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Make-Ahead Pâte à Choux

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2012

Save precious time by refrigerating this time-consuming pastry dough—it'll keep for a couple of days with no ill effects.

Crisp, airy pâte à choux is the versatile dough used to make many pastries, including cream puffs, éclairs, and savory cheese gougères. Though it’s not difficult to make, mixing the dough, piping out the shapes, and baking the pastries can be time-consuming. Luckily, we found that you can save on precious prep time during the holiday season and refrigerate the dough (stored in a pastry bag or zipper-lock bag) for a couple of days with no ill effects. When we compared cream puffs made with freshly mixed pâte à choux with a batch made with dough that had been chilled for two days, tasters couldn’t tell the samples apart. Baked and cooled puffs can also be frozen in zipper-lock bags for up to one month and recrisped in a 300-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

REFRIGERATE: Dough can be made two days ahead.

FREEZE: Frozen puffs store well for up to a month.