In this post I am sharing with you the detailed step by step recipe of choux au craquelin. The craquelin is this thin crispy and crackly layer on top of the choux, that allows the pastry to puff properly and evenly.

This recipe is a bit different from the one I use for the eclairs, it has more eggs and thus will puff more. You can prepare the choux dough in advance and freeze it raw or freeze the choux once bakes. Whenever you need to fill them, just reheat them (without unfreezing them) at 170°C for 2/3 minutes.

Below the recipe of the craquelin and the pastry choux.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 5 mins
Resting Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 70 g

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Stainless steel mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • 2 rectagles of parchment paper approx. 15cmx30cm each
  • Rolling pin

Ingredients
  

  • 20 g Butter
  • 25 g Flour
  • 25 g Cassonade Unrefined cane brown sugar
  • 0.5 g Fleur de sel French sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Bring the butter cut into cubes to room temperature.
  • Once the butter soft, add the flour, salt and cassonade sugar.
  • Combine using a spatula until getting a creamy mix.
  • Pour the batter onto the first piece of parchment paper and cover with the other one.
  • Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2mm (maximum) and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Cut out discs of 3cm diameter to be placed on the choux pastry.

Notes

  
Keyword Craquelin, Crunch
Print Recipe
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Resting Time 0 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 40 small choux

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Stainless steel mixing bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Stand mixer equipped with flat beater
  • Wooden turner or spatula
  • Baking tray lined with Silpat mat
  • Piping bag with 10mm round tip
  • 24 holes semi spheres silicone mold
  • Angled spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 160 g Eggs Around 3 medium eggs
  • 95 g Flour
  • 70 g Butter
  • 80 g Full fat milk Fresh if possible
  • 80 g Water
  • 10 g Inverted sugar Or granulated sugar
  • 3 g Table salt Use precision scale

Instructions
 

  • Bring the eggs to room temperature. Whisk them lightly to combine the whites and the yolks so that when added to the dough later, you get an even mix of whites and yolks at each addition.
  • Preheat the oven at 170°C, on STATIC mode.
  • Sieve the flour.
  • Cut the butter into small cubes (maximum 2cmx2cm).
  • Place the milk, the butter, the salt and the inverted sugar in the saucepan and heat them.
  • Stir from time to time to dissolve the salt and sugar, and so that the butter melts before the mix comes to a boil.
  • As soon as you see the first tiny bubbles (sign of boiling), remove from the heat (but don't switch off the stove).
  • Add ALL the sifted flour in ONE GO. Mix immediately (off the heat) using the wooden turner (or a spatula not too flexible).
  • Ensure there are no lumps at this stage, so do not hesitate to flatten any lumps with the spatula as you mix. This step is important to ensure that the flour absorbs the moisture of the liquid mix. The presence of lumps increases the risk of having cracked shells once baked.
  • Place the saucepan on the stove again (at medium heat) and mix energetically to dry the dough and evaporate the excess moist. This step should take approx. 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the flour).
    Take your time at this stage but don't overheat the dough otherwise the butter will split from the dough and it won't have the right texture.
  • The dough is ready when it pulls away very cleanly from the sides of the pan, and either it forms a thin film at the bottom of your stainless steel saucepan (cf. picture below) OR small oil droplets at the bottom of your non-stick saucepan.
    The ideal temperature of the dough should be around 78°C.
  • Transfer the dough into the bowl of the stand mixer equipped with the flat beater. Mix at low speed for 1 minute to cool it down and avoid cooking the eggs while adding them. The temperature should be just below 45°C.
    Do not over-work the dough, and use the lowest speed, otherwise the butter will split from the dough, and it will look oily and won't have the right texture.
  • Add the eggs a little at a time (4 to 5 times) and mix (at low speed) after each addition. You can start by adding the 1/3 of the eggs, then the second 1/3. and make sure the eggs are combined properly at each step, but do not over-agitate the dough.
  • Then add the rest of the eggs little by little until getting the right texture. It's important NOT to add all the eggs at the same time, because the quantity required depends on many factors such as the flour (and its capacity to absorb moisture), how much water evaportated during the cooking step...
  • The dough is ready when it becomes smooth and glossy and it holds its shape.
  • You can do the V-test to ensure you have the right texture: stir the dough a little with the spatula and slowly lift it. The dough should form a V shape at the end of the spatula.
  • You can also do the finger test: drag your finger along the surface of the dough to draw a straight line. The sides of this trough should stay upright and not collapse into the dough.
  • Prepare the piping bag with round tip 10mm. Push the bottom of the bag towards the tip to close the whole and avoid the dough from spilling.
  • Transfer the dough into the piping bag. If you don't have a stand to hold your piping bag you can DIY by cutting out a plastic bottle.
  • Make sure there are no air bubbles trapped in the bag before starting piping by squeezing the bag and pushing the dough towards the tip.
  • You can pipe directly the choux on the tray lined with silicone mat, by holding the pastry bag upright and pressing gently, and form small mounds about 3 to 3.5cm diameter.
  • Don't mind the tips and don't try to flatten them if you will use craquelin.
  • You can also use another technique that consists in piping the dough in silicone molds (mini semi spheres for me, 3cm diameter), then freezing them.
  • Remove the excess dough with a spatula. This technique ensures having all the choux of exactly the same size.
  • Once frozen, unmold the semi spheres and place them on the silicone mat. I do not recommended to use parchment paper otherwise the choux will not have a flat and neat base, as the paper will be distorted under the dough and the heat will not be conducted evenly.
  • Place on each choux a craquelin disc. No need to make it much bigger than the choux itself.
  • There are various techniques to bake the choux, this is the one that works best for me. The goal is to have smooth puffed round golden shells (almost) without cracks.
  • Bake at 170°C (convection mode) for 15 minutes.
  • Open slightly the door of the oven to release the steam and block it with a thin wooden spoon for example (to leave an opening of approx. 1cm).
  • Continue baking for 10 minutes. You may need more time depending on the size of your choux, your oven...
  • The choux are done when they have a nice dark golden color. If you don't bake them enough they will collapse once out of the oven.
  • Let them cool on a cooling rack.
Keyword Choux, Eclairs, Pastry choux

Additional comments

Since I discovered the craquelin and I tested the choux with it, I cannot do without! It actually allows the dough to puff evenly without cracking, and much more than without craquelin.

On the picture below, the 6 pastry choux were piped using the same dough, and were of the same size before baking. The 3 at the top were baked with craquelin, and the 3 at the bottom without:

But I recommend to use a thin craquelin because it’s quite sweet, especially if you want to glaze your choux.

To fill the choux, you can either cut them horizontally and pipe the cream/crémeux… or make holes at the back using a 3 or 4mm tip.

To fill the choux and decorate them, the techniques used for the eclairs apply, please check this.

In order to avoid having soggy choux I recommend to: 

– bake them until they become really golden brown, so that the shell is crispy enough and will not become too soft once filled,

– fill them just before consuming them, the taste will be much better than filling them hours earlier and refrigerate them (unlike professional fridges, the humidity rate in domestic fridges is in general not controlled and is quite high). 

Bon appétit!