Knitted-Christmas-choux-chouquettes

Knitted Choux Carnival of Festive French Chouquettes

A promise is a promise. Remember I said I’d make my own homemade knits, posting Auntie Shirley’s knitted cakes and felt macarons? I looked for bright holiday woollens for inspiration but since I’m hopeless at knitting, I found a fun solution. I cheated! No knitting needles were used in the making of them.

Some cherry pompom inspiration

There’s a wee story behind it. Let’s rewind to early last year.

A friend-of-a-friend popped round for coffee, eager to catch up. All too quickly I realised her ‘news’. She had become a sales rep for Flexipan products. As if by magic, she happened to have all the catalogues on her. And the order forms. Did you know she got such a super commission on every sale, too?  Suddenly, I was introduced to the world of everything served in fancy molds, s’il vous plaît. Quoi? I make macarons and don’t use a silicon mat? Well, when you make macarons, there’s no need for silicon mats; just simple, greaseproof baking paper. OK, you can see from the photos I did give in and bought the mat. I use them for choux buns and chouquettes, not macarons. I discovered that if you use a silicone mat when making macarons, it’s not that easy to tell if they’re cooked enough.

Having a good glance around while the kettle was on, she could tell straight away what a sucker I was for gadgets and fun kitchen toys. There was just one wee problem she had: I saw the mold prices. You see, if you’re approaching a budget-conscious Scot who’s become stubborn over the years (being married to a Corsican has now rubbed off on me, too), then filling in her motivational order form isn’t as easy as that. So she tried another angle.

She brought out a wonderful book demonstrating Flexipan molds, Les mignardises de Christophe: Leçons de pâtisserie by Christophe Felder. It’s true: each recipe with its step-by-step and beautiful presentations had me sold. I needed it desperately. Except for one recipe that didn’t use any mold and had me in stitches: Choux tricotés (knitted choux.) I mean, who would want to eat these?

Chouquettes are simply choux buns topped with pearl sugar with no filling and are smaller than choux buns. They’re just light, airy and the sugar on the top gives it that crunch. The children adore them at goûter time after school. So Christophe’s recipe is brilliant: why not colour the sugar and cover them completely like this? I bought the book, too. They really do look like they’re knitted. And the colours? Well, yes, they are vibrant but it is festive season, n’est-ce pas?

It wasn’t just the children that loved them (they adored helping out, too.)  We ended up making a second batch in the week – just to use up the extra sugar coating, plus try out pistachio flavouring this time from my macaron essences/flavouring secret cupboard. Och, who needs excuses? They were simply bloomin’ good.

Recipe: Knitted Chouquettes

Adapted from Christophe Felder’s Choux tricotés, from Les Mignardises de Christophe. I still had a lot of topping left over but discovered the uncooked covering keeps in the fridge for a few days directly in its greaseproof paper. I also added some flavouring to the sugar topping for some extra fun: strawberry, almond, rose, pistachio – you could adapt to your own taste.

Ingredients for the sugar topping

50g butter, softened
60g caster sugar (or brown sugar)
60g plain flour
few drops of liquid colouring (I used powdered which still worked well, as that’s all I use for macarons)
few drops of almond essence (or any other flavouring, to taste)

Follow the classic recipe and instructions for Choux Buns from my earlier post,
Choux Buns, Passionfruit Caramel and a Choux-Choux!

1. Cream the butter using a whisk. Gradually mix in the sugar then the flour until you have a good paste.

2. Separate the mix into separate bowls for each colour. I made only two colours, but you can do as many as you fancy.  Add a few drops of food colouring and mix well.

3. Place the mix between two sheets of non-stick baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the mix until you have a rectangle of about 2-3mm thinkness.  Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the mini choux buns.

5. There’s no need to coat each choux with egg yolk, just place a small square of the coloured sugar topping on each choux and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20-25 minutes.

Spot the Ninja seeing red – he’s supposed to be green!

OK. I cheated without the knitting needles but this was so much fun. Next time I’ll use slightly less colouring and make sweety pink rose ones for the girls, or orange and lemon chouquettes? I’m sure you can come up with all sorts of flavours. Gosh, these are about as fun as macarons!

 

34 replies
  1. shaz
    shaz says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha, you had me in stitches (or should that be purls?) at this post Jill. I love the colourful “knitted” choux and the colours are so Christmassy. Will have to try it with the kids soon.

    Reply
  2. Amy
    Amy says:

    These are lovely, and so festive Jill! I would love to try some, as I have never experienced them before! Hope you are having a wonderful Holiday season :)!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Och, no. Not purple. Just plain choux in the inside since they’re plainly choux pastry but more air than anything else. That’s why the kids adore them: they can have a few without feeling guilty from mum…

      Reply
  3. June S
    June S says:

    These look amazing Jill – something so very different for a Christmas party. I don’t know how you manage to come up with all these ideas. Love the knitted cakes too.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Merci buckets. The ideas come when I’m under the shower. Having techie probs and so don’t know if subscribers are getting emails to tell them. Boohoo. I just wanna cook, not do the computer stuff, too. Anyway, happy bunny since cleared out the basement today for a Christmas party next week. Exhausted but sure beats the computer!

      Reply
  4. Terris@ Free Eats
    Terris@ Free Eats says:

    I always love how playful you are with your recipes. This is too cute. You could have fooled me with those knitting needles. I figured you were an old pro! 🙂 Plus the chouquettes look delicious.

    Reply
  5. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Ohh how cute are these Jill!! You never cease to amaze me with your talents, these look so delicious and almost too pretty to eat 🙂 If you haven’t already, feel free to stop by my blog and check out the $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card giveaway going on right now! xoxo

    Reply
  6. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    It feels like it’s been ages since I visited and I apologize for being absent. For some reason, I am having a hard time keeping up with blogging. Chouquettes are new to me, but choux isn’t. I love the idea of little ones covered in sugar paste. What a wonderful treat for the holidays!

    Reply
  7. Manu
    Manu says:

    These look amazing Jill!!! I have never heard of chouquettes before, but they sound delicious and a great idea for Christmas too! Lovely colours! 🙂

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Manu – forgot to mention that they’re best eaten on the day and fresh. You can keep the choux pastry dough in the fridge, though, for a few days – which is handy.
      Whereas macarons keep for up to a week… 😉

      Reply
  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Jill! Oh I remember you were talking about knitted choux! HOW CUTE!!! These mini size choux will fit into my giant mouth and within a few minutes they will be gone… We all love choux (ohh these airy puffs are amazing) and these are great festive version!

    Reply
  9. Tina@flourtrader
    Tina@flourtrader says:

    This is something new to me, so I am glad I stopped in to learn about these awesome little treats. While I have had choux buns before, never have I seen these with the wonderful knitted texture. It is amazing how the sugar coating it changes when you bake it. Great post!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Hi Gerry,
      Yes, just like a gougère but without the cheese. So light in the inside and the crispy sugar on top. So light that you do tend to gobble rather more than a couple 😉
      I hear you on the Xmas cards. Haven’t got that far yet. Gosh, is it that time already? Not organised at all this year…

      Reply
  10. Kim - Liv Life
    Kim - Liv Life says:

    These little guys look OMG good! I have a 12 year old girl who would eat the entire batch… literally! My mom brought fudge for Thanksgiving and I was shocked to see Liv had eaten the entire pan in 2 1/2 days! She just cocked her head and said “Well… they were really good”.
    I still think your aunt is amazing!!!

    Reply

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  1. […] by you to say thank you for all the knitted fun. Stay tuned on le blog for a bright and cheery festive afternoon tea with more woolly cakes. They’re not sugar-free, though, and they also contain some […]

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