The mid-1500s, Italy.
On a sunny afternoon, Queen Catherine de Médicis, daughter of a French mother and an Italian father was making war plans and drinking coffee when she heard a scream coming from the other side of the mansion.
Popelini, her pastry chef, was overjoyed, she heard him shout: "stupefacente"!
For months, he had been perfecting a dessert made from a previously dehydrated dough. He would then rehydrate it by adding eggs one by one.
He wasn't exactly sure what it would be like this time. He started making a bunch of small, not very regular puffs of dough, the size of a tablespoon that he fried in oil.
This was it. A great invention! The dough was crunchy and delicious. It was the birth of Les "pets de nonnes". A puff of air, known as "nun's farts"
It wasn't until the 18th century that Jean Avice, a French diplomat's pastry chef, improved the hot dough "pâte à chaud" into the « pâte à choux » and finished it with a golden coat sprinkled with sugar.
If you try one, you will taste a bubble of air, the crunchy of sugar crystals, and the exquisite fondant of choux pastry that describes la chouquette in its simplest form.
The discovery of Les Chouquettes was "un peu par hasard' "a bit by chance" and we owe it to Popelini who reminds us that sometimes we need a little bit of luck to make great inventions.