Saturday, March 04, 2006

Chouquettes with chocolate - a teatime treat

I spend a lot of time reading food blogs these days and just discovered the wonderful blog of David Lebovitz, author of The Great Book of Chocolate. David lives in Paris and yesterday posted a recipe for Chouquettes, a teatime choux pastry puff characterized by its topping of large sugar crystals. David had added chocolate chips to his. We were hungry. I had to make them.

This was my first time making a choux pastry. I knew I had a problem when I was supposed to use two spoons to form walnut sized pieces of dough and my dough was so liquidy that it couldn't hold any solid form. I beat in more and more flour, but the dough was still kinda runny compared with those in David's picture. More flour. Finally, I could use a spoon to form the dough. Into the oven and...

...flat, barely spherical, eclair tasting "things". You can't see here, but the bottoms were also spherical. "Great cookies" everyone said.

So today, I have to try again. I get some good tips from David and Dana, read up on Choux Paste in Baking With Julia, consult my childhood cookbook. I run out to Cake Art to try and find the sugar just like David's, but alas have to settle for sugar crystals. As you can see from the top photo, however, success was mine. What went wrong the first time? Probably a combination of: not enough flour, large eggs that are really large, and not bringing the water/milk mixture to a full boil before adding the flour.

Here's the recipe that worked for me:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar,
4 tbsp butter
4 oz flour
3 large eggs
large grain sugar or sugar crystals
chocolate mini chips

Preheat the oven to 425. Put the water, milk, sugar, and butter in a saucepan with rounded sides and bring to a full boil. Take the pan off the heat and add all the flour at once. Beat like crazy with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture is a dough that comes away from the side of the pan. Add eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. The paste will be smooth and shiny. Hold off on the last egg to make sure you really need it. Julia's test: "The dough is finished when you lift the paddle or spoon and it pulls up some dough that then detaches and forms a slowly bending peak." If that doesn't happen, add the last egg.

Use two spoons to form walnut sized pieces of dough and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Top with large sugar crystals and chocolate chips and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.

This made 12 medium sized puffs. We ate them fresh from the oven with tea. I filled some with whipped cream. They were heaven.


Blogger MonkeyBites said...

That looks super yummy. Maybe I'll give it a try myself...

11:46 PM  
Blogger David said...

glad success was not so elusive after all!

5:00 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Welcome, Monkeybites - I'm so glad I tried these. And the pate choux is so useful. I think I'm going to try gougeres (cheese puffs) next!

Hi David,
I had a lot of fun with these. I think sitting in front of the oven and chanting "rise, rise" helped too.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Vegan Knitting said...

Wow - I thought that the photo on the top was the one from the website where you got the recipe and that the bottom one was the one you made. How exciting to discover that BOTH were yours! The top one looks scrumptious.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I think pate choux is one of those "easy when you know how" recipes. So many possibilities.

12:09 AM  

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