These Classic French Choux au Craquelin, or Cream Puffs with Craquelin Topping, make the most delicious dessert bites for afternoon tea or parties. The sweet and crunchy Craquelin biscuit makes the perfect addition to your favourite Choux Buns recipe!
Place the very soft butter in a small bowl and mix it with a stiff spatula to make sure there are no large lumps.
Add the Brown Sugar and cream it with the butter until smooth.
Mix in the Flour until you get a smooth thick paste.
Place the craquelin dough between two sheets of baking paper. Gently flatten it with your hands then use a Rolling Pin to roll it into a thin layer about 2mm - 1?16 thick (see note 1).
Place in the freezer over a flat tray to chill for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour - or until completely hard.
Preheat your oven on 200 degrees Fahrenheit / 390 degrees Celsius
Place the Water, Butter and Sugar in a small pot and leave on medium low heat until the butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.
Away from the heat, drop in the Flour at once then mix it in using a stiff spatula until a rough dough comes together.
Place the pot back on low heat and stir the dough for 2 to 3 minutes to dehydrate it (see 2).
Transfer the dough into the bowl of your mixer and set aside to cool down for at least 15 minutes, or until it gets back to room temperature (see note 3)
Whisk the Eggs in a separate bowl. Add the eggs to the dough a little bit at the time, mixing well until smooth between each addition. When almost all of the eggs have been added, stop to check the consistency of the dough before adding more (see note 4).
Transfer the Choux Pastry into a Piping Bag fitted with a large round Piping tip.
Pipe small balls of pastry (see note 5) over a greased flat baking tray (or a tray lined with baking paper), leaving room between each choux as they will puff.
Assembling the Craquelin Choux
Take the Craquelin out of the freezer and remove the top layer of baking paper. With a round cookie cutter, about the size of the piped choux, cut out small disks of dough.
Using a small offset spatula, lift up the craquelin disks and place them over each Choux buns.
Drop the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the choux in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, open the oven door for 1 second and close it back straight away. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until puffed, golden and dry to the touch.
Place over a cooling rack to cool down completely before removing from the tray and filling with your choice of cream.
Eggs: Depending in the size of your eggs, you might need a little bit more or less Eggs. Add the last whisked egg a little bit at the time until you get the desired consistency (see note 4).
Make sure the craquelin is rolled too thinly or it will be hard to transfer over the Choux. If too thick, it might weight down on the choux and not allow them to rise properly.
A good way to dry the dough out is to press and rub the dough against the sides of the hot pot with the spatula.
If the dough is too hot, it will cook the eggs so it is important to let it come back to room temperature. To speed up the process, you can mix the dough with the paddle/leaf attachment of your mixer.
It is important to slowly add the eggs to make sure you do not add more than needed (depending on the size of your eggs). To know you have reached the right consistency, poke a finger into the dough and lift it (a little bit of dough should stick to the finger). Turn the finger upside down so that the dough is standing up, then look if the dough is falling back down, creating an inverted 'C' shape. If the dough stands up without falling back at all, you need to add more eggs. If it is too liquid and completely collapse (as opposed to creating a nice 'beak'), you have unfortunately added too much eggs and the batter cannot be saved.