Chouquettes

Choux pastry is so versatile.  I basically want to tick off all the ways you can spin that light pastry dough into something delicious.  And everyone does seem to love all versions of things made with it.  You can fill them for cream puffs and profiteroles, make eclairs, or take a savory route by incorporating cheese into the pastry to make gougeres.  In this case, you can also simply top the dough with coarse pearl sugar to make chouquettes. 
Chouquettes are cream puffs that are often eaten as a snack in France, packaged by the handful or so in paper sacks.  Funny enough, that makes me think of my own history with Chinese egg waffles.  While quite different in taste, they are likewise sold in paper sacks and eaten as a snack.  They're harder to get your hands on now but I've had more than my fair share of them in the past.

But back to chouquettes.  They are simply mounds of choux pastry topped with a coarse pearl sugar and baked until puffed and golden.  The chouquettes are super light and airy, with a lovely eggy taste.  It's crisp at first bite but soft and tender on the inside.  Even with the signature pearl sugar adornment on top (looking remarkably like salt on a New York style pretzel), chouquettes are ever so mildly sweet.
With their lightness and airiness, these little puffs almost disappear in your mouth. Traditionally, I think you would see these in a smaller size than my version here, as little bites that you can practically pop whole in your mouth.  

They are no sweat to make (now that I'm armed with a couple of tips on how to properly cook the dough) and a fun thing to serve - possibly because they look a lot trickier to make than they really are.  
These certainly do make a wonderful afternoon snack but I made this batch last Sunday to serve with breakfast.  My sister, brother-in-law, and niece slept over the previous night to stay with the little guy while my husband and I attended a wedding. The following morning, I whipped this up and we sat down to a little savory and sweet breakfast spread.  We had bacon, eggs, and sausage on the savory side and a pile of these light chouquettes as a sweet offering.  
They went down a treat though I have to say it's always nice to sit down with family for a good weekend breakfast no matter what you're eating!


Sticking with the familiar, I used David Lebovitz's chouquette recipe.  You might remember I had a mishap with watery dough the last time I made eclairs with this very similar recipe so I've taken what I've learned and applied it here.  In essence, you need to cook the dough an extra minute or two on the stove, over heat, to dry it out.  I had no problems at all.

I piped the mounds out and topped them with an egg wash and then the coarse sugar.  You can make them smaller for truly bite-size snacks if you like.  
I mentioned in the past that I picked up some invaluable choux pastry cooking tips/instructions from Dorie Greenspan in her latest book; she also has a chouquette recipe there.  Her recipe calls for an extra egg to make for a more custardy center and she uses some milk (instead of just water) in her pastry.  It should make for a slightly richer, more tender chouquette if that sounds more appealing to anyone.

One thing that kept me from making chouquettes was getting my hands on the coarse sugar!
What you want is the Swedish pearl sugar, pictured on the right in the photo above.  I ordered it online but I hear Ikea carries it!  I wanted to mention that you don't want Belgian pearl sugar (how confusing...), which is far bigger and used for liege waffles. Admittedly, I don't even have a waffle maker but I like to plan far in advance so when I saw the Belgian pearl sugar at Sur La Table recently, I decided to buy it!  
The puffs take about 25 minutes in the oven and then they're ready to be served. Ideally, you want to enjoy these soon after they come out of the oven.  I can attest that they go really well with a cup of coffee, as part of breakfast or as a midday snack.  They are infinitely snack-able! 
They also go nicely alongside your meal.  After all, they are very much like popovers.

Recipe:
 
Chouquettes
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz, with techniques from Dorie Greenspan

- Makes approximately 18 to 20 puffs (or more, if smaller) - 

1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
For glaze: egg yolk with a splash of milk (half a yolk with 1/2 teaspoon milk would be more than enough)
Pearl sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

Place water, salt, sugar and butter into a saucepan.  Bring to a rapid boil over high heat.  Immediately add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low and quickly start stirring the mixture together energetically with a wooden spoon.  The dough will come together and a light film will form at the bottom of the pan.  Keep stirring vigorously for another minute or two.  [This step of cooking the dough is very important; it dries out the dough so that it will not be too watery.]

Turn the dough out into a mixing bowl and stir for a few minutes until dough cools down to lukewarm (to avoid cooking the eggs to come).  Add one egg into the bowl and stir it briskly into the dough using a wooden spoon.  At first, the mixture will separate but keep beating and it will come together.  Repeat with second egg until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain 1/2 inch round tip, or simply cut an opening in the bag.  Pipe dough into small mounds, whatever size you like though small is traditional, evenly spaced apart.  

Lightly beat the egg and milk together to make an egg wash.  Gently brush the top of each with some of the egg wash.  Use the brush (or wet fingers) to smooth down any pointy ends.  Top each with coarse sugar, pressing a generous amount onto the top and sides of each.  

Bake until puffed and well-browned, about 25-30 minutes.  If puffs get too dark midway through baking, turn oven temperature down to 375 degrees and continue baking.  Remove baking sheet from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack.  If you want them crisper, you can poke the side with a sharp knife or skewer after you take them out of the oven to let some of the steam escape.

These are best eaten fresh or the day they're baked.  Once baked and cooled, you can freeze them for up to a month in a freezer bag.  Defrost at room temperature and warm them briefly in a moderate oven, until crisp.



42 comments:

  1. Choux pastries are my husband's favourite. He surely will love those adorable chouquettes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are really easy to like and pop in your mouth! : )

      Delete
  2. These are adorable!! I'm thinking they would be perfect at brunch or after dinner as a sweet bite that's not too overwhelming or heavy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly it! It's practically just air! ; )

      Delete
  3. I've always wanted to try making cream puffs so thank you very much for the tips and inspiration! These are lovely and that pearl sugar is fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are awesome - looks so hard to make (to me anyway) but in fact, the dough comes together in minutes. I need to make these more often. Everyone seems to like them - I think because it's just not that sweet.

      Delete
  4. These definitely are so nice and airy! And look so impressive - how fun would these be to serve to guests! Especially when you're looking for something that isn't super duper sweet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, Ashley! They're kind of hard to resist (I think, anyway)...and they are so light and airy, you really need to have at least 5! haha

      Delete
  5. These pastries look perfect! So delicious and light :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was really happy they turned out well...there's nothing like peeking in the oven and seeing the puffs risen and golden!

      Delete
  6. Have not tried these before. You know I love egg waffles, so I am sure I will love these! They would make a good afternoon snack. I may just have to finish them all before Bryan finds out. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These don't taste like egg waffles at all but the idea is the same, right? : ) They are really good with a coffee...seems such an indulgence but actually not.

      Delete
  7. These look absolutely perfect, Monica! So light and airy! I adore any type of puffs but have never made them before. Your tips are so helpful! They look perfect for breakfast or an afternoon treat :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelly. It was so fun to pass them around the table and enjoy them in a group! Hope you try a batch, in some form since there are so many choices of what to do with them, soon! I know they'd be amazing.

      Delete
  8. Oh my gosh, these chouquettes look adorably delicious. And such fancy sugars! Can't wait for the day that you get a chance to try making liege waffles with Belgian pearl sugar (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fancy sugar totally take them to a level that I deserve no credit for. It's like magic. : ) And thanks for catching that about the waffles...one day, girl!

      Delete
  9. Gosh Monica! I can't keep up with you and your delicious culinary delights. I was going to comment on your macarons when these gorgeous choquettes appeared in my browser! These look wonderful and very consistently sized. Glad you managed to get the pearl sugar. You did a great job! Hope up you are having a good summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jo - I totally remember your beautiful choquettes! You inspired me and I had to get that pearl sugar and make them given your testimonial. They are just fun (and now, easy) to make!

      Thank you for swinging by. It's so nice to hear from you. It's busy but we're still ticking along. I can't seem to stop cooking/baking/blogging. I suppose since I am just trying out recipes that interest me, not developing anything or doing anything remotely professional, I have a lot of material so I keep posting! :) You enjoy your summer and family time. Hope we get to see something on your blog soon. Take care!

      Delete
  10. Why have I never heard of chouquettes before?? I need these in my life!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure I had a similar reaction the first time I saw them. Once you make this choux pastry, there are so many things you can do with it. It's fun. : )

      Delete
  11. I agree, choux pastry is awesome! It's also so much simpler than it seems. Love this idea :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I almost can't believe they just magically puff up like that in the oven when the dough was just a simple cook on the stove then stir-together. It's great!

      Delete
  12. Hi Monica, you are such a great baker, these sound so perfect, I love desserts like this......light and airy and a little sweet. Great way to start the week-end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish! Just remember the last time I made eclairs, I had that wet dough on my hands so plenty of mishaps here...I'm glad that taught me a good lesson and I found great instructions from Dorie Greenspan. : )

      Delete
  13. I actually made Dorie Greenspan's version of these a couple months ago! How fun. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice!! I'm guessing those are a little richer and bit more custardy. Dorie Greenspan is a great baking resource/teacher for sure!

      Delete
  14. I would eat about 30 of these because they look that good (and I'm a bad girl). Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not far off from how many an average person probably could eat! It's like 75% air! ; )

      Delete
  15. Those look delicious! When I was younger, I loved making cream puffs :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - cream puffs are such a treat...great you used to make them and I hope you do again soon.

      Delete
  16. Looks insanely delicious! I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Simply damn delicious for starting a day!!!
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not start the day like this, right? ; )

      Delete
  18. That sounds like a perfect breakfast! I'm sure your family appreciated the wonderful meal you made for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww...thanks, Beth. I think everyone always loves gathering around the table to start the day. It's especially nice on a bright sunny day and there's a table laden with food. : )

      Delete
  19. You are so right, choux pastry is so versatile!! Love these chouquettes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are way many possibilities - I was thinking I love a Paris Brest, too, which also starts with the choux pastry. : )

      Delete
  20. Adorable! Another pastry thing to add to my "learn to do" list for the coming year (a list i've been actively neglecting for too long now.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well...I often leave things on my "list" for years and then sometimes I see something I need to make right away. It's funny that way. These are almost like cheating..they're so much easier than they look.

      Delete
  21. Totally agree, choux pastry is wonderful! I think it's the consistency of the batter that makes a huge difference. Over time, you can just look at the batter and tell if it's going to work. These are so pretty! I have never used pearl sugar before and I am intrigued. Your kitchen must be smelling lovely round the year Monica with your wonderful baking and creations:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally know what you mean. Now that I had that mishap, I "get" how the dough is supposed to look. It's amazing how practice just makes for understanding and things click together. The pearl sugar is fun! And I don't know about my kitchen smelling nice but it sure is hot in there! : )

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...