One of the aspects I love about French pastry is that by mastering the basic techniques it is possible to create something very neat and elegant.

In this choux the cream is distributed evenly within a perfectly round ball. Every bite will have some of the crunchy craquelin surface. The dark chocolate fondant makes a beautiful shiny finish.

Doesn´t that look appetizing?! Let´s start…

The basis of this recipe is the choux pastry, one of the fundamental batters in pastry. Reading some articles about choux pastry some of the most challenging aspects seem to be to get the consistency of the batter right. In the following there will be some tips to master this.

Craquelin is a dough with equal parts of brown sugar, butter and flour. It is rolled out very thinly and cut into disks that are placed on top of the piped choux pastry. Not only gives it an additional crunchy texture to the choux, it also makes the choux bake into a perfectly round ball.

The filling is whipped cream that is sweetened with white chocolate. The chocolate gives the whipped cream a more complex flavour and a more elastic texture.

Liquid fondant is easily accessible, however I like to keep my stocked ingredients to a minimum, have basic ingredients and tools around that allow me to produce only what I need at that moment.


Servings 20 cream puffs
Prep time 40 minutes
Passive time 4 hours
Tools Piping bag, Piping tip Ø10mm, Cookie cutter Ø3cm

Ingredients

Choux pastry
100 g milk
100 g water
100 g butter (chopped in small pieces)
100 g salt
100 g flour
100 g eggs (approx. 2 medium sized eggs)
Craquelin
100 g butter (at room temperature)
100 g brown sugar
100 g flour
Whipped cream with white chocolate
100 g whipped cream
100 g white chocolate
Chocolate fondant
50 g water
125 g sugar
5 g cocoa powder
Other
butter (for greasing the baking sheet)

Instructions

Craquelin
- Prepare 2 sheets of parchment paper at the size of 35*25cm.<br>
- Mix butter and sugar, add flour and mix until homogenous.<br>
- Roll out the batter very thinly and evenly between the two prepared sheets of parchment paper. <br>
- Freeze.
- Prepare 2 sheets of parchment paper at the size of 35*25cm.
- Mix butter and sugar, add flour and mix until homogenous.
- Roll out the batter very thinly and evenly between the two prepared sheets of parchment paper.
- Freeze.
Chocolate fondant
- Boil the sugar and the water to 118C. <br>
- Pour into the standmixer and mix with the paddle attachment until cristallized and thickened.<br>
- Mix the cocoa powder with some drops of water to form a smooth paste, add to the fondant.<br>
- Add the cocoa butter, combine well. <br>
- Roll out between two sheets of parchment paper very thinly. <br>
- Freeze.
- Boil the sugar and the water to 118C.
- Pour into the standmixer and mix with the paddle attachment until cristallized and thickened.
- Mix the cocoa powder with some drops of water to form a smooth paste, add to the fondant.
- Add the cocoa butter, combine well.
- Roll out between two sheets of parchment paper very thinly.
- Freeze.
Whipped cream with white chocolate
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces. <br>
- Bring approximately a third of the cream to a boil and add to chopped chocolate in three batches making a ganache.<br>
- Add the rest of the cream, blend with a hand mixer.<br>
- Keep in the fridge.<br>
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
- Bring approximately a third of the cream to a boil and add to chopped chocolate in three batches making a ganache.
- Add the rest of the cream, blend with a hand mixer.
- Keep in the fridge.
Choux pastry
- Preheat the oven to 180C.<br>
- Grease a baking sheet with the butter, remove access with kitchen paper. It is only a very thin film of butter needed.<br>
- Combine water, salt and butter in a medium sauce pan. <br>
- Whisk the eggs together in a bowl.<br>
- Measure the flour, keep on the side.<br>
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Grease a baking sheet with the butter, remove access with kitchen paper. It is only a very thin film of butter needed.
- Combine water, salt and butter in a medium sauce pan.
- Whisk the eggs together in a bowl.
- Measure the flour, keep on the side.
- Heat the sauce pan on medium heat to a simmer.
- Take the sauce pan off the heat and add the flour all at once.
- Stir to form one lump.
- Put it back on the stove, keep on stirring until a thin skin forms on the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the batter into a stand mixer.
- With the paddle attachment stir the batter slowly for like 15 seconds to lower its temerature a bit.
- Add a third of the eggs into the dough, stir until homogenous, then add the following batch.
- Pipe the batter into 3cm spheres.
Pipe the batter while it is still warm. Cooling down will change its consistency and make it more difficult to pipe.
Make sure to leave enough space between the piped choux. They will double in size during baking.
- Take the craquelin out of the freezer.
- Remove the top parchment paper by peeling it off carefully.
- Place the parchement paper you just removed back on and flip the the whole thing.
- Remove the second sheet of parchment paper carfully.
- Now you can cut out disks with a diameter of 3cm and easily lift them.
- Place one disk of craquelin on every piped choux.
- Bake for about 40 minutes.
Do not open the oven before 40 minutes of baking to avoid the choux from collapsing.
The exact baking time depends a lot on the oven and on the size of the piped choux.
There are two aspects to verify whether the choux are fully baked:
- Not only the surface of the choux should be golden brown, but also the cracks.
- The choux should not be soft to the touch anymore. If you gently press them and they are not firm yet, bake them longer.
- Transfer the choux to a cooling rack.
- If the choux stick to the baking sheet give them a gentle push with an offset spatula to release them.
Assembly
- Poke a hole into the bottom of each choux with any pointed long tool (f.e. a skewer). The diameter of the hole should be big enough to be able to fill the choux with the piping tip.<br>
- Turn the the skewer inside the choux to cut through the strings inside the choux for easier filling.<br>
- Whip up the whipped cream and fill the choux.
- Poke a hole into the bottom of each choux with any pointed long tool (f.e. a skewer). The diameter of the hole should be big enough to be able to fill the choux with the piping tip.
- Turn the the skewer inside the choux to cut through the strings inside the choux for easier filling.
- Whip up the whipped cream and fill the choux.
Ganache whips up faster than whipping cream, make sure not to overwhip it.
- Remove the fondant from the freezer.
- Release both sheets of parchment paper exactly llike you did with the craquelin.
- Cut out a disk of 3 cm and place one on every choux.
At room temperature the fondant will melt and adapt to the shape of the choux. At the same time this means you have to work quickly to place all fondant disks before they got soft.
Voilà!
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