Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Tonight I was playing around with pate a choux for the first time, and was delighted by it, splitting the batch between Parisian gnocchi and funnel cake.

However, I couldn't resist sneaking small samples throughout the process, as is my habit. In particular I was interested in the step before the eggs were added. Essentially, it was just a mixture of water, butter, and salt with flour mixed in until it thickened.

I've looked around for any references to this dough as its own creature, but have not found any. Is there a name for it, ideally so that I can find even more ways to use it?

share|improve this question

First, I wouldn't call it a roux. There is a difference in flour gelation when the flour is presoaked in fat (as in roux) and directly mixed with water (as in pate a choux). The butter in pate a choux doesn't coat the flour first the way it does for a roux. Plus, a roux is prepared with way more liquid.

As for a proper name of this kind of dough, I don't think there is one - for the simple reason that nobody has a proper use for it. I mean, you don't give a name to every stage of the mixture when preparing a batter, so why should you do it for pate a choux?

This is what McGee has to say on pate a choux. Note that the eggs are important for both texture (the "richness of yolks" smooths it, probably more due to the lecithine than the fat) and structure (egg whites trap the air pockets). So why should anybody ever make it without the eggs? And if it isn't used as anything but a prestage of pate a choux, why give it a name?

McGee scan

As for the uses of pate a choux, Ruhlman gives a fairly comprehensive list in Ratio. It mentions

  • cream puffs/éclairs
  • profiteroles
  • gougéres
  • parisienne gnocchi
  • pets de nonne, beignets
  • churros, funnel cake
  • panade for pâtés
  • pommes dauphine
  • binder for potato pancakes
  • Gnocchi à la Romaine (made with durum semolina)
  • "There's no end to what you can do with this stuff."
share|improve this answer

Not sure if there is a specific name for it... I call it a roux.

And, about other things to do with it... well you did not mention the obvious Éclairs au chocolat and profiteroles

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.