For the past month or so, I have been looking for the right time to try out a French cruller recipe. I even bought a large star piping tip (this one)! So, this weekend, I decided it was time to get out the pâte à choux recipe and prepare to do some frying.
What are crullers?
Traditional crullers are fried rectangles of dough that are then twisted and braided. These are French crullers, however, so they’re made with pâte à choux, piped into fluted ring-shapes, and dipped in a sweet glaze. They’re buttery, super light, and perfectly airy.
My very first recipe on this site were these cream puffs, which uses my grandmother’s pâte à choux recipe. I decided to just adapt that recipe, adding flavor and a little bit of sugar. The nice thing about crullers is that the process eliminates challenges that come with baking pâte à choux. Frying it is so much easier!
I made these in two sizes: a smaller version (3×3″) and a larger version (5×5″). In my opinion, the larger crullers kept their shape a little better than the smaller ones when fried. They need a little longer to cook but both sizes can be easily made together.
These are flavored with a black sesame paste, which makes the cruller slightly saltier than a more traditional version. I liked the saltiness of the cruller, with the sweetness of the glaze, but if that’s not your jam then you can omit the added salt or decrease the amount of black sesame. You can also omit the black sesame entirely to just make a plain version.
I decided to top these with a Thai tea flavored glaze, but you can opt for a vanilla or honey glaze instead. The Thai tea is very subtle in this, so if you want a stronger flavor, you should either steep the tea longer or use more tea bags. I also opted for a thinner glaze, since I didn’t want it to overpower the flavor of the crullers themselves, but feel free to give it a thicker consistency if you want.
I also found that I liked these a little overdone. When fried just a little longer, the crust held up slightly better, since these do tend to soften over time. You can store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days, however, these are best enjoyed the day of.
These are so tasty and really easy to whip up for a nice weekend brunch. The black sesame and Thai tea flavors go so well together, adding a fun Asian twist to a traditional French pastry. They’re perfect for the whole family to enjoy!
Black Sesame French Crullers w/ Thai Tea Glaze
For the crullers:
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tsp black sesame paste
For the glaze:
- 4 Thai tea bags
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 5-6 cups vegetable oil
Make the choux pastry:
- In a medium saucepan, heat water and butter over medium-low heat. Cook until boiling, stirring occasionally.
- Quickly stir in flour, sugar, and salt until a dough starts to form and leaves the side of the pan. Remove from heat.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time. Ensure that the egg is well blended before moving on.
- Add the black sesame paste and mix to combine evenly.
- Cut out parchment paper squares in either 3×3 and 5×5-inch sizes (depending on how big you want your crullers to be). Brush all lightly with vegetable oil.
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. To test when the oil is ready, dip the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts to steadily bubble around the wood, the oil is ready for frying.
- While the oil is heating up, place the pâte à choux into a pastry bag fitted with a large star piping tip (I used this one). Pipe the dough into rounds onto the prepared parchment paper squares.
Fry the crullers:
- Prepare a baking sheet with paper towels and place a wire rack on top. You will cool the donuts here.
- Using a slotted spoon, lower the crullers into the oil along with the parchment paper. Hold the spoon under the cruller for a couple of seconds, just so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Fry 3 or 4 donuts at once. Remove the parchment paper squares after a minute or so with metal tongs. Fry the bottoms of the donuts for a couple of minutes before flipping them, to help maintain the definition of the design on top. Keep frying for about 6-7 minutes, making sure both sides are an even dark brown.
- Let crullers cool on the prepared wire rack. Let cool completely before glazing.
Make the glaze:
- Heat the milk. Brew the four Thai tea bags in the milk for an hour or so.
- In a small bowl, add 3 tbsp of Thai tea and the powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if you want the glaze to be thicker. You can add more Thai tea to thin out the glaze as well.
- Once the crullers are cooled, dip them in your Thai tea glaze. Let dry for a couple of minutes. Enjoy!