Chouquettes

Not enough time these days for detailed long posts and it unfortunately won’t get much better in June with all my work travel, but I’m excited to tell you about it  (Kenya! Burkina Faso! How fitting that I’m watching the national GeoBee on National Geographic right as I type this). I baked these little chouquettes a couple weeks ago just because. Well, actually I wanted to compare pâte à choux recipes. One recipe was the one I used in my eclairs, the other one is Pierre Hermé’s recipe (yes the famous macaron guy).

Both recipes are actually quite similar, the proportions of milk to water and butter differing only slightly. I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two on taste, but for some reason, a few of PH’s chouquettes came out a little flat, literally. It could be that I was a bit too heavy on the eggwash which prevented their rise. These were the best chouquettes I’d made to date though, golden, just the right puffiness, a nice depth of flavor and a good amount of pearl sugar. Decreasing the amount of salt ever so slightly is the only thing that I would change next time.

Chouquettes are one of my all-time favorite snacks. In France, you buy them by weight; at my local bakery, 100 g of chouquettes (12-15 chouquettes) sell for a bit over 2 euros I believe. The bakery will put them in a small paper bag, corners twisted to close. You won’t resist opening the bag as soon as you get out of the bakery, first taking a little sniff of the lovely buttery scent before biting into one of the delicious morsels. The eggy dough will be perfectly counter-balanced by the crunchiness of the sugar pearls. And before you know it, you’ll have reached into the bag for another one. These things are addictive.

Chouquettes
I’m giving you two different lists of ingredient proportions. The first one is the same as in the eclairs, the second is Pierre Hermé’s recipe. The method for making pâte à choux is the same in both recipes.

Eclair recipe:

  • 125 ml | 1/2 cup milk
  • 125 ml | 1/2 cup water
  • 100 g | 7 tbsp butter
  • 8 g | 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 g | 1 tsp salt
  • 150 g | 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 250 g | 4 extra-large or 5 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water for egg wash
  • Pearl sugar

Pierre Hermé’s recipe:
Yields 500 g of dough for ~30 chouquettes

  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 80 ml water
  • 75 g butter
  • 4 g sugar
  • 4 g salt
  • 100 g flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water for egg wash
  • Pearl sugar

Preheat the oven to 480 degrees Farenheit (250 Celcius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium pot, boil the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt. Take off the stove and pour the flour into the pot all at once. Mix vigorously with a wooden spatula for a minute or so. Return to the stove set on low heat. Continue mixing until the dough comes together and there is a thin layer stuck to the bottom of the pot. The dough should form a soft ball. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Add the eggs and mix vigorously. The dough will break at first, continue mixing and it will come together. Mix until smooth. The dough should form soft peaks as you pull the wooden spatula up.

Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a one-inch wide round tip and pipe the dough into little balls about 1.5 inch diameter. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. Transfer to oven, lower the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (170 Celcius).  Make sure you do not open the oven door during the first 10 minutes. Bake for about 25 min until golden and puffy. Turn off heat and let cool in the oven, door closed.

Yvonne’s Corner

  • Don’t rush the step where you have to dry out the dough on the stove. Make sure there is a layer of dough stuck to the bottom of your pot.
  • If you don’t have a pastry bag, fill a ziploc bag with the dough and cut one of the corners, it will work just as well.
  • Be generous with your pearl sugar sprinkling. You won’t regret it.
  • As I said, I thought they were just a tad too salty, so you might want to lower the amount of salt a little bit.
  • Chouquettes don’t keep so well and should ideally be eaten the day they’re made (they’ll still taste fine the next day although not as good).
  • You can buy pearl sugar online, here for instance.
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