I can still remember the first time I tried chouquettes. Not because it was less than a year ago, but because it was so tasty, and I’ve continued to purchase and eat them at least once/week during my trips to Victor Hugo and stops at my bakery, La Maison Beauhaire.
What are they? Well, I asked my favorite boulanger the same question the first time I saw them. Her response, “C’est un peu de goût.” Then she pronounced it for me (it sounds like shoe). It wasn’t until I was watching an episode of The Great British Bakeoff (which, if you’re not watching this, start – it’s fantastic) where they were asked to make choux pastry. Unsure what this was, I looked it up. “Ah-ha!” Now the name of the little snacks made perfect sense. They’re little choux pastries.
In my pastry class from a few weeks ago at Labo & Gato, we learned how to make pâte a choux (or choux pastry) for eclairs. As such, I figured I could also make chouquettes using the same recipe. They were terrific and Jim approved.
Chouquettes – Pâte a choux (Makes 4-5 dozen)
150g d’eau (water)
3g de sel (salt)
8g de sucre (sugar)
60g de beurre en morceaux (butter, cut into small cubes)
15g de poudre de lait entire (Régilait) (milk powder)
75g de farine (all purpose flour)
135g d’oeuf entire (entire egg – if necessary, add water to get it up to weight)
Sucre grain #10 (no. 10) (pearl sugar)
Making choux pastry
In a saucepan, heat the water, salt, sugar and butter cut into pieces. Bring to a boil.
Remove the mixture from the heat and add the milk powder. Return to heat and stir well until a broth has been created.
Remove from heat, add flour. Rapidly stir the mixture until pieces pull away from the pan and form a ball in the center. Add back to low heat and dry out the dough. This could take about 4 minutes or longer.
Move the paste (ball of dough) into a bowl and begin to add the beaten eggs. Rapidly stir until a thick paste has formed (image 2 below).
Using a pastry bag fitted with a novel, place the dough on a baking pan topped with parchment paper.
Once all dough has been piped out, add your pearl sugar to the top of your pan (see image 1 below). Then angle your pan and shimmy the pearl sugar in a downward motion. This will effectively cover all of your chouquettes quickly and evenly. Place the excess sugar back in the bag.
Cook at 175 C / 345 F for 28 to 33 min.
Remove from the oven & enjoy (I prefer them after they’ve cooled a little bit).
I promise this will be a go-to snack that’s easy to make and hard to stop eating. If you like this idea, but prefer something a bit more savory, you should try gougeres. Equally yummy, but far cheesier.