Chouquettes were another discovery of mine when we lived in Paris. While we were living there I was studying french at the Alliance Francaise and opposite the metro stop that I would get off to get to the Alliance was a boulangerie (bakery) filled with all kinds of deliciousness. Each time after class on my way home, I would pop in to the boulangerie and sneak in a little snacky snack before lunch which initially was generally a pain aux raisins (one of my faves – recipe here). But every time I would get to the counter to make my pain aux raisins order there would be platter sitting on the counter with a giant pyramid of these little choux pastry puffs sprinkled with sugar whispering ‘pick me! pick me!’. So one fateful day I decided to forego my usual fave and try these little sugar puffs that were begging me to eat them. A love affair began…
To be honest the only other people I noticed eating these in Paris were kids but heck, who doesn’t want to feel like a big kid sometimes, right? and don’t you think they have the cutest name…chouquettes – kinda sounds like a sixties girl band.
These are super easy to make and I know some of you will look at these and freak out because they are pastry but seriously give it a crack, you can have these babies in your mouth within the hour. You will probably have the ingredients already in your kitchen, maybe apart from the pearl sugar but you can always top them with some choc chips or other large-grained sugar. Plus if you can make this dough, you will be able to make a whole other host of yummy french pastries like profiteroles and eclairs and if you leave out the sugar in the pastry and sprinkle cheese on top you have the savoury version known as gougeres, voila!
makes 20-30 cute little sugar puffs
What you need:
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 75 g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 135 g plain all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temp
- pearl sugar for sprinkling on top (if you’re in Australia I got mine from the essential ingredient)
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and line a baking sheet with baking/parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt and water and over a medium heat, bring it up to a simmer. Take it off the heat.
Add the flour all at once and with and stir it rapidly with a wooden spoon until well combined and coming away from the sides of the pan.
Let the dough cool for 2 minutes and then add then one at a time, add the eggs. Mix well before adding the next egg. The dough will look like it has split and you will think you have buggered it up but keep stirring it will come together.
Cover the saucepan and let it rest in the fridge for about 20 mins.
Using 2 spoons, make walnut sized balls by picking up the dough with one spoon and scraping onto the baking sheet with the other. Leave a couple of inches (~5 cm) between each one to allow for them to puff up. If you prefer you can also use a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 cm plain nozzle to do this job.
Sprinkle the pearl sugar on top of each chouquette. Be generous as some will fall off as the puff up in the oven. You may need to press them in gently so they stick to the dough.
Bake for 25 – 30 mins but I would start checking after 20 mins to see how they are going. They should be puffed up and golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool (if you can resist – but I won’t tell if you sneak a couple). They are best eaten the same day but if kept in a air-tight container can be reheated in the oven at 160C/320F for 5 mins.