ChouquettesPosted: March 31, 2012
This post should really be called “The Quirky Things You Did While You Were Alone In The Apartment For Two Weeks Of Spring Break.”
The list may or may not include:
– Trying to say the alphabet backwards while you’re waiting for the toaster to pop.
– Videotaping to see what you actually look like while head banging.
– Organizing your perfume bottles by scent.
– And then by size.
– And then putting them back how they were before.
– Learning the chords to awful(ly good) songs and pretending to be a pop star, aviators mandatory, towel-turban optional.
– Convince yourself (out loud, preferably), that’s it’s fine to eat chocolate-covered potato chips for breakfast.
– And lunch.
– Seeing just how big you can tease your hair and how much really obnoxious blue eyeshadow you can wear.*
Left to my own devices, I open 27 tabs in my internet browser, start 9 different projects, change songs approximately every 6.8 seconds, and walk around all morning looking like a slightly strung-out strumpet.
And so I made French pastries. It was good that I was alone the first time this happened. Because a talking-to-dough, big-haired, blue-eyesahdowed street stroller is not something that should be on public display. Ever.
I’m not going to lie. These stressed me out. I’m used to cookies and brownies and other predictable baked goods. These things puff up. They’re delicate. The remind you of tiny fancy bakery shops in the winding streets of cobble-stoned Paris (does Paris have cobble-stoned streets?). You may be inclined to lift your pinky finger while eating them. If you do, just go with it.
I made half of the batch using Belgian pearl sugar on top. I should have pressed it in more to the dough, because I watched through the window of the oven, horrified, as much of the sugar fell off during the “popping” process. There may have been cries and screams of agony.
Again, good thing I was home alone.
If you use the sugar, really go to town with it because it’s entirely possible you’ll have the same “problem” I did.
First world problem: The Belgian pearl sugar I put on my French pastries fell off during baking!
The other half of the batch I took David Lebovitz advice in his book The Sweet Life in Paris and added a handful of chocolate chips. Because. Just because. I still haven’t figured out if I was just supposed to press them on top, similar to the sugar, but I added them to the dough. This batch turned out so ugly, but there was chocolate. There are no pictures to prove that this actually happened.
If you choose to add chocolate chips, you may or may not eat the entire batch by yourself. Blue eyeliner suggested, but not required.
* A lot. That’s the answer to both of those questions.
For the dough:
1 cup of water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, room temperature
For the glaze:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of milk
In a medium-sized saucepan combine water, butter, salt, and sugar. Bring it to a simmer and stir until the butter is melted.
Remove the saucepan from the flame and dump in all the flour. Stir rapidly until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the pot.
Let the mixture cool for 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. The dough will be shiny and pretty.
Cover the saucepan and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to a day). This is choux pastry, which is used for tons of bake goods.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using two teaspoons (or a pastry bag fitted with a large, plain tip), form walnut-sized balls of batter. Put them on the prepared sheet, leaving about an inch of space in between each one.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and the tablespoon of milk for the glaze. Brush the glaze on the dough using a pastry brush. Then press a generous amount of sugar (or chocolate chips) on top the top.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the chouquettes are puffed up and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
These are best the day they are made, but you can also freeze them for up to a month. Let the chouquettes cool completely and then put them in a ziplock bag. To serve later, bring them to room temperature, then reheat in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Also, I ate mine plain. But you totes could put a small slit in the bottom or slice them in half and fill the chouquettes with cream, making cream puffs! Fancy stuff.