I have had a very fun foodie week this week. The children and I have been watching and cooking recipes from Rachel Khoo’s wonderful series ‘Little Paris Kitchen’. If you have not watched it I urge you to log onto BBC iplayer and watch Rachel create mouth watering recipes from her tiny Parisian kitchen.
We adored her Chicken Dumpling Soup. My two year old goats cheese addict devoured her Goats Cheese, Pistachio & Prune Cake and the Chestnut Cream was wonderful.
In amongst all this cooking I was thrilled to get my Rack of Lamb recipe published online by the Evening Standard: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/foodanddrink/rack-of-lamb-7684386.html
While online tweeting about said article ... I saw that Rachel was doing her first book signing at Harrods. I popped along and watched her make Gougeres (Cheese Puffs). She was great, very calm, gave lots of tips and really entertained the few hundred people watching her. After her demonstration she kindly signed for the children.
They were thrilled ... Thea started leafing through pointing at every recipe saying 'we need to make that mummy ... and that ... I am off to get my apron'.
With her apron on she dragged me to the kitchen to make Chouquettes (Sugar Puffs) a firm favourite of ours when in Bouzigues, France. Thea weighed out the flour, Charlie broke the eggs and we all sprinkled over the chocolate ... they were delicious.
As we cleared up the kitchen I realised I may have made a mistake ... I should have bought two books. Thea was flicking though the pages while licking the bowl ... I told her to be careful not to cover the book ... her reply ...‘Mummy, Rachel put my name in the book not yours so i can look at is as much as I want ... ’
What more could I say ... here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did:
CHOUQUETTES - Makes 52
125ml Water, 125ml Full Fat Milk, 100g Butter, cubed, 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1 Teaspoon Sugar, 170g Plain Flour, 4 Eggs, Icing Sugar, 100g Topping (Nipped Sugar, Chocolate Chips, Freeze Dried Raspberry)
- Heat the oven to 170
- Weigh out your flour, mix the salt and the sugar into it
- Pour the water, milk and butter into a saucepan and place on a medium heat until the butter has melted
- Once it has melted turn down the heat, pour in all of the flour and mix like mad. At this point it will look a little like lumpy mashed potato ... continue beating until it goes smooth, it will take about a minute
- Once smooth transfer the pastry to a mixing bowl and carry on beating until the pastry is cool enough to touch
- Once you can touch it add in one egg. The batter will go lumpy but carry beating until it is smooth again then add another egg. Repeat until all the eggs have been mixed into the batter
- Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a 5mm nozzle
- Line three baking trays with baking paper, dot a little of the mixture on each corner of the baking tray before you place the paper on the tray, this will hold the paper down
- Pipe the Chouquettes on to the baking tray. Hold the nozzle at 90 degrees about 5mm away from the tray. Keep the nozzle upright and pipe a walnut -sized ball of pastry on to the paper. You need to flic the nozzle sideways when the pastry is the correct size and repeat with the next one. (I had 18 Chouquettes on each of my three trays)
- Dust the Chouquettes with icing sugar, leave for a minute and dust again
- Sprinkle with your topping of choice and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until crispy and golden
Make sure you add all the flour in one go.
You need to transfer the mixture from the saucepan into a bowl to help it cool down, if you don’t do this it can get rather runny. If the mixture goes really runny add in a little more flour and pop in the fridge to chill the batter slightly.
Chouquettes are delicious fresh, if you want to store them for a day or two, pop them in an airtight container. When ready to use them bake at 150 for five minutes to freshen them up.
The French make a savoury version of these called Gougeres (Cheese Puffs). If you want to make the savoury version then add 50g of grated Comte to the batter once the flour is mixed in. Replace the sugary topping with some poppy seeds and sprinkle over another 25g of grated Comte.