Traditional French Chouquettes Recipe
What are French chouquettes? They are sweet choux pastry buns sprinkled with pearl sugar.
French chouquettes are a traditional, back home in France. Mind you we don’t go around calling them french chouquettes, they are just plain old chouquettes to us. We eat them while they’re still warm, when we pop in to the boulangeries after school, to choose our “quatre-heure”, our four o’clock snack. Your mam might buy you 100 g of chouquettes and you will eat them as you walk to the park for a bit of a play, before you get home to do your home work.
When my mam was sick with her cancer, one of the very few things she would consider eating were the freshest of fruit salads or a big bag of french chouquettes. They have enough texture because of the pearl sugar and the taste is one of pure comfort. It’s just gently sweetened dough with a bit of vanilla thrown in.
Essentially, once you have the big four of baking (flour, sugar, eggs and butter), you can always whip up a wee batch of gorgeous french chouquettes
Much like they’re savoury sisters (the gougeres), they look more fancy than the effort actually required to make them. It took me years to attempt them at all but I’m so happy I have as they are a quick fix when I’m feeling homesick.
Things to know about French chouquettes: they are at their best on the day you make them. They will deflate as they cool and they loose their crunch quite rapidly so you could just stick a tooth pick in their side to make a wee hole. This allows any build up steam to escape and stops them from getting soggy. Once they have cooled down fully, you can freeze them. Sadly, I’ve never gotten to that point as I always eat them as they get out of the oven.
French chouquettes are the basis for profiteroles (a future post no doubt) or croque-en-bouche. Basically, they are wee buns of delight.
- 150 g flour
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 25 cl of water
- 1 heaped tablespoon of caster sugar
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- pearl sugar to sprinkle
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 210 C
- In the mean time, bring the butter and water to the boil. Once that’s done remove the pan from the heat and add all the other ingredients apart from the vanilla and eggs.
- Mix the paste really well and with a bit of elbow grease until it is homogenous and the pastry is able to stand away from the walls of the pots by itself. It should be a fairly stiff but shiny ball.
- Add one egg at a time and beat hard until they are all incorporated. Then add your vanilla extract and mix it in.
- Place dollops of the mixture (one teaspoon at a time) on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper and sprinkle your pearl sugar onto each puff.
- Put the tray(s) in the oven and check after 15 min (keep the door closed or they will deflate). If they are browning at that stage please reduce the heat to 180 and keep them in for another 10 to 15 min. Personally I prefer them not too brown.
- Let them cool for no more than 5 min and then throw them into you.