I still remember my first chouquette.
I’m not big on breakfast. While it’s most people’s favorite meal, it’s something I usually resolve to eat around this time every year. Mostly, I fail. But one fine morning, I was in Paris and on my way to cooking school. Cooking school is not for the faint of heart or the empty of stomach. You need calories to burn. So as I passed by the bakery around the corner from Le Cordon Bleu, I gazed into the window for some inspiration.
In a little cloth-lined basket, I saw a stack of something I’d never noticed before. Puffs of crisp dough, covered in a crust of pearl sugar. I asked what they were. That baker was never friendly and replied with a terse, “chouquettes”. I realized I was on my own, so I ordered a handful. With my first bite it hit me: profiterole shells. They are profiterole shells, without all the sweetness of cream and chocolate. Just the simple, air-filled, balloon of a shell, crisp on the outside, airy pocket inside, and covered in sugar. A little bit eggy, just a little bit rich. But light enough for a girl who hates breakfast.
They’re so easy to make at home, and so charming to serve in a little basket at brunch. I add a slight American twist by serving them, and sometimes even injecting them, with an assortment of jams.