Nestled among golden croissants and glazed sweet breads are where you’ll spot darling chouquettes. These sugar-topped pastry puffs will delight you and captivate you like most French pastries do.
Translated to English, chouquettes mean “little bits of (choux) pastry,” which is exactly what they are. The dough used to make these pastry puffs is the same dough that’s used to make eclairs and profiteroles.
Prior to working with this kind of dough (pate a choux), I imagined that pastries like chouquettes and cream puffs would be difficult to make. I had heard stories about cream puffs that never rose, or those that instantly deflated.
And while those results can certainly happen if you’re hastry or you don’t use a good recipe, I’m here to tell you that if you use this recipe shared here today, you should have no such problems.
An Afternoon Treat
Chouquettes are not as sweet as other pastries. They’re rich with the flavor of a butter and egg-based dough, but they’re only made slightly sweet from the sugar on top.
They’re not the kind of pastry I’d serve as dessert. Instead, they’re a perfect pick-me-up in the afternoon. When you find yourself getting hungry for dinner, a couple chouquettes and a coffee are a delightful snack.
When I’m in Paris, I’ll often pop into a boulangerie in the afternoon to pick up some chouquettes. I’m not used to eating dinner at 8 like most Parisians do, so the 4pm chouquette fix is a life-saver.
Pearl Sugar and More
Chouquettes are traditionally topped with pearl sugar, which are essentially small chunks of sugar. You can either buy the pearl sugar from the store, or if you have sugar cubes on hand, you can crush those yourself and use that.
Other popular toppings for chouquettes include chocolate chips. They almost taste a bit like pain au chocolat when they’re topped this way because of the pastry-chocolate combination.
Sometimes chouquettes are even filled with custard, which would make them more akin to a type of profiterole, or a pastry like the Paris-Brest. I imagine that a chocolate-hazelnut spread would also be a delicious filling.
But for those of us who are traditionalists at heart, classic chouquettes will do just fine!
Delicate pastry puffs topped with pearl sugar for a bite-size treat.
- 1/2 cup water (117.5 ml)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (57 grams)
- 1/2 tsp sugar (2 grams)
- 1/4 tsp salt (1 gram)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (62.5 grams)
- 2 eggs
- pearl sugar for the top
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). To a small saucepan, add the water, sugar, salt, and butter. Place the pan over medium heat and warm until the butter has melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Add in the flour, then stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is mixed in. Move the saucepan back over to the heat over medium-low, and stir to create a dough. The pastry dough is ready when it easily pulls away from the pan and doesn't stick to the bottom or sides of the pan - about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Take the saucepan off the heat. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once the eggs have been thoroughly incorporated, scoop the dough into a pastry bag, either fitted with a round tip or no tip at all.
On a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper, pipe out 1.5" mounds (3.5 cm), spaced slightly apart from each other. Top each of the mounds with about 1/2 a teaspoon of pearl sugar.
Bake the pastry puffs for 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C), then WITHOUT opening the oven door, reduce the heat to 350°F (175°F) for another 20 to 25 minutes, until they're a deep golden brown.
Pearl sugar can be substituted with crushed sugar cubes.
Other topping ideas include chocolate chips.
A macaron-specific silicone mat can be helpful for creating equal size pastry puffs.
If you don't have a pastry bag, you can substitute with a large ziplock bag. Make a 1/2" wide cut in one of the ziplock bag corners and use it as a DIY pastry bag.