Chouquettes are tiny little airy pastries that everybody seems to come away from the bakery with and eat one after the other before you know it, the whole bag’s gone. They are so tempting.
But have you ever imagined making them yourself?
Eclairs, religieuse cream pufs, Saint Honorés, profiteroles, pièces montées, chouquettes … Many French pastries are made from the same base, a pastry called choux.
“Too difficult!” I often hear. Not necessarily, if you follow my step-by-step guidelines: simply pour the flour into a mixture of heated water, milk and butter. The flour absorbs all the liquid and puffs up. It must then be stirred for one to two minutes, until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan. Then add beaten eggs et voila!
Originally, this was called “hot dough” because of the aforementioned process of heating the dough to dry it out.
In the 16th century the Italian pastry chef Popelini, serving the Queen Catherine de Medicis, created the “Popelin”, a dessert made by drying dough over a fire. This dough, which had long been known as “hot dough”, was perfected by the pastry chef Avice, and then by his famous apprentice, Antonin Carème (founder of French haute cuisine) to become today’s choux pastry.
There are some variations in the quantity of flour, eggs or milk. Purists follow the rules laid down by Escoffier, with no water. I will give you here a recipe that is simply impossible to mess up.
Chouquette Choux Pastry
- Piping bag and brush (optional)
- 125 ml milk
- 125 ml water
- 100 gr butter
- 1 pinch salt about 4 gr
- 150 gr all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs 3 for batter 1 to glaze
- sugar rocks
First prepare the choux pastry
- Prepare all ingredients in advance as everything goes very fast and pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Over a medium heat bring the water, milk and butter to the boil. Do this slowly so that the butter has plenty of time to melt. At the first broth, remove from the heat and add all the flour at once. Stir vigorously until you get a homogeneous mixture. Keep on stirring for 1-2 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan.
- Pour into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat an egg and stir it into the mixture. Repeat with the 2 remaining eggs. If you want to go faster, beat the 2 eggs and stir them in gradually.
- Your choux pastry is finished.
- To make the chouquettes, place small dollops on a baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper using either a piping bag or a spoon. Make sure you leave enough room between the chouquettes as they will expand during the baking process.
- Beat the last egg, mix it with a little water. Glaze the chouquettes using a brush and then sprinkle grains of sugar on top. Be generous with the sugar as the cakes will expand meaning the sugar rocks won’t be all over each other. What’s more the sugar rocks are the only sweet element in the recipe.
- Bake 10 minutes at 180°C (350°F). At a 5 minute mark, open the oven door for 5 seconds. His will remove the steam from the oven and prevent the chouquettes from falling flat later on.
Bon appétit !