Monday, February 19, 2007


My mother does not have a sweet tooth. (I, as some may have noticed, do. That is why I was driven to experiment with baking from a young age.) There is only one sweet treat which makes her lose all self-control: chouquettes. These cream-less cream puffs, sprinkled with large granulated sugar crystals, are often displayed in a basket near the cash register in French boulangeries. My mother has been known to finish a 100g bag of chouquettes on her five-minute drive home.

A while back I made some chou pastry for gougères, and was not entirely convinced by the recipe (too hard and crunchy). I then tried the following recipe with better results, and having located some of this granulated sugar I was able to make chouquettes. They're quite easy to make. Mom, come visit, I'll bake you a batch!

Recipe: Pâte à choux
For making cream puffs or eclairs or chouquettes or profiteroles (or gougères if you omit sugar and add cheese).

Source: Larousse du chocolat, Pierre Hermé

- 13 cl water
- 13 cl whole milk
[I only had "demi-écrémé," which I believe is 2%]
- 1 tspn sugar
- 1 tspn salt
- 110g butter
- 140 flour
- 5 eggs

For chouquettes:
- granulated sugar
["Sucre perlé." In France you might be able to buy some in large supermarkets, I bought mine at G. Detou.]
- Optional: egg wash made of egg yolk diluted with a little water or milk

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Pour water, milk, sugar and salt into a medium-sized pot. Mix well, and add the butter. Bring to a boil while stirring with a wooden spatula. As soon as the liquid boils, pour in the flour in one movement. Rapidly stir with the spatula until the dough becomes smooth and homogenous. Continue stirring for 2 or 3 minutes, so that the dough dries out a little and no longer sticks to the sides of the pot.

Without waiting, pour the dough into a big bowl. Break an egg in a little bowl and pour it into the dough. Mix it in well. [I used my hand mixer at this point]. Add the rest of the eggs in one by one in this way, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.

Continue to mix the dough vigorously, lifting it now and then. It is ready when it falls in the shape of a ribbon [Not sure what that means].

At this stage the dough must be baked without waiting*. Pour it into a pastry bag with a largish smooth tip [size 10 in France, or 1 cm wide?] and form the shape(s) you wish on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
*[I'm not sure why this is specified. I left a large portion of dough at room temperature, sealed in my plastic piping bag, and formed chouquettes a few hours later. They came out fine.]

For chouquettes, form individual balls the size of a walnut? 4 cm in diameter?, not too close together so there's room for them to swell. You can brush them with egg yolk mixed with a little water or milk[optional, Hermé doesn't mention this]. Then sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake them for 5 minutes in a closed oven, then 15 minutes with a wooden spoon inserted in the door to keep it open a crack. Let the puffs cool on a rack. (For eclairs it would be more like 18 to 20 minutes after the first 5 minutes).


Kai Carver said...


Anonymous said...

I know what you did today!


tanya d said...

Looks so good! Re: granulated sugar. I thought this was available in CH - there's a special Swiss bread item that always has this sugar on top. Is your sugar different? In other news, I'm going to Paris at the end of March and I need all your food shopping secrets before I go :)

deinin said...

Yum! I've never made choux pastry in my life. This should totally be rectified RIGHT NOW. (Food blogs are doing terrible awful delicious things to my weight.)

(Big-grained granulated sugar is readily available in Scandinavia. It's called pearl sugar here, too.)

Astrid said...

Kai - Yes, simple and good!

JED - Hey, I published this early in the day, before getting lots of work done, I promise!

Deinin - From what I've seen on your blog, choux pastry should be a piece of cake for you!

Tanya - Maybe the sugar is available here, I never thought to check, silly me.

Off to Paris! Lucky you! All the cooking supplies stores (Dehillerin, Mora, G. Detou) are in the same neighborhood, near Les Halles. I'll be glad to give you the addresses, but also look at the Chocolate & Zucchini blog, there's a section on shopping resources.

Let me know if there's some weird ingredient you're interested in buying that we could split. A lot of stuff at G. Detou comes in bulk, and is sometimes hard for an amateur cook to consume (For instance I have a huge pot of glucose syrup I rarely use, as well as a large pot of praline paste going to waste). Oh and Valrhona chocolate comes in 3kg bags, but somehow I don't find that an inconvenient quantity!

Mel said...

wow, yummy, wow! Un grand merci for the inspiration to make these little delicious and moreish wonders!!
Camille loves making them. I am now desperate to get my hands on some more piping bags, could you help me out?!

Astrid said...

Hi Mel, thanks for your message! Ha, I feel like a drug pusher, I gave you a few pastry bags and now you're hooked, with no one else to supply you! In Switzerland I have no idea where to buy disposable pastry bags. I bought mine at Mora in Paris, a shop supplying professionals but open to the public. I will be glad to give you some more next time I see you. Or you can use the pastry bags available at Migros, and wash them between uses...

Melba said...

I just got back from Paris...Must've have visited atleast a dozen of grocery stores looking for that sugar in particular...Went to G. Detou, Mora, A.Simon, Dehillerin but couldn't find it...Ended up buying tools esp. molds, A. Simon sells INOX molds...Friendly staff...Valrhona at Mora is cheaper that Le Grand Epicerie...It's a baker's paradise...

Astrid said...

Melba - Thanks for your comment! I can't believe G. Detou didn't have the sugar (sucre perlé). In the Zurich area you can buy it in the baking section of any supermarket. Sounds like you enjoyed the shops I love to visit too!

mhel said...

Astrid-I finally found the pearl sugar and bought 2 bags of it...I got it from The King Arthur Flour website...But I haven't made chouquettes yet, I just put them on top of Strudels...Yeah, I really enjoyed the shops and bought a lot from A.Simon and Mora...I can spend hours in those shops...

Astrid said...

Thanks mhel for sharing the King Arthur flour source with other readers who are having trouble finding this sugar. Let me know if you make the chouquettes!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am planning on making a croquembouche and was wondering how much choux you made. You said you made about 120 but did you have to double or triple your recipe? Thanks!