After our wedding in June, Nate and I embarked on our first trans-Atlantic adventure to France (Paris, to be exact). We had both taken some French in high school and college, and had always wanted to take a food-and-art-history-centric tour of Paris on our honeymoon.
Paris exceeded our expectations in so many ways. The monuments and museums were phenomenal, the churches were sprawling and beautiful, and the food — well, the food was amazing. Made fresh from the best-looking ingredients at the morning market, every meal we devoured contained simple ingredients that, combined, blew our minds (and our taste buds). We ate at a different cafe for almost every meal, trying our hand at ordering en Francais and sampling dishes that were unfamiliar and often exotic (like au tour de canard — i.e. all the parts of a duck. Tastes much better than it sounds). For breakfast, however, we kept it simple: a cafe creme, croissants with Nutella, yogurt with fruit, and chouquettes (aka sugar puffs).
Never had I heard of these little puffs of dough, glazed with an egg wash and covered in pearl sugar (although they are reminiscent of creme puff shells), but after eating a few (hundred), I can tell that I’ll be working these into my dessert repertoire whenever possible.
via Smitten Kitchen with a few necessary adjustments
Makes about two dozen, depending on the size
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (90 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup (135 gram) flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Glaze: 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon milk
Toppings: Pearl sugar [sold at IKEA, of all places] and/or miniature chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a cookie sheet with a reusable nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.
Heat the water, salt, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan to a rolling boil, stirring, until the butter is melted. Turn off heat, but leave saucepan on the burner. Dump all the flour in at once, mixing vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Let the dough cool for five minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the dough is smooth and shiny. [At this point you can cover the pot and chill it in the fridge for up to a day.]
Using two spoons, a piping bag fitted with a wide tip, a zip-lock bag with a one-inch corner cut off or a spring-loaded large cookie scoop, pipe or scoop the dough into walnut-sized mounds spaced evenly on the baking sheet.
Brush the top of each mound with some of the egg glaze then press coarse sugar crystals or miniature chocolate chips over the top and sides of each mound. You want to be generous because the puffs will expand a lot, and you’ll want that area to be covered.
Bake the cream puffs for 20 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and well-bronzed. (Yes, this is a rather long range in baking time but I know that in choux recipes especially, baking times can greatly vary depending on the heat of an oven and how fast it browns the top of items. Watch for that nicely bronzed color rather than a precise cooking time.)