Enter a patisserie in Paris, and you will most likely see chouquettes -- little choux pastry puffs. Chouquettes have no pastry cream or whipped heavy cream filling like a larger choux pastry Cream Puff will have; just a little sprinkling of very large, coarse sugar. And, chouquettes are addictive! They are not sold individually, but by the bagful, making it easy to pop one of these little gems into your mouth while wandering the city.
And why don't I make them at home more often? It took me less than an hour from start to finish. Easy-peasy -- and the most basic of ingredients.
Valentine's Day idea: Make the chouquettes, minus the coarse sugar sprinkles on top; after cooling, slice in half and sandwich a small scoop of ice cream between. Place several on a plate or in a bowl and drizzle with chocolate sauce; Voilà, you've got Profiteroles! They never fail to impress.
• 50 g of unsalted butter
• 125 ml water
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• pinch of salt
• 75 g flour
• 2 large eggs
• chouquette sugar or pearl sugar
1. Combine the butter, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and pour all of the flour in at once. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
2. Place the dough into the bowl of an electric mixer and let cool for 2 minutes. Turn on the mixer and add the eggs, one by one, until totally incorporated. You will have a nice, shiny dough.
3. You can either drop small mounds of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, or use a *pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tip. You should have enough dough for approximately 25 chouquettes. Make sure to leave space between the dough mounds so they have room to expand and puff up. Take the coarse sugar and press grains gently onto the top of each chouquette.
4. Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 425˚F oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375˚ and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. You want the chouquettes to be golden brown and dry. Take out of the oven and pierce each chouquette with a toothpick or wooden skewer to let the steam escape.
* A finger dipped in cold water can smooth the top of the choux mounds before baking.
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