Baking Chouquettes

About two months ago, I wrote about a small neighborhood bakery on Grand Avenue in Oakland called La Parisienne. This was the bakery that introduced me to chouquettes. I thought to myself, if I could get a hold of pearl sugar, I would consider making these.  
My colleague and I were talking about pearl sugar for Belgium waffles and when she decided to order some from Amazon, I asked her to order a box for me as well.  

My niece came over and I gathered all the ingredients to make chouquettes. We would use a recipe from David Lebowitz.  The cool thing is that aside from the pearl sugar, you can probably find all other ingredients in your pantry or fridge.  


Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 oz of unsweetened butter
  • 4 eggs (save 1 yolk for glaze)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp milk (for glaze)
  • Pearl sugar (for topping)

In a saucepan, melt the butter, water, salt, and granulated sugar over medium. Once melted, remove from heat and add the flour to the pan. Place the pan back over medium heat and stir until it is smooth and forms a soft dough.  
Place the dough into a large bowl and wait a few minutes before beating the eggs in one at a time. The fourth egg should be separated. Add the egg white into the mixture and place the one egg yolk into a small bowl for later use. Mix thoroughly for about five minutes.  
Pour dough into a Ziploc bag. Cut about a quarter inch off the corner of the bag and start piping 1 1/2 inch dollops onto a parchment lined sheet.
Now it’s time to make the glaze. Add a tablespoon of half and half to the egg yolk that you saved earlier. Brush the top of each pastry dollop with the glaze and then top generously with pearl sugar.
Place the sheet in an oven that has already been preheated to 425 degrees. They take about 25 minutes to cook, but check your oven after the first fifteen minutes and then every five minutes thereafter. If it is already getting dark, turn the oven down to 375 degrees. I turned my oven down at 20 minutes.
That’s it! Pretty simple, right? They make great snacks. For a dessert, I would recommend piping in some fresh whipped cream with a side of sliced strawberries. Yum!

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Celebrating a Year in Oakland: La Parisienne

La Parisienne is a cute, bright French bakery located on Grand Avenue in Oakland. It celebrated a one-year anniversary this weekend. 

When you walk into La Parisienne, you are confronted with a display of artful desserts. When you follow the window display down the side, you will find many other French baked goods. Part patisserie and part boulangerie, the founders and chef comes directly from Paris, France.
The first visit I made to La Parisienne was shortly after they opened. I had coffee and was introduced to chouquettes. Chouquettes are made from light pastry dough and topped with pearl sugar. The sugar doesn’t melt and stays in form. When you bite into a chouquette, you start out with a little crunch and then the texture becomes slightly soft, airy, and eggy where it is hollow inside. These are bite sized deliciousness.

I have tried three types of croissants at La Parisienne – regular, chocolate, and almond. I found the almond croissant to be quite special. I usually get them warm because they make small batches and sell out fairly quickly.  
Today I picked up one of the beautiful individual desserts to bring to visit my sister. She enjoys fruit, so I selected the berry tart. I had a bite and thought the custard filling was deliciously creamy and light.  
I am happy that La Parisienne is celebrating a successful year. With prices a bit higher, I wasn’t sure it could stay afloat. It’s not a place I would frequent all the time, but I like to support the small businesses in Oakland. There are plenty more variety of desserts to try.