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Cooling pâte à choux - to slit or not to slit?

I've been perusing many, many pâte à choux recipes, and about half say to cut a slit to release the steam after baking and half don't and just say to cool the baked puffs on a rack.

It's been a loooong time since I've baked pâte à choux and I honestly can't recall what I did before.

Curious as to what all of your experiences are -- do you slit? Keep them whole?

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  1. The few times I've made them, like you, I'd cut a small slit. I'd not want to chance the insides going soggy from trapped steam.

    1. I've only made them once, years ago and while I can't be sure, I don't remember cutting a slit in them.

      I've been thinking about making a batch sometime soon too, after recently spending entirely too much on some rather mediocre cream puffs. Have you found a good recipe in your search?

      2 Replies
      1. re: JasFoodie

        Just had a choux day with my friends and we tried multiple recipes. The most successful was probably the Cook's Illustrated version.

        1. re: JasFoodie

          This recipe is reliable; I have used it for sixty years and it has never failed to puff. Melt 1 stick butter and stir in 1 cup flour. Work in 1 cup mixed milk and water (I consider a wooden spoon necessary for this). Add a pinch of salt. Remove from stove and let sit a minute. Then, one at a time, beat in 4 large eggs. Pile on a greased cookie sheet in shapes to make cream puffs or eclairs or a ring or whatever. Bake them in a pre-heated 400* oven for half an hour then reduce oven temperature to 350* and bake a little longer until they are getting golden. Don't open the oven while they are in it. And yes, I do slit.

        2. I always poke a whole to let the steam out and also to prevent the inside from getting soggy and potentially collapsing.

          1. It depends. If I'm making something small, such as gougères, I don't slit. What I will do is to open one to make sure it's not mushy inside and, if it is, will bake another few minutes, or even leave in a turned off oven for a bit. If I'm making cream puffs to be filled with cream or ice cream or a single large ring, I will slit them/it.

            Frankly, I'm not sure there's any good reason behind this thinking; it's just what I do.

            1. If they are not being used right away I poke a hole in the bottom and place back in the oven to dry.

              1. I make gougères and chouquettes on a reasonably-regular basis, nd I've never slit them.

                I've not made full-sized cream puffs or eclairs, though....and I'd guess that size affects the behavior....

                7 Replies
                1. re: sunshine842

                  Of course, the other difference is that Gougeres are meant to be served warm, while most other puffs are being cooled to accept a filling.

                  1. re: mcsheridan

                    fresh, but not necessarily warm.

                    (more than one have been snarfed off of my kitchen counter long after dessert!)

                  2. re: sunshine842

                    I do make gougeres pretty regularly and have never cut a vent into those.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      If you have left over (doubtful I know) Try splitting them or punching a hole in them and return to the oven to dry completely. They store beautifully and are great fro filling or as Soup Nuts.

                      1. re: chefj

                        Thanks for that tip! I generally throw any leftovers into the freezer and freshen them up in the oven. But I really like the idea of crisping them up and keeping them around a bit longer.

                        1. re: chefj

                          Sounds like that way they could also serve in a salad as a kind of crouton (cut or crumbled, of course).

                          1. re: chefj

                            yeah...leftover gougeres or leftover chouquettes is an unrecognized term at my house.

                      2. I slit. If I don't, they collapse and get soggy on the inside. If I do, they don't collapse and they dry out better.