Pâte à choux, which in French means “cabbage dough” because it looks like a cabbage when baked, is a versatile dough. It can be deep-fried into beignets or used to hold ice cream for profiteroles and pastry cream for éclairs. Heck, it can be filled with lobster salad for mini lobster rolls. The possibilities are endless. Here it stands alone, bedecked simply with sugar crystals.
Special equipment: If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can stir the dough with a wooden spoon. It will take a little muscle, but it’s doable—after all, that’s how they did it in the old days. A pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip is useful here. If you don’t have one, you can spoon round dollops of dough onto the baking sheet.
What to buy: Sucre perlé (pearl sugar) is coarse sugar crystals that hold their shape and crunch when baked. It can be purchased at the food market in some Ikea stores or online.
Game plan: Have all your ingredients and equipment (saucepan, wooden spoon, stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment) ready to go before you start. Once you begin making pâte à choux you cannot step away; the dough must be made from start to finish.
This pastry was featured as part of our Parisian Sweets photo gallery.