Chouquettes

Serves: Makes around 50 Chouquettes
Approx cost: ~€1.90
Approx calories (per chouquette): ~50
Approx preparation and cooking time: ~50 minutes

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]Howdy folks. I don’t often draw inspiration from my country of residence for my posts, and it’s time to put a stop to that because let’s face it – there’s a whole wealth of amazing foods in France, just waiting to be eaten. I’m going to share with you something wonderful today – they’re light, they’re fluffy, they’re impossible to stop eating once you start, and they make the most fantastic accompaniment to a steaming mug of coffee and a croissant at breakfast, or in a big basket with some afternoon tea, or as a snack, or… well, any time really! They are, of course, chouquettes (pronounced: shoo-kett).

A chouquette is a viennoiserie consisting of a small portion of choux pastry sprinkled with pearl sugar. It is sometimes filled with custard or mousse. Sometimes a chouquette can be dipped in chocolate or covered in chocolate chips.

I will admit to being a little surprised, the first time I tried these. In a country where choux pastry in every shape and form is invariably filled with some sort of cream, sauce or ice-cream, I was expecting something delicious to be hidden inside, beneath the light, crispy surface. After a few attempts though, I realised that the beauty of these is in their simplicity. Pastry, sugar, and a wonderful pocket of air!

Chouquettes

If you’re in France, stop by a bakery to pick up a bag of these – they’re sold loose in big baskets, and you usually just ask for “100g de chouquettes”. That will land you about 8-10 pieces (better make it 200g!) and will set you back about €1.60. Bargain you say – 10 little pastries for less than €2? Really? No! While buying them from a bakery is all well and good (not many people carry ovens and mixing bowls around with them when they go out for a sightseeing trip after all!), I’ll tell you what’s even better – making them yourself, and enjoying them fresh, straight from the oven.

While pearl sugar is quite important, if you don’t have it, just get the coarsest grain of sugar you can find – something like demerara maybe, and sprinkle that all over the top. What you’re after is the sweetness, and slight crispiness once it cools. Another thing to note – these really don’t store well. You do not want them knocking about for more than a day. Stashing them away overnight will result in soggy, sunken blobs which do not look appetizing, so ensure that you make them fresh, just a few hours before the desired eating time :)

Have a great Thursday everyone and get baking!

Chouquettes

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Ingredients

Chouquettes ingredients

  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 60g Butter
  • 50g Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 4 Eggs + 1 for glazing
  • 250ml Water
  • Handful of pearl sugar or other coarse grain sugar

Instructions

  1. Start off by placing the Butter, Sugar, Salt and Water into a large saucepan and bringing to the boil, stirring well to ensure the butter and sugar has all melted and dissolved.
    Melting the butter, sugar and water
  2. Next, remove the pan from the heat and pour the flour into the liquid in one smooth motion. Mix well with a wooden spoon. It will slowly transform from a rather nasty looking mess into a smooth, thick paste.
    Mixing in the flour
  3. After you’ve completely worked out all the lumps you should be left with a very thick mixture which has an almost dough-like quality. The dough should come away easily from the edges of the pan and you should be able to shape it into a ball using the spoon. Once you have this, set the pan aside to cool for 10 minutes.
    Making the ball
  4. Once the dough has cooled a little, add in the four eggs, one by one, mixing well between each addition and you should have something which looks roughly like this:
    Prepared pastry
  5. Turn your oven on to pre-heat to 180 degrees Celsius and then grease a baking sheet and pick up small blobs of the mixture using a teaspoon. Using another teaspoon, slide the mixture off onto the baking sheet. They don’t spread when in the oven, so you don’t need to leave too much space between each one – maybe 3cm. If you have an Icing Bag Set you can also use it to pipe out small blobs of the pastry. Finally, mix the last egg with 1 tbsp of water to loosen it up and brush it on (more like “dab it on”) to the pastry blobs using a soft pastry brush, and then sprinkle liberally with the pearl sugar.
    Chouquettes on a baking sheet
  6. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until puffed up and the tops are turning a golden brow, before removing and allowing to cool. Some of the chouquettes may sink. upon removal from the oven, though most will be fine. Chalk those up as being “defective” and eat those immediately ;) Once cool, carefully remove from the tray and store, uncovered, in a basket. Eat the same day, or in the worst case, within 24 hours. Enjoy :)
    Chouquettes

Comments

  1. says

    Looks like a twist on the Eclair. I’ve never had this but am imagining it to be somewhere in between churros and eclairs. Sounds and looks delicious! And less sinful without all the pastry cream inside :D

  2. says

    Hi Charles, this sounds and looks like choux, which freeze exceedingly well! Just pop them frozen into a warm oven for 6-10 minutes and voilá fresh delights! I usually only make savoury versions of these so ill have to give these a go! Maybe even for Super Bowl Sunday! Who’s playing?

    • says

      Hi Eva – :o Isn’t it like 4am where you are right now?? Well, not that I don’t appreciate an early morning visit to my post :) You know I was wondering if these would freeze, and then wondering if they’d defrost well, but popping them in the oven sounds perfect. You’re right – they’re a bit smaller than choux buns though, hence why the have “quette” at the end :)

      As for who’s playing… Unfortunately I have no idea :D I even had to ask a friend the other day if the Super Bowl was “football” or baseball :p

  3. says

    I love the look of these and they do seem quite the bargain. And that pearl sugar adds such a wonderful finishing touch. I’m trying to source some here so I can keep up with the presentation of the goods at the local French bakery. Your cooking and the recipes you come up with never cease to amaze.

    • says

      Well shucks :) Thanks Charlie :) If you’re unable to find any then worst case scenario you could order some on Amazon, although shipping would probably be a lot.

  4. says

    My husband and I devour these by the dozens when we’re in France. They’ve been on my list of ‘to make’ for like forever as choux pastry is just so simple and underrated. Unfortunately, I can’t find pearl sugar in the UK and I’ve spent hours online searching for someone who stocks them. These look amazing!

    • says

      Hi Noodle – sounds familiar – my wife and I went out the other morning to get some chouquettes and croissants for our breakfast. We went back to the car to go home and ended up eating the chouquettes before I’d even pulled away from the kerb, lol :D It’s too bad you can’t find pearl sugar there… How can it be so difficult to find. There must be demand for it somewhere!

  5. says

    Charles, your chouquettes look extraordinary! It was worth waiting impatiently today’s post ;-)
    I must admit I don’t have chouquettes often because they are addictive: I would finish the 100g you mention 5 minutes after leaving the bakery shop! “Choux” pastry is one of the biggest miracles of the French cuisine. I also love éclairs… and profiteroles… I seriously start worrying I will make chouquettes tonight! Great post!

    • says

      Haha, thanks Sissi – now I’m curious as to whether you made chouquettes tonight or not :DI agree – I love choux pastry… I’m going to be doing a lot more with it now I think :D

      • says

        Charles, I was finally fighting all night with pancakes (I mean crêpes): it was chandeleur yesterday. I have forgotten to buy it in France so I went to the closest Swiss shop and bought a new (Swiss) brand of buckwheat flour, it was organic and labelled “whole grain buckwheat flour” and it was awful! It was as light in colour as wholegrain, but wheat flour and tasted as if it was mixed with the majority of wheat flour (even not half)! (Of course it was horribly expensive!) Today I’m going to buy the real buckwheat flour in France! (My suspicion is the Swiss made it with raw, not toasted buckwheat, because it’s quite light in colour. Roasted buckwheat is much darker so they probably use it in France to produce dark flour). I hope to make the real chandeleur this weekend :-)
        Anyway, the chouquette project is put off for later…

  6. says

    I can’t believe you made your own chouquettes – you’re awesome Charles. I would be hovering over a big pot of dark chocolate with these puppies waiting to dip ;). I’m quite sure they wouldn’t knock about for more than say, 10 seconds in this house (my poor sugar deprived kids wouldn’t know what hit them :) haha!). That last photo Charles, with the interior pocket revealed…fantastic!

    • says

      Thanks so much Kelly! You know – they look like they should last a while, but they’re basically just pockets of air, “wrapped” with a little pastry… it’s no wonder they go so fast :D I’m totally going to try dipping them in chocolate next time too I think :D Thanks for your compliments :)

  7. says

    Fabulous pictures today Charles! And these look SOOOOOOO good! I’m sure if I were to make these they wouldn’t last beyond a day. I can totally see sitting myself down and just popping these like candy.Of course I’d probably have to battle Miss A for these. I have no doubt she would devour handfuls of these. How this child hasn’t hit 30 pounds yet, I don’t know. ;) I want her metabolism! I think we’ll be making these when we get home.

    • says

      Hi Kristy – if you ever come to France on your round the world tour then you should definitely try these, or something on a variation :) I hope you do decide to make them – let me know if you do, I’d love to know what you think :)

  8. says

    These look great! I have never heard of pearl sugar, it looks like little pearls of confectioner’s sugar… :) These look like they would be hard to eat just one!

  9. says

    This is too cool to see. Katherine wants to make savory versions of these and fill them. Not quite sure yet how to do it, but this will help and we’ll figure it out. Great looking dough.

    • says

      Look up recipes for gougeres which are the savoury versions of cream puffs for ideas. You can even make a wreath of individual gougeres by piping them with just a bit of space between the individual puffs so that as they bake and puff up, they attach to each other. You can cut the ring open (or the individual puffs) and fill it with seafood or other creamed filling. Even pot pie filling.

      hxxp://www.flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/6573206963/

      Here’s an interesting presentation to give you some ideas. :)

      hxxp://couscousandpudding.over-blog.com/article-cheese-and-mushrooms-gougere-65325862.html

    • says

      Hi Greg – I was going to suggest what A_Boleyn did below, but she did it with a lot more information, so I’ll you take her advice! Hope you can give it a try :)

  10. says

    I’ve made profiteroles from a pate a choux recipe (Julia Child’s to be exact) and they were so much fun to make, fun to eat, and do freeze beautifully. I filled mine with ice cream topped with homemade chocolate sauce. But, I remember “taste testing” some of them before filling and thinking of what other things one could do with them because they are so light and airy. Love the idea of these chouquettes and wasn’t familiar with the term until you posted! A great idea and am now craving this breakfast delight, thanks Charles! Happy Thursday~Betsy

    • says

      Hi Betsy – thanks so much… I think I’ll be trying profiteroles and my own eclairs soon. They were such great fun. My next test will be freezing these though because if I could conserve their wonderful shape I’d be so happy :)

      Have a great day :)

  11. says

    These look so tasty, Charles. I must check out pearl sugar the next time I go to the bulk food store as it seems to have a number of different uses. Like Eva, I make a savory version with choux (gougeres) for snacking on with soup.

    By the way, I love your pot. It reflects the fact that you actually COOK. And I’m not as embarrassed about the state of my own baking sheets. :)

    • says

      Thanks A_Boleyn – I’ll be trying the gougere idea soon… sounds wonderful!

      As for the pot – urgh. I love the fact that you like it :D I’m in the process of changing pans, but the ones I’m getting are… ahem… a bit on the pricey side so it’s kind of a “one by one” process. I’ve ditched 3 of the horrible things now, just one more to go :D But yeah – it’s definitely well worn. It’s seen it’s fair share of food successes and disasters :)

    • says

      I know!! but I haven’t made chouquette for ages…thing is you never eat 1…It’s like a sort of challenge where just feel you have a duty to eat the whole batch..

  12. says

    I have never made choux pastry. Love the pictures of the glop in the pot and then the smooth, stretchy result. These look like something my mother would love: flaky, perishable and not too sweet.

    • says

      Thanks Sharyn – it’s actually really easy, so I’d totally recommend giving it a try. French people like to say that it’s “quite difficult”, but they probably just don’t want us foreigners to start thinking that some of their food is easy to make :D They’re definitely not too sweet… they have a perfect balance in the mouth!

  13. says

    I made something similar to this in food science class in college. Looks like a creme puff, I bet some nutella would be good with these and lately I’ve been eating everything and just can’t stop!

    • says

      Hi Lisa – I’m not a huge fan of Nutella on it’s own, but I bet if it was whipped up with some cream to create a praliné cream type of thing it would be fabulous!

  14. says

    Oh don’t bother worrying about “storing” them. They will be all gone in a few hours. I know that will happen if these are in front of me. Like Robert-Gilles said we have Chou Cream in Japan and we get really crazy. I think our tongues are trained to have better quality European sweets than let’s say American sweets. This must be so good! I’m too scared to make them. I just want to allow myself to eat 2 pieces… ;-) I’ll be never able to go back on diet once I make these (but it looks easy which is tempting me!). Charles, these look so good, totally my type of sweets!!!!

    • says

      Hi Nami – my ex-girlfriend (Japanese) used to absolutely love chou-cream, or “cream puffs”. Seems like it’s a well loved pastry of an entire nation!

      In any case, you know – they’re not so unhealthy. 30 calories a piece, and if you split them between a family then it’s not so bad! About the same as eating a piece of chocolate cake!

    • says

      Definitely! Speaking of which, I didn’t forget I promised you a guest post. Let me investigate the clotted cream part and then I’ll be all over that :)

  15. says

    I and my mother and grandmother before me (English) often made cream puffs and eclairs but never just a plain unfilled chouquette. Indeed, I had never heard of such a thing. Now I must have some! Immediately. With my next cup of tea.

    • says

      Hi Jean – They’re really good, and fun. The fact that they’re “empty” was a real surprise for me the first time I tried them… I really was expecting some cream filling! Eclairs are going to be something I’m going to try and tackle soon too! :)

    • says

      Thanks Liz – I’ve never seen it available in France or England (although Sissi says it can be found in France). Worst case scenario, you can get it from Amazon, although the shipping cost is pretty exorbitant as it’s from a third-party seller!

    • says

      Hi Sydney – To be honest, I’ve only ever seen it in stores in Scandinavia, although Sissi says it can be bought in France. As for you – they may have it in some speciality stores, or maybe on Amazon!

  16. says

    Choux pastry used to terrify me until I finally gave it a go! I used to eat these when I worked in Paris but it´s been a good few years now. Thanks for reminding me about them, will be making these soon as I am sure my Spanish family will love them for their “merienda”…the Spanish seem to enjoy afternoon tea more than the Brits! And thanks too for introducing me to Pearl sugar, had never heard of that before.

    • says

      Thanks Chica – ah yes – people who’ve spent some time in Paris will know these bad boys right away… they’re just so yummy, and they really go down a treat too. They just like light, sugary little pockets… impossible to dislike!

  17. says

    These look lovely Charles. However I have to make your cinnamon buns before I can make these. My daughter told me yesterday that I’d be a Top Chef if I made homemade cinnamon buns for her, so how can I not make them now? I know just the recipe to try….

  18. says

    oh boy, I’m afraid now that you mentioned you just can’t stop at eating just one!! These remind me of cream puffs! I like the bite size portions, and like the others that commented, I’m not familiar with pearl sugar and am glad you’ve shared this. I love learning about new ingredients and recipes!

    • says

      Thanks Linda – pearl sugar is a lot of fun. It really brings a lovely little decorative effect to baked goods. They are quite a lot like cream puffs, but very much healthier! 30 calories a piece… bargain… you can eat 10 and it’ll just be like having a slice of chocolate cake :D

  19. says

    Thank you so much for explaining what these were Charles. I never heard of them, but they look so amazingly delicious and they also look addictive to me lol. Like you couldn’t just eat one

  20. says

    Oh yummy, I love choux pastry, and sprinkling sugar or chocolate chips on it sounds like a decadent treat :) It definitely always seems to be cheaper and easier to make your own baked goods… that’s what I try to do for the most part :)

  21. Leila says

    Hi Charles! I found your website not so long ago and thought it was a great idea to make great food without spending a fortune on ingredients! i wanted to ask you… I tried to make chouquettes following your recipe but i’ve encountered some problems: when I add the eggs, the dough turns ‘bubbly’ and separated instead of becoming like the one in your photos; and then mine don’t rise well, and those choquettes that do rise, quickly lose theirr height outside the oven… what can I do?
    (Note: I want to start a baking course and it’s almost the first recipe I tried to make… do you think I should start with something less difficult or something?)
    :) Leila

    • says

      Hi Leila,

      I’m really sorry that you had this problem… I’m really confused as to what could be happening! There are some “rules” which have to be adhered to, in order to get the ideal choux pastry.

      – The water/sugar/butter has to be really boiling vigorously – not just a few bubbles popping up.

      – All the flour has to be added in at once and you have to mix it in quite fast.

      – It’s really important to allow it to cool after mixing in the flour, or the eggs will cook when added in.

      – Eggs have to be added very slowly, and you can’t use a whisk… it has to be a wooden spoon, or else you get unwanted air in the dough

      I also read now some tips, that you must pipe them onto parchment paper, and not a greased tin, as grease causes the choux pastry to spread and flatten while baking. Also, they suggested baking at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes first, and then lowering the temperature to 375 for the rest of the time which will aid in the forming of the structure.

      The dough should be stiff enough to maintain its shape when piped onto the paper – Mine actually wasn’t, and I had some which sank, though generally they were ok.

      I think as long as you use good, fresh ingredients, and watch out for the eggs it should be ok. Eggs can be quite different in size, and I think I probably could have added 3 – 3.5 eggs of the size I had, instead of 4.

      Really sorry you had a bad experience the first time – I hope you’ll try it again!

    • says

      Charles provided very good advice but I’d like to add a couple of things which might also help.

      If you find that your puffs fall, it’s likely that they are under cooked. Instead of baking at 425 deg F and then decreasing the temperature … I bake them at a 350 deg F for the entire time. They may not rise immediately but they WILL rise and stay inflated once they’re removed from the oven.

      Secondly, you said this.
      “the dough turns ‘bubbly’ and separated instead of becoming like the one in your photos”

      Does this mean that your batter seems like it has broken/curdled? You have to beat in the eggs one at a time. At first, your batter will look broken and gloppy but as you keep beating, it will smooth out. Add your second egg and AGAIN it will look lumpy and broken but will smooth out.

      Take at look at the pictures on my flick set on cream puffs and let me know if they look like that.

      hxxp://www.flickr.com/photos/a_boleyn/sets/72157629148740477/show/

      My livejournal post on making cream puffs was here.

      hxxp://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/79246.html

      Don’t give up and good luck on your next attempt.

      • says

        Oh yeah – very true. When adding in the eggs its slithers around all over the place and really makes it seem like the dough is all in bits and separated out, but it just does required some good mixing to combine. I forget that maybe some things aren’t well known, especially if one hasn’t done much baking!

        • Leila says

          Thank you both SO much for your advice! After I wrote that previous reply I started making them again and this time I did it! (I’m TERRIBLY happy, really!)

          I realized two things: I didn’t give the eggs the appropriate time to be integrated with the rest of the dough and the first time I made them I had set them on a baking sheet but I had made them too big…

          So, now my family and I are just waiting to dip the in some chocolate ganache! thanks so much for your replies!

    • says

      Aaah, I’m so pleased they turned out better! Well done! If you’re anything like me you probably have none left now – they tend to disappear really fast! Glad you had better luck this time – happy baking Leila! :)

  22. says

    Charles, I posted this in my LJ in response to your comment on my nephew’s gulab jamun but wasn’t sure if you would have a chance to see it so I reposted it here.

    Have you ever considered making churros out of your choux paste instead of chouquettes? Instead of baking the batter, it’s piped out into hot oil using a large open star tip and fried and then coated in cinnamon sugar. I don’t deep fry so I don’t do it but they are amazing, especially when dunked in chocolate sauce or drunk with hot chocolate. I forgot to mention it in my post above but your post reminded me.

    http://aboutspaintravel.com/tribute-churros-con-chocolate-best-spain-dessert-ever

    • says

      Thanks A_Boleyn – I love churros, but I had no idea it was made with choux pastry. Though I would need a piping bag first :D Thanks for the idea!

      • says

        Actually, what you really need is the piping tip. You can use any sturdy plastic bag (like a freezer bag), cut a hole in the corner, slip your tip into the hole, put in your choux paste, gather the paste into a cone and feed the paste into the corner with the tip.

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