Yes, this is another cream puff recipe. But in my defense, cream puffs were actually my first ever recipe on this blog! So, I thought it was time to do a revamp. These cream puffs are crunchier and slightly sweeter than my previous version, all due to a thin craquelin layer on top. If you can make the standard cream puff, you can definitely make these.
Choux au craquelin is simply a fancy name for a cream puff with craquelin, a thin cookie-like disc that sits on top. The craquelin is incredibly easy to make and it only uses butter, sugar, and flour. Although cream puffs are always best the day of, the craquelin actually helps to keep them relatively crunchy for a day longer. I used brown sugar for this recipe, but you can sub it for white granulated sugar if needed.
I chose to make two types of fillings for this batch, but feel free to use whatever type of filling you want. Both the chocolate and coconut fillings are whipped creams, but you can use pastry creams, custards, etc. I prefer a more subtle and less sweet filling. You can add powdered sugar by taste or, if you want a stronger coconut flavor, you can add a drop or two of coconut extract.
I did not rewrite the choux pastry recipe but you can find it here. Unlike my first recipe, these cream puffs should be piped rather than dropped onto the baking sheets. This is ultimately optional, but they result in more even choux pastries. I piped mine into mini cream puffs, but simply increase the size (probably around 2-inch in diameter) for regular cream puffs.
If needed, you can make the cream puff casings in advance. I would recommend not filling them until you are ready to serve and eat them, since they will start to get soggy. Filled pastries will last about one day in the refrigerator, past that and they will start to get stale (but they’ll still taste good!). Store unfilled pastries in an airtight container for up to one week.
These sweet and crunchy treats are perfect to share with friends and family, and the mini versions are almost too addicting. Whether this is your first time making pastries or you’re a seasoned pro, these cream puffs are so fun to make and deliciously satisfying!
Choux au Craquelin with Chocolate and Coconut Fillings
For the Craquelin:
- 1 stick salted butter, softened to room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 2/3 cup brown sugar (4.5 oz)
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp flour (4.5 oz)
For the Choux Pastry:
- 2 batches Choux pastry
For the Coconut Whipped Cream:
- 1 can coconut milk (chilled overnight, see notes)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
For the Chocolate Whipped Cream:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Make the Craquelin:
- Beat the butter, salt, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until creamy and fluffy.
- Add flour and mix until crumbly. Use your hands to bring the mixture together to form a dough.
- Split the dough into two portions and place inside a large ziploc bag. Roll out each piece into flat discs until it's about 2-3 mm thick. Remove all excess air and close the ziploc bags. Place them on a baking sheet and keep them in the freezer until completely frozen (1-2 hours).
Make the fillings:
- For the chocolate whipped cream: Place all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until stiff peaks form.
- For the coconut whipped cream: Open your can of coconut milk and take out just the chilled cream at the top. Discard the water at the bottom. Place all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the Choux Pastry:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
- Take the craquelin discs out of the freezer and place them on a flat cutting board. Using any sort of circular cutter (around 1.5-inch), cut out small 1.5-inch craquelin circles. Keep them on a non-stick surface and place back in the freezer until needed.
- Make a double batch of this choux pastry recipe and place it into a pastry bag with a small round tip.
- Pipe choux pastry mounds on the silpats (about 1.5-inches in diameter). Make sure to keep the tip upright and gently twist to remove tip.
- Place a disc of craquelin on top of each choux mounds. Press gently to make sure it sticks.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on the top, about 30 minutes. Do not open the oven before 30 minutes are up to prevent collapsing.
- Remove the choux pastries from the oven. Prick each with a sharp toothpick to release any steam from inside. Allow them to cool for a few minutes.
- Using a small round piping tip, cut out a hole in the bottom of each of the choux pastry cases.
- Fill the choux pastries with either the chocolate or coconut whipped creams. You can also fill some with mini chocolate chips before you pipe the whipped cream. Serve immediately.