Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lunch In Paris & Gluten Free Chouquettes

If you see me reading, chances are there is a food theme involved.  (Unless you are sitting by me in a pedi chair, then it will be the Hollywood gossip mag from the front of the salon.)

My always thoughtful husband brought me Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard to read on my recent flight.  I started it only to realize I had read it already, but I was hooked again after the first few pages.  (I have this amazing ability to forget happy movies and books enough to watch/read them again and again, sometimes even being surprised by the ending.  Weird?)

My favorite thing about the book is that it melds two of my favorite genres, chick-lit and cookbooks! Throw in the fact that it's in my favorite city and it's a hit!

My backyard view after rain.
It's finally raining today and after an abnormally sunny winter, it felt a bit dreary.Rainy Wednesdays are almost as bad as Mondays, so when I started the afternoon school taxi run, I remembered a Chouquette recipe in the third chapter of the book. The thought of Chouquettes and hot chocolate wouldn't escape my mind.  "Can we make hot chocolate?"  was my greeting as my youngest hopped in. The quick "YES! and we'll make chouquettes" from his normally sugar-shy mother probably shocked him.

"Mom, what are Chouquettes?" Easiest description (and what I told him):  cream puffs without the creamy filling.  Foodie description:  Little eggy pockets of air coated with powdered sugar.  "Like biting into a sweet breeze." Author's description after her new-found love returned with the warm breakfast pastries following a hunting and gathering expedition to the nearby neighborhood bakery.

See why I love this book.

Cream puffs, chouquettes, profiteroles, gougeres, zeppoli...they are all created from the same basic dough give or take a few flavoring agents.  It's what is referred to in chefland as Pate au Choux (Pat oh Shoe).  Cream puff dough is sufficient if you're not talking to a chef.  It's butter, flour, eggs, water or milk.  They're all in your cabinet right now, right.  Go make these little guys.  And don't forget hot chocolate for dunking.  (Quickest and richest version...2 tbsp chocolate chips melted with 2 tbsp boiling water.  Top off with  warm milk and stir to combine.)

Gluten Free Chouquettes (and friends, see below)

1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup rice flour (or unbleached regular flour)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk (use any kind of milk, dairy or otherwise)
4 eggs abundant powdered sugar for sprinkling

 Preheat oven to 425.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix salt, sugar and flour in a bowl.  Bring the cold butter, water and milk to a rolling boil.  Add the dry ingredients all at once and stir with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. 

At this point you can do the rest with the same pan and spoon or you can take a shortcut like I do...transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. Either way, let the dough cool for a few minutes by stirring or running the mixer on low. 

Add eggs one at a time and mix well after you do.  (Crack each egg into a ramekin before adding to avoid shells.)  The mixture will look like its going wrong at first.  Just keep mixing after each egg.  By the time you add the last one, you should have a nice, thick scoopable dough.

You can use a small (1") ice cream scoop or place all the dough into a gallon ziploc bag and pipe little mounds onto the parchment covered cookie sheets.  Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes then turn down to 400 degrees.   (Switch pans at this point, too, so they will bake evenly.) Bake for another 10 minutes.  They should be golden brown and rolling around like Weebles and sound hollow.  Remove from the oven and using a sharp knife, poke a small undetectable hole in each chouquette so steam can escape.  Let cool slightly before eating.

My kids love to add extra powdered sugar.  I loved the slight sweetness ("sweet breeze") especially alongside the super-sweet hot chocolate.

Use the same dough for: 
1. Profiteroles:  Use this same recipe and fill with ice cream then top with chocolate sauce...Voila...Profiteroles.  Can make small ones and serve in 3's or make big ones as solos.
2. Gougeres:  Leave out sugar, add black pepper and a cup of grated Gruyere or parmesan cheese.
3. Zeppoli:  Fry the dough balls instead of baking and coat in cinnamon sugar. 
4. Cream Puffs:  Same as profiteroles except fill with vanilla pudding or pastry cream.

Print Page Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, Cook What You've Got


  1. these look delicious - I'm going to post this alternative on the Lunch in Paris facebook page right now!

    PS - I'm glad I'm not the only one who forgots my favorite books fast enough to reread them regularly...

    1. Thanks so much for visiting my site. I'm glad you are able to pass this along to your readers. Can't wait to read your future books!


Welcome. I value your comments. If you think you would like to use my site for your personal advertising purposes, I would appreciate you emailing and asking me first. I've had a recent outbreak of SPAM, so I'm a little cautious. But legit conversations are always welcome.

Thanks, Christi

Copyright 2012 TablaVie Personal Chef Service

All photos and recipes may not be used without express permission from Christi Flaherty, owner and creator of Cook What You've Got Concept and blog.
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