Some recipes look inherently fussy. Fussy enough, at least, that us in-our-spare time bloggers think long and hard about spending a weekend conquering the recipe. At least, I do that. So through some bizarre desire, I came home from a half day work on Sunday and tried out chouquettes, a puffed dough akin to cream puffs. Which prior to this experience, I would have put in the “fussy” category.
Much like my experiences making homemade potstickers or fruit jam on weekday nights, I discovered the reality didn’t live up to the fussiness hype. Airy and delicious, these cream puffs were a pure weekend treat. So much so that I may have eaten six in a sitting (oops!).
As you’re putting the recipe together, make sure that your melted butter/water mixture is actually hot before adding the flour. During my first attempt, while I was also mindlessly watching Gilmore Girls (from the beginning, thank you Netflix), I didn’t allow the first step to get warm enough and ended up with soup. Lesson learned and passed on!
Chouquettes, or French Sugar Puffs
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, cut into small chuncks
- 1 cup flour
- 4 large, room temperature eggs
- Crystal sugar, available in specialty stores and on Amazon.com
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, salt, and butter. Stir until the butter is melted and is just starting to simmer. I recommend using medium-low or medium heat depending on the temperature of your stove.
Remove from the heat. Pour all the flour into the pot at once. Rapidly stir the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides and is thick. Allow this mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
Briskly beat in the eggs, one egg at a time. The batter should start to turn more golden in color. It will be runny at first when you add an egg, but the egg will incorporate fully into the batter.
Scoop the dough between two spoons and scrape onto the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can get fancy with a piping bag. Two spoons work just fine for me. Be sure to place the dough evenly apart on the baking sheet, as they will puff up.
Brush the top of each mound with an egg glaze (if desired, recipe below) and the press the sugar crystals over the tops and sides of the mounds. Use more than you would think.
Bake for roughly 35 minutes. My first batch was done in 20-25, so using your oven window and light to check on the browning of the puffs is helpful.
As both David and Deb say in their recipes, these are best the same day they’re made. I did freeze some of mine after they were cooled and am looking forward to defrosting and reheating them, via David’s instructions.
For the egg glaze:
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon milk.
Use a brush to glaze the uncooked puffs before adding the sugar. This step is optional.