and then set the shells and dried them out to keep them from collapsing. So I know for SURE that this is probably the best recipe for cream puffs I have ever used!!
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 3 eggs
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking ammonia, Bakers' Ammonia
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Prepare baking sheets by greasing and flouring or by lining with Parchment.
- Place water and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour, cardamom and salt all at once and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Blend in the milk well. Remove pan from stove burner and stir in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well until completely blended.
- Mix in the Bakers' Ammonia well.
- Drop on cookie sheets about 3 to 4 inches apart. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
- Cut one of the shells in half at the end of baking to make sure they have dried out enough. If not dried completely, turn the oven off, punch a small hole in the bottoms of the shells, and place them back upside down in the oven to dry out for about 10 minutes. If the insides of the pastry shells are still very moist you may want to bake the shells longer so the shells won't deflate when you take them out of the oven.
- Allow to cool completely before filling.
- Fill with chocolate, vanilla or any flavor custard you enjoy!