French

Chouquette


Chouquette (pronounced as shoe-catt) are mini choux pastry or pâte à choux. It’s the French version of cream puff only that it’s small in size and contain no cream filling, instead the surface is dusted with hailstone-like sugar called pearl sugar.

Chouquette

My encounter with chouquette happened many years ago at Delifrance, an Asian French bakery and café. Since then this delicious cutie pie has given me so much joy. It brightens my days just like chocolate! 🙂 I can’t remember how I chanced upon David Lebovitz’s chouquette recipe but it was one of the best day. I actually baked my first chouquette a year ago but it did not went smoothly. The result were humiliating. See for yourself here: Missy Flat Chouquette.

I analyzed why it may have gone wrong and reattempt the same recipe again – not few days or few weeks or few months later. I make chouquette again only just recently (a year later). I guess the failure must have left a horrible mark in my memory. LOL I corrected the method by letting the mixture come to the boil. It was unbelievable that that’s the reason my first chouquette falls flat. I didn’t want to believe that this was it so I tried again (3rd attempt) just to make sure. Another success. So simple? Oh yeah! So I guess that must be it. I can now announce bravely to the world that I no longer fear choux pastry!

Chouquette

I have really high admiration on choux pastry as it uses only 4 simple ingredients: water, butter, flour and eggs but the end result is simply outstanding!!! And it doesn’t even need a raising agent to make it rise. Choux pastry uses the moisture from the dough to create steam to rise and puff the pastry. And the aroma… melts me. If that’s how home sweet home smell like, I want to have it forever. 🙂

Let’s start cooking!

First, preheat oven to 220oC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper/silicone baking mat.

Heat Water, Salt, Sugar And butter In Saucepan
Place water, salt, sugar and butter in a saucepan in medium heat. Stir until butter is melted.

Stir Rapidly Until Mixture Pull From Size of Pan, Add Egg
Once mixture start to boil, remove from heat immediately. Tsk, you can see that the saucepan is still on the stove but the fire is off. Dump all the flour in at once. Stir rapidly until mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of pan (left photo). Allow dough to cool for two minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and shiny.

Stir Until Smooth
The dough shouldn’t be watery (an example here: watery choux pastry). It should be a little thick and fall slowly from the spoon.

Ready To Bake
Using two spoons, scoop up a mound of choux paste with one spoon roughly the size of an unshelled walnut, and scrape it off with the other spoon onto the baking sheet. Of course you can pipe them out too but I prefer chouquettes that aren’t perfect and rustic. When I made these again (the 3rd time), I make them even smaller so that I can have lots of chouquette. Haha

Place the mounds evenly-spaced apart on the baking sheet. Brush the top of each mound with some of the egg glaze (I actually skipped this step coz too lazy). Then press coarse sugar over the top and sides of each mound. Use a lot.

Nib Sugar or Pearl Sugar or Sugar Grains or Coarse Sugar
This is the coarse sugar that I used. Also known as pearl sugar or nib sugar. It is used widely in Scandinavian countries in pastries and cookies. Therefore one of the place to buy this sugar is at Ikea. Too bad Ikea Malaysia doesn’t stock it. I bought mine at G. Detou in Paris (1kg for only €2.50). So cheap. 🙂 I was basically jumping with joy when G. Detou told me they carry this sugar in their shop. Funny though I didn’t encounter chouquette when I was in Paris. 🙁

Top With Chocolate Chips
Another variation is to add chocolate chips. Add a lot too!

Then bake them for 25-30 minutes (depends on the size of your chouquette), or until puffed and well-browned. Once take out from the oven, poke a hole or two at the side of chouquette with a knife to let the steam escape so that you’ll get a crispier texture. Let the chouquettes cool a bit before digging into it. I know waiting is daunting!

Chouquette
LOVE! These babies are super light and airy with crispy exterior and soft inside. Who wouldn’t love it?

Chouquette
I made some batch without chocolate chips so that my dog can enjoy too.

Chouquette
Most of my chouquette with chocolate chips tasted burnt. Either I’m using low quality chocolate or the oven temperature is too hot? Hmmm

According to David, you can freeze the chouquettes up to 1 month once they cooled down. Just defrost them at room temperature and warm briefly in the oven until crisp. But then again, I doubt you would have any left to freeze. 😉

Chouquette
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Yields 35 pieces

1 cup (250ml) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup (135g) flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
plenty of pearl sugar (also known as nib sugar/coarse sugar)
plenty of chocolate chips

Glaze: 1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon milk (I skipped this due to laziness LOL)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 220oC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Heat water, salt, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan, stirring, until the butter is melted. Once the mixture start to boil, remove from heat immediately (too much boiling will evaporate some of the water) and dump all the flour in at once. Stir rapidly until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

3. Allow dough to cool for two minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and shiny.

4. Using two spoons, scoop up a mound of dough with one spoon roughly the size of an unshelled walnut, and scrape it off with the other spoon onto the baking sheet. Or you could shape the mounds of dough using a pastry bag or spring-loaded ice-cream scoop.

5. Place the mounds evenly-spaced apart on the baking sheet. Brush the top of each mound with some of the egg glaze then press coarse sugar over the top and sides of each mound (and chocolate chip is you use them). Use a lot. Once the puffs expand rise, you’ll appreciate the extra effort (and sugar.)

6. Bake the choux paste for 25-30 minutes (depends on the size of your chouquette), or until puffed and well-browned.

7. To make them crispier, poke a hole in the side with a knife after you take them out of the oven to let the steam escape.

Enjoy!

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6 Comments

  • Reply Irina @ wandercrush June 21, 2013 at 5:44 am

    These are adorable! So nice and golden in those last photos… I can just imagine the crisp crackle of biting into one now. I’m surprised the ingredients list is so short; chouquettes always seemed like an intimidating pastry to tackle!

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 21, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Irina, come… come… I dare you to bake it. 🙂

  • Reply Constance Ant June 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    delifrance is actually selling these? imma have to go check them out since i no have oven to bake myself!

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Few years back they sell them. Recently no lo. I always go to Delifrance Mid Valley to ‘jenguk-jenguk’ but don’t have. Who knows you’re lucky.

  • Reply Simon February 27, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    “Shoo-kett.”
    You didn’t see Chouquettes in Paris??
    50/50 milk/water.
    Dust with icing sugar before adding Pearl.
    Another dusting after won’t hurt.
    (Savoury toppings = Gougères)

    • Reply Che-Cheh February 27, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Hi Simon, what is the reason to dust with icing sugar before baking? I seldom dust with icing sugar after baking due to our humid weather. 🙁 I’ve yet to try gougères. One day!

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