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Summer Food + Travel Series: Authentic French Choux Pastries

Last summer, Marcelo and I went on a big Eurotrip during an unbelievably intense heat wave. We traveled in France, Italy, and Greece for 2 weeks, even though we wished we could stay so much longer!

My next blog post will be dedicated to Paris Travel Tips + Experiences to Try, but for today I wanted to share a special recipe that we actually learned to make from scratch while we were in France: French Choux (pronounced like the word SHOES).

I found some great recipes on Pinterest for choux, which I filled with Creme Chantilly (vanilla cream) and topped with a homemade Chocolate Ganache. This was one of the delicious pastries we learned how to make in an Airbnb Experience class with a REAL French pastry chef, and I highly recommend doing one of these experiences when you travel! They are fun, you get to meet locals and other travelers, plus you get to eat – what’s not to love?

Materials needed:

Before you jump into this recipe, make sure you have piping bags (used for cake decorating) and a round icing tip (1A or 12 will be perfect) in order to pipe the classic shape of the Choux. If you don’t have any of those on hand, just take a freezer sized plastic bag and cut the tip 1/2 inch when you’re ready to pipe.

Choux recipe (from Sally’s Baking Addiction):

As she mentions on her blog post, it’s REALLY important to follow the steps and measurements carefully. Basically, you make the pastry dough for the Choux on the stovetop, and afterwards you slowly incorporate the beaten eggs until you get a perfect consistency. If you put some of the dough between your fingers, you should see a little mountaintop and it should tip over slightly.

After that, you will fill your piping or Ziplock bag with the dough and pipe onto some moistened parchment paper into what I call “Poop emoji piles” – don’t worry, they look way prettier when they bake.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, then lower to 350 degrees for about 10 more minutes. DO NOT open the oven at any point, or you risk your beautiful little pastries becoming flat as pancakes!

Creme Chantilly (also from Sally’s)

This creme is essentially whipped cream with a little confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. It’s very quick and easy to make while the choux are in the oven. I would recommend adding MORE than 2 tbsp. of confectioner’s sugar, and potentially more vanilla. The creme was a little plain to me (it just tasted like regular whipped cream), and I would have preferred it sweeter. You could experiment with chocolate, banana, or other flavors as well!

Chocolate ganache (EASY and almost effortless!) from It’s Yummi

You can easily make this ganache while the Choux are baking, too – it only requires chocolate chips or baking chocolate, a little milk and unsalted butter – no microwaving required! Done in less than 5 minutes 🙂

After removing the choux from the oven and allowing them to cool, you have two options to fill them with the creme Chantilly:

  • 1) cut the choux in half like a hamburger bun and use a knife or spatula to place creme in the middle, or
  • 2) if you have cake tips, fill another bag with the Creme Chantilly and use the icing tip to poke a hole in the bottom of the choux and fill it that way.

Last (but DEFINITELY the most important part), drizzle the delicious ganache over the top of the stuffed Choux. If you filled the Choux through a hole in the bottom, you can dip the tops into the ganache, too!

We got to enjoy these Choux while celebrating our anniversary in quarantine!

Upcoming Food + Travel Series:

June: Italy

July: Greece

I hope you’ll join me again in two weeks for more of our trip to France, I can’t wait to share more of these photos and recipes with you!

johanna elise

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