Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I like baking, how about choux?

Pate a choux. I learned to make this at school, yet choux pastry is one of those things that strikes terror into the home baker.  When I made it at school I didn't know of choux's reputation for being a potentially disastrous baked good! As a result it was actually quite successful, because (as with any baking) confidence is key - if you are frightened of what you are cooking you are more likely to fail.

At the start of this month I talked to my Mum about what I might make for this Gluten-free Ratio Rally.  I wanted to make something savoury, I feel like I have made a lot of sweet things recently and I wanted to balance that out.  Or conversation went a bit like this: "What about that French one with cheese?" (gougeres) "Ooh, yeah! Or the French one with potatoes!" (pommes dauphine) "There's a French recipe that's a bit like gnocchi." (gnocchi Parisiene)... Until Dad pointed out that (with the obvious exceptions of churros, and funnel cake) most choux recipes are French!!  That settled, I opted for a savoury version of Paris-Brest.

So to the all important ratio.  Pate a choux is 1:2:2:1.  That's 1 part flour, 2 parts liquid, 2 parts egg, 1 part fat.  The liquid could be water, milk, or stock, for example.  While the fat can be any solid fat (oil won't really work) so if you are avoiding butter, or are vegetarian or vegan, then vegetable shortening could be substituted.  As for the flour, I have used a ready mixed gluten free plain flour that I know works well in pastries, you may have your own tried and tested mix - either shop-bought, or your own - if you are weighing it, it will work.

Savoury Paris-Brest
This was originally a dessert, created for the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race as a high calorie breakfast, so probably not something you want to eat every day!  I filled mine with a roasted tomato salad you could use any roasted vegetable or charcuterie that takes your fancy.

112g water
56g butter
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp gound black pepper
56g gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm Plain Flour mix, but use your favourite AP mix)
2 large eggs

  • Put the water and butter into a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted and the water is starts to simmer.
  • Add all the flour, salt, pepper and thyme, and stir like crazy until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan.
  • Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Meanwhile heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat well to mix to a smooth paste.
  • Transfer to a piping bag and pipe the paste into a circle, roughly 20cm diameter on to a greased baking sheet.  Keep going round and round the circle until all the paste is piped.  It will spread out a bit as you do this.
  • Bake for 30-35 mins, at the top of the oven, until evenly golden brown and puffed up.
  • Allow to cool slightly, then carefully (don't push down too hard as you do this!) slice the choux ring through the middle, so that you now have two rings, a top and a bottom.
  • Place your filling over the bottom layer, the replace the top, (it kinda looks like a giant filled choux-bagel!).
  • Serve warm, or at room temperature.
(Photos will follow soon, a few technical hitches have cropped up!)


  1. Nice work! Please note that this challenge was a group effort in the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally with an acknowledgment to the host and link to host blog &/or rest of participants to share the other incredible gluten-free creations for this & every month's challenge. Thanks! -Erin of The Sensitive Epicure, hostess for the pate a choux challenge

  2. A savoury paris-brest sounds yum! Would love to see a photo! :)