I have shared with you before how to make choux pastry for chocolate cream puffs, and eclairs. Now, it’s time to bring the challenge up another level by adding a layer of crunchy cookie crust on the buttery choux pastry. This thin layer of cookie crust topping is called “craquelin“, which simply consists of butter, sugar and flour. So, how does craquelin work? Under high heat in the oven, craquelin melts and envelopes itself around the choux pastry. Then, as choux pastry puffs up, craquelin starts to break apart, resulting in a beautiful crackling texture.
What is so amazing about craquelin is that it helps produce a really nice round cream puffs. No more cream puffs with irregular shapes despite your perfect piping. Yay!!! 😊This is because the blanket of craquelin holds the outer layer of choux pastry together firmly, and thus ensures even expansion. A very important reminder here: make sure you roll out the craquelin really thin, about 1-2 mm in thickness. You would not want to have thick heavy craquelin that pushes down the choux pastry too much, preventing it from puffing up. Personally, I prefer to roll out the craquelin once the dough mixture is done; that’s when the dough is soft but pliable. Then, freeze the craquelin dough before cutting it into the shape and size you want.
With just a little bit more effort and time, you will be able to enjoy buttery cream puffs with sweet crunchy cookie crust. Pop the cream puff in your mouth, and let the heavenly whipped cream explode!
Watch this video to get step-by-step instructions to make choux au craquelin:
Ingredients (yield: about 13-14 medium puffs)
(A) Cookie dough
Plain flour 80g
Colouring, if desired
(B) Choux pastry
Plain flour 60g
Egg, chilled 120g
(C) Mango cream
Whipping cream 350g
Mango puree 100g
Sugar 30 – 40g
- To make the cookie dough: Put butter, sugar and plain flour in a mixing bowl. Use your finger tips to rub the ingredients until they resemble bread crumbs. Start to combine them together to form a dough. You may add some food colouring, if desired.
- Transfer the cookie dough onto a parchment paper. Flatten the dough with your palm. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to around 1 – 2 mm thick. Freeze the dough.
- To make the choux pastry: In a saucepan, put in water, milk, butter and salt. Bring it to a rolling boil on medium-high heat; and make sure all butter has melted. (Note: at this point, you may keep the eggs in the refrigerator to stay chilled, if your kitchen is very warm)
- Once the butter mixture is boiling, pour in all the plain flour. Mix quickly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to form a dough. Continue to cook and stir the dough until it forms into a ball that comes away from the sides of the pan.
- Turn off the heat. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl.
- Immediately, start adding the chilled/ cold eggs in 3 additions. Ensure all the egg has been absorbed into the dough. The final dough should be smooth, glossy. If you scoop up some dough with your spatula and let it slide back into the bowl, it should leave a little “V” on the spatula.
8. Start to preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. Transfer the choux dough to a piping bag, and pipe the dough (about 4 – 5 cm round) on baking pan lined with parchment paper. Ensure each dough piping is at least 7cm apart.
9. Take out the cookie dough from freezer. Use a round cookie cutter of 5cm diameter to cut the dough. Place the cookie dough on top of each choux dough. If the cookie dough becomes soft, put them back into the freezer for a minute, for easier handling.
10. Bake at 200 degree Celsius for 20 minutes (I use a non-convection oven). Then, reduce to 180 degree Celsius and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Let them cool down in the oven for 20 minutes.
11. Transfer the choux puffs to a cooling rack and let them cool down completely.
12. Meanwhile, to make the mango cream, whip cream and sugar to soft-medium peak. Add in mango puree, and continue to whip to medium-stiff peak. Transfer them to a piping bag, and keep chilled for later use.
13. Once the choux puffs have cooled down completely, cut a small hole at the bottom of the puffs with a pairing knife. Fill the puffs with mango cream.
14. Serve immediately.