Choux pastry is so named because a patissier in the 18th century created little buns from the dough, and they were shaped like cabbages, choux meaning cabbage in French. Choux pastry is one of the last frontiers of pastry/dough-making for me, after having tackled macaron and meringue. This egg-enriched dough is used for, among other things: profiteroles (cream puffs), eclairs, churros, beignets, and French crullers. Also, chouquettes (“little cabbages”), which are choux pastry balls sprinkled with pearl sugar, a special kind of large-grained sugar found mostly in Europe.
Unfortunately (?) all of my chouquettes puffed, which I suppose is really a good thing, since I was making choux pastry after all. I was expecting something a bit flatter and denser, but I won’t complain. Since I saw that the crushed sugar cubes I was using weren’t adhering well enough, I chose to omit the sugar on most batches and fill the remaining ones with salted caramel sauce, or serve them plain. No one complained.
This makes a huge amount of chouquettes or profiteroles, so, feel free to halve the recipe.
- 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 tbsp. sugar
- 3 c. water
- 3 c. flour
- 1 dozen eggs
- pearl sugar
- In a medium saucepan, bring butter, sugar, salt, and water to a simmer. Add flour and stir until combined. Cook until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
- Let cool about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, stirring to incorporate between each addition. The dough is fairly thick and sticky, so this will take a little muscle.
- At this stage, you may use the pastry immediately, or even let rest overnight – the dough I let rest overnight puffed, and then fell, so if using for chouquettes, this is desirable, less so for profiteroles.
- Preheat the oven to 400. Pipe small rounds or bars onto parchment-covered baking sheets. Sprinkle with pearl sugar for chouquettes. Cook 13 minutes, then open the oven door, and cook a further 5-7 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top.