These bouchées, as we call those pâte à choux pastries here in Haiti, seem to be from another era. Today, they’ve lost their popularity. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them on a formal dinner amuse-gueules menu. I last ate one at a wedding. Yes, you read right. I did say one. Unfortunately, I did not get to enjoy more than that. The appetizer tray somehow vanished. It never found its way back to our table. And I still regret not grabbing more than one at once that night.
These bouchées are part of some of my favorite early food memories.
Because of them, I looked forward to formal dinner parties. I knew there was a chance they would be on the menu. I still remember gobbling up those Tête de Maure cheese spread filled puffs. They were way smaller than the ones I am serving you today but so rich, creamy and decadent. And they were almost always garnished with a piece of red or green bell pepper. What I loved the most about them was the strong aroma of piment bouc that permeated every cheesy bite.
See, these pâte à choux are only as good as their filling. Now, if you search online, you will find a wide variety of savory stuffing recipes. But take my word for it when I say nothing beats our Tête de Maure cheese spread. With just the right amount of green piment bouc, it is near perfect. You’ve discovered that spread on the blog last year. So, you should know what I am talking about. And if you still don’t, what are you waiting for? You need to master that cheese spread before even attempting to prepare those bouchées.
Speaking of preparing these pâte à choux. Brace yourself when you decide to take the plunge. You will have to work up a sweat.
The batter for these pâte à choux can be quite the arm workout. You will spend quite some time mixing all the ingredients with the help of a spoon. As you will notice when you grab Cuisine Actuelle’s recipe, which I have translated below for my English-speaking readers, the eggs the recipe calls for have to be added one at a time to a thick butter and flour batter. Your arms will hurt. But don’t you quit on me.
Before you take off running, let me tell you that I hate exercising. Yet, after trying this recipe, and just for them, I will definitely make an exception. And so should you, especially with the added muscle bonus. After all, don’t you wish you could have well-shaped arms while still eating your favorite treats? I know I do. If the price to pay is to whip several batches of Tête de Maure filled bouchées, then why not? What better way to work out then while preparing a savory indulgence? Sports addicts please refrain from commenting on how wrong this is. Let us nonathletic ones enjoy this moment of denial.
That said, get ready to roll your sleeves up and get to work. Fair warning: you may have to constrain yourself. You may want to eat the entire batch of cheese stuffed bouchées in one sitting. They’re that good.
Bouchées, cheesy Haitian-style pâte à choux
For the pâte à choux
- 4 eggs
- 25 cl of water (250 ml)
- ½ tsp of salt
- 100 g of butter (7 tbsp)
- 150 g Flour (1 cup)
For the filling
- Prepared Tête de Maure cheese spread for which you can find the recipe here
- 1 lb Tête de Maure cheese grated
- 1/4 stick butter
- 1 or 2 tbsp evaporated milk
- 1 or 2 tbsp mayo
- 1 small onion grated
- 1 chopped piment bouc
- few drops of mustard
- ground pepper to taste
For the cheese spread
- Mix all the ingredients, and let macerate
For the pâte à choux
- In a saucepan, combine the water, butter and salt. Bring to a boil
- Once the butter has fully melted, add the flour at once
- Remove from heat and mix with a spatula until there’s no more steam coming out of the batter. This process can take up to 10 minutes. While mixing, try to press the dough against the sides of the pot so that it cools evenly
- Your batter should turn into a ball that does not stick to the sides of the pot when you shake it
- Preheat your oven at 375
- Once the batter is completely cool, incorporate the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix it well before adding the next egg
- Your dough is ready when it forms a bird's beak.
- Fill a pastry bag with the dough and squeeze it on a parchment lined baking sheet
- Bake for 35 minutes without opening the oven. Your choux are ready when they are golden brown and puff up
- Remove from the oven and let them cool on a rack
- Once they’re cold, make a small opening, and fill them with some prepared Tête de Maure cheese spread