Chou(x) pastry, paste, or dough (French pâte à choux, German Brandteig) is a light pastry dough used to make profiteroles, croquembouches, eclairs, French crullers, beignets, and gougères. It contains only butter, water, flour, and eggs. Its raising agent is the high moisture content, which creates steam during cooking, puffing out the pastry.
Choux pastry is usually baked but for beignets it is fried. In Austrian cuisine it is also boiled to make Marillenknödel, a sweet apricot dumpling; in that case it does not puff, but remains relatively dense.
A chef by the name of Panterelli invented the dough in 1540, seven years after he left Florence, along with Catherine de' Medici and the entirety of her court. He used the dough to make a gâteau and named it Pâte à Panterelli. As time passed, the recipe of the dough evolved, and the name changed to Pâte à Popelin, which was used to make Popelins, small cakes made in the shape of a woman's breasts. Then, Avice, a pâtissier in the eighteenth century, created what was then called Choux Buns. The name of the dough changed to Pâte à Choux, as Avice's buns looked similar in appearance to choux, which is French for cabbages. From there, Antoine Carême made modifications to the recipe, resulting in the recipe most commonly used now for profiteroles.