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Monday, May 25, 2015

Recipe: Pate a Choux Waffles

Pate a Choux Waffle Sundae

Recipe: Pate a Choux Waffles

Wait... what kind of Waffles?!

You heard me... Pate a Choux - that unique, double-cooked dough at the heart of Eclairs, Profiteroles, Paris-Brest and myriad other light and airy pastries.

Using a modified Pate a Choux dough for a Waffle may be culinary heresy to some. The Waffle is already so amazing. Why would anyone want to toy with breakfast nirvana?

It's true... the Waffle is already near perfection. The distinct contrast of a Waffle's crisp exterior with the light and airy interior immediately differentiates it from the comparatively mundane uniformity of a Pancake. 

And what about all of those crevices? Not only are they the perfect pockets for holding obscene volumes of Butter and Maple Syrup, but they actually create a product that has more exterior surface area than interior. It's pastry science gone mad!

Pate a Choux Waffles

Then why use Pate a Choux? 

As with most things in life, why not? 

Pate a Choux has the amazing property of expanding to mind-bending proportions in a hot oven. The moisture in Pate a Choux turns to steam and inflates pastries like dough balloons. 

But this process requires an extremely hot oven. Fortunately, a good waffle iron delivers the required amount of intense heat. Just check out this video to see that mechanical leavening in action.

The final recipe for this particular Pate a Choux has some distinct characteristics. First, it uses Bread Flour, which has a higher protein content that leads to better gluten development. A well-formed gluten network is necessary to make those dough 'balloons' strong. Second, it uses additional Eggs Whites. Egg Whites are high in protein, which also helps set the structure of the dough as it bakes. By contrast, fat-heavy Yolks add richness. By increasing the proportion of Egg Whites to Yolks, the dough has more structure, which is better for Waffles.

Pate a Choux Waffles

Pate a Choux Waffles:

Yield 8 x 125g Waffle Squares (1,000g)

  • Water: 360g (1.5 Cups)
  • Butter, cubed: 130g (1 Stick + 1 Tbls)
  • Vanilla Extract: 6g (0.5 Tbls)
  • Sugar: 9g (1.5 Tsp)
  • Salt: 6g (1 Tsp)

  • Bread Flour: 260g (2 1/8 Cups)
  • Cinnamon: 5g (2 Tsp)
  • Nutmeg: 3g (1 Tsp)

  • Egg Whites*: 270g (9x)
  • Egg Yolks*: 115g (6x)

* The total amount of Eggs required is the equivalent of 6 Whole Large Eggs plus 3 Large Egg Whites


1. Bring the Water, Butter, Vanilla Extract, Sugar and Salt to a boil over high heat in a large pot. 

Chef's Note: It is important to cube the Butter into small pieces so that it melts completely before the Water comes to a boil. If the Water boils too soon, there will be too much evaporation and the dough will be dry.

2. As soon as the Water reaches a boil, add the Bread Flour, Cinnamon and Nutmeg in a single addition. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture over medium-high heat until a homogeneous dough forms. Continue to actively stir the dough over the heat ("Dessecher") until it forms a ball that easily pulls away from the side of the pot - approximately two to three minutes.

Chef's Note: When you add the dry ingredients, stir aggressively. You want to quickly form the dough as it begins to cook. Cooking the mixture for a couple of minutes causes the starches in the Bread Flour to gelatinize and also dries the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat the dough on medium speed for several minutes, releasing heat and steam. As the dough cools, beat the Egg Whites and Egg Yolks together in a separate bowl and set aside.

4. Once the dough is no longer hot, add the Eggs in no fewer than six additions. After each addition, mix the dough until the Egg is completely incorporated. When all of the Eggs have been added, the dough should be slightly fluid (If you draw a trench through the center of the dough, it should fill back in within a couple of seconds). 

Chef's Note: It is important that the dough cools slightly before you add the Eggs or else the Eggs will cook. However, if the dough is too cold, the Eggs will not mix in well. 

5. Preheat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions and cook the Waffles in batches. A 4"x4" waffle requires about 125g (4 oz) of the dough, or 1/8 of the full batch. The dough can either be spooned onto the waffle iron or portioned from a pastry bag. Bake for approximately five minutes.

Chef's Note: Cook times and the amount of batter required will vary based on the waffle iron. The Waffles should be crispy on the outside with a somewhat soft center, much like a Popover. This should take about five minutes, which is longer than a standard Waffle. For a drier and crispier Waffle, the Waffles can be transferred to an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and baked for up to an additional five minutes.

6. Serve immediately with whatever crazy toppings come to mind!

Alternatively, the Waffles can be frozen and reheated. If freezing, when the Waffles are done, allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack. Wrap the cooled Waffles in plastic wrap and freeze. To reheat the Waffles, first remove them from the freezer to temper to room temperature and then place them in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.

Pate a Choux Waffles Wrapped to be Frozen

Pate a Choux Waffles Topped with Hot Fudge, Caramel Peanut Butter Sauce and Candied Bacon

An Empty Plate

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  1. That is very interesting. I think it is a great idea. In the picture the waffles have a darker color than I thought. I thought they would look eggier.

  2. Thanks! When they're fresh off the iron, the inside still has a little of that eggy-creaminess. For the sundaes, we cooked them to be slightly more crisp to hold up with the toppings.

  3. your waffles look like shit for some reason. not really following since ive seen a couple other recipes with a similar concept that have a beautiful golden color, crisp exterior, and fluffy, air-pocketed interior, where on the other hand yours appear somehow dense and limp simultaneously, with no exterior/interior contrast (something that i'm confident inferring as you've avoided showing any cross sections of your work).

    both of your changes are unnecessary and detrimental to the product. profiteroles are not a gluten-rich pastry. eclairs are not a gluten-rich pastry. beignets are not a gluten-rich pastry.

    1. use pastry flour if you must try to be a fancy person who wants everyone to know you went to cooking school. all purpose flour will make a servicable pate a choux as well.

    2. omit step 3 entirely. let the dough cool on its own for several minutes. you can add the eggs as you described while the dough is warm but not hot to the tough. beating the shit out of it (for MINUTES!!!) beforehand will remove moisture from the choux pastry (bad) and encourage gluten development with your dumb ass bread flour (bad).

    3. your waffle iron is not hot enough.

  4. oh and also you cant plate for shit! ayyyy! my man looks like any restaurant he ever worked at had 80 dollar prix fixe and closed in a year and a half aayyyyyyy