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.
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. The choquette didn’t puff, instead it was flat like a disk.
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!
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 smells like, I want to have it forever. 🙂
Let’s start cooking!
First, preheat oven to 220oC. Line a baking tray with baking paper/silicone mat.
Place water, salt, sugar and butter in a saucepan in medium heat. Stir until butter is melted.
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. Add all the flour at once. Stir quickly until mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of saucepan (left photo). Cool the dough for about two minutes. Then add the eggs (one at a time) beating until smooth and shiny. You can also use an electric whisk to make it smooth.
The dough shouldn’t be watery. It should be a little thick and fall slowly from the spoon.
Scoop about a tablespoon or more (depending on your size preference) on to the baking tray. 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
Next brush egg glaze at the unbaked chouquette (I actually skipped this step coz too lazy) and decorate with pearl sugar all over. Press the sugar to the dough so that they stick nicely. Be over generous with the pearl 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. 🙁
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 golden brown. Poke a hole or two at the side of the chouquette with a knife to allow steam to escape. This way you get crispier chouquette. Let the chouquettes cool a bit before digging into it. I know waiting is daunting!
LOVE! These babies are super light and airy with crispy exterior and soft inside. Who wouldn’t love it?
I made some batch without chocolate chips so that my dog can enjoy too.
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 a month once they cooled down. Just defrost them in the fridge and warm it in the oven until they are crispy. But then again, I doubt you would have any left to freeze. It’s that yummy. 😉
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Yields 35 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
90g unsalted butter, cubed
4 large eggs, 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)
1. Preheat oven to 220oC. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone mat.
2. Place water, salt, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan. Stir until butter is melted. Once the mixture start to boil, remove from heat immediately (too much boiling will evaporate some of the water) and add all the flour at once. Stir quickly until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
3. Cool the dough for two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth and shiny. Or you can use an electric whisk.
4. Scoop about a tablespoon or more (depending on your size preference) on to the baking tray. Alternatively, you can also pipe them out.
5. Brush the unbaked chouquette with egg glaze and then decorate it with pearl sugar all over (and chocolate chip if you use them). Press the sugar to the dough so that they’re not loose.
6. Bake the choux paste for 25-30 minutes (depends on the size of your chouquette), or until puffed and golden brown.
7. In order for the chouquette to remain crispy longer (especially in high humidity place), poke a hole or two at the side with a knife to allow the steam escape. Do this right away once they’re out of the oven.