The word of the day is "Chouquettes"! A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to share a nice lunch with the famous French baker Sébastien Boudet in Stockholm. Maybe you haven't heard about him before depending on where you live, but in Sweden he's quite a famous baker actually!
This French man left his country after he graduated in baking and spent some years in Spain and in the US before falling in love with Sweden where he eventually settled about 15 years ago. There, he opened a small French bakery which became quite popular among the locals who, back in the time, were happy to discover the French baguettes and other pastries and viennoiseries. Sébastien Boudet's huge passion for bread is well-known in Sweden now, and he's now sharing his expertise, teaching others how to bake the perfect sourdough bread. He even wrote 3 cookbooks and takes part in TV shows on the Swedish TV. That's why I was so lucky to meet him and hearing his vibrant passion for natural products! If you want to learn more, here is an article in English about Sébastien Boudet.
Also, right after I came back home I grabbed one of his cookbooks he autographed for me last year when I had my very first French baking class ever with him (haha, yes I'm a groupie!) with the firm intention of baking something French. It ended up in a recipe I really miss from France: the French petits choux "chouquettes".
The chouquettes are these small choux pastries sprinkled with some pearl sugar. A very easy recipe indeed, that we usually buy at the bakery gathered in small paper bags that we happily open on the way home, trying to grab the last pearl sugars that fell down in the bottom of the bag. If we are patient enough, we can still have some left when we are home and enjoy them with a cup of creamy hot chocolate.
I had never thought of baking my own chouquettes until recently, but in Sweden you don't find them, so I had to find a way to have some anyway. And good news: they are extremely easy to make. You can bake some on a lazy weekend morning with your family and have them for breakfast/brunch almost straight away (taking into account the baking time of course). They are so addictive, try them!
Ingredients (serves 20-30):
- 1 1/4 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs
- Pearl sugar to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 480 F.
2. Sift the flour in a medium bowl.
3. In a saucepan, heat the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter over low heat. Remove the pan when the mixture begins to simmer.
4. Add in the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until no lumps remain.
5. Set back to heat on the hob and stir until you achieve a smooth ball of dough that leaves the sides of the saucepan clean. Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the dough in a cold saucepan. Chill for a couple of minutes.
6. Stir the eggs into the pan, one by one, either by hand with a wooden spatula or on low speed with a stand mixer.
7. Transfer the dough into a piping bag and pipe very small quantities of dough into little puffs onto a baking sheet. Leave enough space between each one to allow them to triple in size while baking.
8. Sprinkle with some pearl sugar and bake on convection mode for about 20-25 minutes or until the buns are golden brown (the baking time depends on the size of the puffs). Please note that you must absolutely not open the oven door while baking.
9. Transfer the French petits choux "chouquettes" onto a wire rack.