Also called choux paste, pâte à choux and cream-puff pastry, this special pastry is made by an entirely different method from other pastries. The dough, created by combining flour with boiling water and butter, then beating eggs into the mixture, is very sticky and pastelike. During baking, the eggs make the pastry puff into irregular domes (as with cream puffs). After baking, the puffs are split, hollowed out and filled with a custard, whipped cream or other filling. Besides cream puffs, choux pastry is used to make such specialties as éclairs, gougère and profiteroles.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.