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I recently made puff balls. I made pâte a choux, but instead of baking it as small spheres (profiteroles-like) or piping it for eclaires, I shaped it into 3 cm big balls and baked it. They puffed beautifully to more than double their original size, but the planes of dough inside remained rather moist, they were actually underbaked.

What thickness (pre-baking) can I use for choux pastry shapes so I can be sure that they will bake on the inside?

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One reason why choux can sometimes appear underbaked is if it wasn't completely gelatinized in the pot. What was the texture like while you were... uh, molding it? –  Aaronut Jan 18 '12 at 22:59
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2 Answers

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Technique for working with choux is important.

Sounds like you have the right oven temp to get that initial POOF! but sounds like the second stage is missing for working with larger shapes.

What we do in the bakery is start off at the high temp to get that steam expansion and slight crispness to the outside. We then turn the oven down about 50F-100F and continue to bake them so the dough cooks all the way through. At about the 3/4 point we'll sometimes quickly poke the bottoms to allow steam to escape easier.

Once you stuff the shells with your filling they get soft again so a really crispy shell isn't a big concern for us. It's about getting the right colour and the complete cooking in the middle. Also, if it doesn't quick work out you can do as another poster said, scoop out the under done dough.

Good luck!

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This is not necessarily under baked.

What you made is a perfect creme puff. The dough in the middle is not raw- it has just been steamed from the inside instead of being dried and crisped the way the exterior was. There is usually very little such dough on the inside and the filling hides it.

Many creme puff recipes call for scooping out the soft dough from the middle before filling.

I don't know that there is any size that can guarantee that there will be no un-crisped dough left in the middle. Even medium-sized eclairs can have a few threads of dough inside that stay soft.

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I'd add a caveat that this is only the consistency you want if you're filling it with pure whipped cream or chantilly cream; uncut pastry cream or custard will tend make for a soggy cream puff if the inside of the shell is still moist. Otherwise I'd agree, the bigger concern to me with this dense forming/baking method would be that they're not hollow and turn out like dinner rolls... –  Aaronut Jan 18 '12 at 22:55
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