Thursday, 17 June 2010
You know, these little airy marvels, pastry puffs. No? Well that’s something you should remedy right now and here is how.
Few days ago, I woke up with a craving for chouquettes. I had an urgent work to do, so I forced myself to focus on it and keep them out of my mind. But for two days, all I could think about was chouquettes (so light, so soft, so sweet).
After tree days of mental suffering I was free. Another ordeal came when I saw the number of eggs the recipe required. I almost renounced but then I thought:
- 4 eggs, come on, that’s nothing! And when was the last time you ate egg?
- But what if it taste like egg? (I really dislike egg taste or smell)
- It won’t! You’ve been reading every chouquettes recipes the internet can offer. What can possibly go wrong?* Don’t you remember their amazing taste?
And so i decided to be brave.
And… oh my good! I don’t regret it a second.
They tasted exactly the same than the ones I used to buy at the bakery in France but better (they tasted of pride, hehe). And it was so easy. I mean it. And for once, I was lucky enough to live in Sweden, where pearl sugar is commonly used (in kanelbullar for example). If I had known, I never would have hesitated nor waited so long. Next on the list is to find a vegan recipe. So far I have been quite lucky with converting recipes, but chouquettes seem like the Grail of vegan baking. So be it, I take up the challenge!
Makes about 40. Takes about 1 hour.
75 g butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons sugar
140 g all-purpose flour, sifted
25 cl water
3 or 4 eggs, at room temperature (same volume as water)
Pearl sugar for sprinkling
1. In a big combine the butter, salt, sugar, and the water in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
2. Remove from heat, pour in the flour all at once, and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until smooth.
3. Put the pan back over medium-low heat and keep stirring until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. You should be able to push the ball with a wooden spoon. This should take about two minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
4. Add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition.
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle pearl sugar evenly on the prepared sheet. Remove the batter from the fridge and form small balls of the size of a walnut, leaving two centimetres between them. Be careful to not make them too big, their size will triple. Sprinkle with pearl sugar.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Turn off the oven, slightly open the door, and leave the chouquettes in for another 10 minutes to prevent them from deflating.
7. Let them cool completely on a rack before serving. Eat on the same day or keep in an airtight container, and reheat for 5 minutes at 150°C to restore the original texture.
The savoury version of chouquettes is called gougères and is just as delicious! It's originally from Burgundy (Bourgogne) and is made with comté or gruyère cheeses (or any hard cheese, but those are the ones I recommend). If you want to bake them instead, just follow the chouquette recipe, skipping the sugar and adding grated cheese at the end (step #4).
* Actually the worse thing that can happen is that your chouquettes deflate a little when taking them out of the oven. This can easily be avoided but even if it does happen, it will have no incidence on how they taste (delicious, which is).