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Flavor and Texture: These French chouquettes are cute, small, tasty, puffy, crispy, sweet, and delicious. They have that extra something special with the pearl sugar on top, giving them a nice texture and sweetness.
What are Chouquettes?
Great question! Chouquettes (aka cream puffs) are a basic French pastry made from pate a choux topped with pearl sugar. This is one of the most basic recipes in all of French baking, but it’s an important building block for many other recipes.
I think I was French in another life. Ever since I was young, I have loved all things French. I honestly think it has to do with my French heritage. We can trace our roots back to about 400 B.C., which is so cool!
There is something especially beautiful about French desserts. They are always so lovely to look at, but they are not always complex. Chouquettes are the perfect example of a beautiful but simple dessert/snack. Eat them as they are, have them with hot chocolate, or enjoy them with cream filling…that recipe is to come later on.
Q: I am new to French baking and baking in general. Where should I start?
A: This chouquette recipe is the very first recipe I would recommend for beginners. They aren’t too time consuming, they require basic ingredients (aside from the pearl sugar), and they are simple to make.
Q: Do I have to use a piping tip?
A: Piping the pate a choux is so much easier if you have a big piping tip. If you don’t have one, however, you can cut the end of a piping bag and just use that. The chouquettes may not be as uniform, but they will still taste great!
Q: My chouquettes are browning too fast. What should I do?
A: Great question! If you notice that the little cream puffs are browning too fast, then place a piece of foil over the tops of them while they bake. This will allow them to bake through without getting burned on top.
Baker Street Breakdown
- This recipe only requires 6 ingredients + pearl sugar. Pretty simple. Water, milk, butter, powdered sugar, salt, and eggs. The pearl sugar is a specialty item, but I ordered mine from Amazon.
- Note that Swedish pearl sugar and Belgian pearl sugar are NOT the same. Belgian pearl sugar is much larger and is used for waffles. The Swedish sugar is perfect for topping chouquettes and other small pastries.
- When it’s time to add the flour to the boiling mixture, remove the pot from the heat, and then put it back on and stir for 2 minutes. DON’T skip this step! Cooking the pate a choux for 2 minutes gets rid of the flour taste.
- Adding the eggs is the most technical part of the recipe, and it’s still not that technical! Add the eggs one at a time OFF OF THE HEAT, making sure to stir continually so that the eggs don’t cook and become scrambled. Yuck.
- By constantly stirring as each eggs goes into the pot, the eggs will get mixed in quickly. Your dough will look curdled as each egg is stirred in, but the mixture will absorb the egg and come back together.
- In a large medium sized pot, add milk, water, butter, salt, and powdered sugar. Cook on medium heat and stir on occasion until mixture comes to a boil.
- As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat, add flour, and stir flour in. Return pot to heat and cook for 2 more minutes on medium heat. This removes the flour taste from the pate a choux.
- Remove from heat and add the eggs 1 at a time, being sure to stir continually as the eggs get mixed in. Pate a choux will curdle as each egg gets mixed in, but the dough will come back together and will have a shiny quality.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a piping bag and a #12 tip, pipe the pate a choux onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Pipe rounds that are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, making sure to leave 1/2 – 1 inch space between each one so they have room to expand. When piping, do not pipe them high. Rather, pipe so that the dough spread out and build up. You don not want to end up with Hershey Kiss shaped dough. Instead, it should be more like a smooth mound that is 1/4 inch high. Don’t stress too much about it being 1/4 inch high. It’s really just a frame of reference.
- After piping, brush gently with egg wash and top generously with pearl sugar.
- Bake for 25 – 35 minutes. If the tops start to brown too fast, cover them lightly with foil. Do not press the foil down on the chouquettes though, as this will deflate them.
- When they are done, the chouquettes will be golden brown, not pale. Poke a hole in the bottom of each one with a tooth pick, and allow them to dry out for 2 hours. You can also eat them right away if you can’t resist!
- Can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days. Crisp in the oven again at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes if they get soft.
Keywords: chouquettes, cream puffs, pate a choux, french desserts