The Spoon Tip That Will Save You Time And Effort When Making Éclairs

While the process of making pâte à choux is shockingly simple compared to the impressive results, there's a lot that can go wrong while creating the perfect pastry shells for éclairs. Many problems with cracked shells and bad texture come from improperly cooking the dough before piping it for baking. It's a vital step that you cannot skip when making any kind of cream puff pastry, and you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by using a spoon instead of a whisk.

While you might think that using a spoon will make you less efficient at mixing, the truth is anything but. Pâte à choux starts out stubborn and tough in the pot as it cooks, and it has a tendency to gunk up the tines of a whisk while mixing. Instead of wasting precious time having to intermittently scoop out the trapped ingredients, use a spoon to smoothly mix everything together and save yourself the hassle. Often, you'll see pastry chefs using wide wooden spoons to beat the ingredients into a smooth paste; however, you can use spoons or spatulas of other materials as long as it's rigid enough to tackle the paste and doesn't heat up the way metal does.

You probably shouldn't use a whisk after cooking, either

Practically speaking, when it comes to éclairs, you should probably just put away the whisk altogether after sifting the dry ingredients together. While you might be thinking of using one to mix in the eggs after the cooked pâte has cooled down, you'll run the risk of beating in too much air — leading to cracked or improperly textured shells — if you do so. That's not even to mention that the dough should have the consistency of a mashed potato. While you won't be on the clock while mixing in the eggs, you'll still be wasting a lot of effort just trying to unclog the whisk, making the process more tiresome than it needs to be. Sticking with the same spoon you used while cooking the dough will get you better results as well as leave you with fewer utensils to wash.

But if you want to give your arm a break, you can use an electric stand mixer as well. You'll want to use the paddle attachment and a low setting to gently fold in the eggs without over-airing the mixture. Remember to add the eggs in small increments and completely mix them in between additions, and you should have a perfect batch of pâte à choux ready for piping and baking.