If you want to make me happy with something, it is with an éclair or choux with a lot of cream. Today I went into the kitchen myself and made these delicious choux au craquelin: puffs with pistachio filling and a crispy layer on top. It’s a bit of work, but definitely worth spending time on!
Choux au craquelin, crispy puffs? How to get that crispy layer of craquelin.
You may have already tried them in a French pastry shop or bakery: The éclair with a kind of crispy layer on top! I’ll explain it to you in this article, it’s actually very easy
What you’ll need for the dough (for approx. 12 big, or 20 small ones)
- 50 ml of water
- 50 ml of milk
- 45 grams of butter
- 1 gram of salt, 1 gram of sugar
- 55 grams of flour
- 2 eggs + a little more
Craquelin (= the crispy layer)
- 20 grams of very soft butter
- 25 grams of light brown cane sugar
- 25 grams of flour
For the cream
- 500 ml of milk
- 1 vanilla pod or vanilla essence or 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
- 100 grams of egg yolks (5 eggs)
- 80 grams of sugar
- 50 grams of cornstarch
- 60 grams of butter
- 20-40 grams of pistachio paste
- A few pistachios for decoration
Where can you get the pistachio paste?
You can easily make the pistachio paste yourself by roasting skinned and unsalted pistachios in the oven for about 10 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. Then you have to grind it very finely in a chopper together with a teaspoon of powdered sugar. If it stays very dry, you can add a little bit of water or oil (not too much!). If it’s too hard to grind the pistachio’s into a fine powder than that’s OK. In that case you’ll need to use a hand blender once the cream is finished to make sure no pieces of pistachio remain.
Preparation of the choux
Start with the crispy layer (craquelin) that covers the choux. This is actually very easy. You mix the ingredients together until everything is well mixed. For this, the butter has to be really soft (but not melted!) Then roll it out between two baking sheets to form a very thin layer of about 2 mm. Place on a flat base and into the fridge.
Now you’ll prepare the choux pastry. This does require some attention. Put a pan on the stove and add the milk, water, salt, sugar and butter until it starts boiling. When it starts raising, remove from the stove and add the flour all at once. Mix well with a spatula. When it is well mixed, spread the dough over the bottom of the pan and return to the stove without stirring. When it starts to crackle, shake the pan a bit to take a look at the bottom: if a small layer sticks to the bottom of your pan, your dough is well dried. Remove from heat and mix with spatula until most of the vapor is gone. Now add the first egg until it is completely mixed through the dough. Then add the next egg and mix.
Baking the choux
Now preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
Put the dough in a piping bag. If you don’t have those, you can use a sturdy plastic bag as well. Cut a half inch hole and pipe about 12 equal circles on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. The circles may be about 4 cm in diameter. Brush the choux with a little bit of egg.
Then remove the craquelin from the refrigerator and remove the top layer of baking paper. Turn it on it’s other side and remove the bottom paper. Cut out circles about 3 cm in diameter (I cut out some cute flowers as I didn’t have the round cookie cutter 😉 ). Place the circles on the choux. Lower the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and put the puffs in the oven. After 20 minutes open the oven for a moment to let some steam out. Place in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. Let them cool down.
Preparation of the pistachio filling:
Start with a crème pâtissière: Mix the egg yolks with the sugar until it becomes a bit lighter in color. Add the cornstarch with a spatula.
Heat the milk in a pan together with a sachet of vanilla sugar, a vanilla pod or some vanilla essence. When it starts to boil, add some of the hot milk to the egg mixture and stir well. Now put everything back into the pan and mix with a whisk and bring back to the boil. Let it boil for another 1.5 minutes and keep stirring. Remove from the stove
Now add in the butter. After adding the butter, remove some of the cream from the pan and place in a separate container. We will use this later for the decoration of the choux. Then add the pistachio paste into the pan and stir well. If you have made the pistachio paste yourself and there are still some bigger pieces of pistachio remaining, use the hand blender to make the cream nice and smooth.
Filling and decorating the choux au craquelin
When the cream has cooled down a bit and has thickened, you can fill the choux. Do this by putting the cream into a piping bag (or sturdy plastic bag) and using a piping tip with serrated edges. This way you can poke a hole at the bottom of the puffs. You will see that the choux will bloat up a bit, which means they are fully filled up. If the cream runs out, that’s okay, remove the excess and put them upside down on a plate. Let the cream get firm in the refrigerator.
You can leave them as is or you can add a bit of pastry cream on top with some crumbles of pistachio.
You can keep the choux au craquelin up to a few days in the refrigerator, when frozen they will stay good for a few months.
This post contains affiliate links