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Creme Puffs (pate a choux)

Bring to a boil over high heat:

2 cups water
8 ounces butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

Reduce heat to medium and add all at once:

10 ounces sifted cake flour

Cake flour is important because it guards against too much gluten
development. This keeps the puffs light and allows them to puff
as much as possinle. Stir vigorously to prevent lumps. Continue
cooking and stirring so that the batter comes together and begins
to dry out. (This allows the batter to more readily accept the
eggs later.) You will know that it is ready when a skin begins to
form on the bottom of the pan and the dough looks as if it is
exuding butter.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle
attachment and mix on low to cool the batter down slightly (so you
don't scramble the eggs).

A few at a time, add

2 cups of eggs

Mix thoroughly between additions. (This just makes your job easier
than dumping in the eggs all at once.) Once you are done adding
eggs and the batter has come together, test it to see if it loose
enough. The batter will drop heavily from a wooden spoon, or if
you drag your finger through it, the batter will hold a track and
slowly fall in on itself. If the batter is too thick, add another
egg or two. A dense batter will not rise properly.

Form the puffs on a parchment (or waxed paper) lined baking sheet
and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Rotate
the pans, lower the temperature to 250 degrees, and bake for another
15 minutes. This will give you a good rise from the high heat but
prevent over browning. Take one puff out and lightly crack it to
see if the inside is dried out sufficiently. If it is too moist,
continue baking at increments of about 5 minutes and continue
testing. When the puffs are still slightly moist, but not completely
dried out, cool the puffs on the pan on a rack until completely
cool. They are then ready to use.


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