Hi hi! I am popping on here to share a super fun recipe that I am really excited about - Golden Sugar Choux au Craquelin, aka Cream Puffs with a Salted Caramel Diplomat Cream! Cream puffs really are one of my favourite things to make. There’s something just so fascinating about putting little blobs of dough into the oven and seeing them come out as light, airy, crunchy balls of deliciousness, ready to be filled with anything that you like!
The real magic comes from the craquelin layer on the top of these wee dudes. Basically it is a simple cookie dough, that you roll out super thin, then freeze, cut into discs, and place onto the tops of the piped out choux dough. As the choux buns bake, the craquelin drapes over the bun, helping it to rise in a perfect circle (which is why they are always nice and round compared to their knobbly cream puff friends), and baking up into a crispy, crackly layer that is so hard to resist, and is the perfect textural element to go along with the crisp choux pastry and the silky filling - in this particular case, a salted caramel diplomat cream, which is essentially a pastry cream which has been lightened with whipped cream. To make a salted caramel pastry cream, you make a very liquidy caramel, and then use that in the place of the milk in a pastry cream. It’s an extra wee step, but oh my is it worth it - the pastry cream itself is out of this world, but is elevated even more when it is folded through mounds of whipped cream, to create the most perfect salted caramel cream puff filling you could ever imagine.
These wee choux au craquelin have a very special ingredient in them - the brand spanking new Domino® Golden Sugar! Golden sugar is essentially a less processed version of the sugar that we know and love. It is made from pure cane sugar, and because it is less processed, it has the most beautiful golden colour, and slight hint of molasses flavour. It can be used as a cup for cup sub in all baking applications where white sugar can be used - I used it in all of the elements of these choux au craquelin!
The Domino® Golden Sugar made the most beautiful toasty salted caramel which was the base of the salted caramel pastry cream, and I used it in the craquelin where I would usually use brown sugar, and was so amazed at the results - the delicious flavour from the sugar really shone through in the crackly tops, and the light golden colour was such a nice contrast against the golden brown choux buns, which baked up perfectly with the golden sugar added into the choux dough. I can’t wait to use it in more ways in my kitchen!
A few wee tips:
The process of making the salted caramel pastry cream is pretty similar to a regular pastry cream, except that the caramel acts as the ‘milk’ in the pastry cream - so instead of pouring warm milk into the yolk mix to make the pastry cream and temper the eggs, the caramel is used instead.
Use a bigger pot than you think you need for the caramel, as the quantity of cream and milk needed to deglaze the caramel is quite a lot, so you need the space - I learnt this the hard way!
In the ingredients, I have added in a ‘just in case’ egg. Sometimes when you are making choux dough you will need to add an extra egg to the mixture in order to get it to the right consistency - you want it to form a ‘v’ that eventually breaks off when you lift the paddle from the mixture. If it is not wet enough (ie you need to add more egg), you won’t get that nice v shape and the dough will be stiff and break off easily. I usually start with the 240g called for in the recipe, test it, then add the extra beaten egg if needed.
I just got a new oven, so I was able to bake both of these trays of choux buns at the same time - I switched the trays around half way through the first 15 minutes at 400°f, and again during the final bake at 350°f. If your oven isn’t super consistent, you can absolutely bake these off one at a time - what you want to do is to pipe out both trays of choux dough, but only top the one you are going to bake with craquelin. The ones without craquelin can be held at room temp until you are ready to bake - just add the craquelin just before you pop them into the oven. Don’t forget to increase the temperature back to 400°f before you bake the second tray.
If you can, leave the filling of the cream puffs until close to when you are planning on serving them. I like to prepare the diplomat cream, place a clip just above the piping tip of the piping bag, and then add the cream into the bag. I then give the top a quick twist, and secure with another clip - this way the cream is in the bag, ready to go, making the assembly step easy. However if you are in a pinch and need to prepare these earlier, store them in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
Golden Sugar Choux au Craquelin - Cream Puffs with Salted Caramel Diplomat Cream
- Makes 24-28 cream puffs -
Salted Caramel Pastry Cream
450g whole milk
300g heavy cream
315g Domino® Golden Sugar
2 tsp salt
90g Domino® Golden Sugar
75g egg yolks (about 4 yolks)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Golden Sugar Craquelin
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120g all-purpose flour
120g Domino® Golden Sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
125g whole milk
110g unsalted butter, cubed
5g Kosher Salt
5g vanilla bean paste
165g All-purpose flour
240g eggs, lightly beaten, plus more if required (see tips)
Salted Caramel Diplomat Cream
675g salted caramel pastry cream
375g heavy whipping cream
Powdered sugar to dust (optional)
- PROCESS -
SALTED CARAMEL PASTRY CREAM
Place the whole milk and cream in a small saucepan, and place over low heat. You do not want to boil the mixture - you just want to warm it so that when it hits the hot caramel, it does not seize.
Place the first measure of Domino® Golden Sugar into a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, and place over medium to low heat. Heat, stirring constantly. The sugar will start to form clumps, then begin to melt. Cook until is it amber in colour, then remove from the heat and add the warmed milk and cream mixture, whisking briskly to help it incorporate (it will take a lot of whisking to emulsify in). Set aside briefly while you prepare the egg mixture to make the pastry cream.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, the second measure of Domino® Golden Sugar and the corn starch, then add the egg, egg yolks and vanilla, and mix well to combine.
Whisking constantly, add half of the caramel mixture into the egg and cornflour mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the caramel-yolk mixture back to the pot, and return to a medium heat. Whisk constantly until very thick.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, mixing well until totally combined. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Strain into an airtight container and refrigerate until completely chilled.
Place all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium until combined. Turn out the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper, and top with a second piece. Roll out to 1-2mm in thickness. Place the dough, still between the parchment sheets, in the freezer for an hour, or until ready to use (Can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer).
CHOUX AU CRAQUELIN
Preheat the oven to 400°f / 200°c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter, trace 1 3/4” circles on each baking sheet using a pen or a pencil, leaving some room for spreading (about 2” between each), then flip over the baking sheet so that the side with the drawing is facing downward.
Fit a large piping bag with a large round piping tip such as an ateco #805.
In a medium pot, combine the milk, water, butter, salt, vanilla bean paste, and Domino® Golden Sugar. Place over medium heat, and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture has begun to boil. Remove from the heat, and add the flour all at once, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture will form a thick paste.
Return to the heat, and, stirring constantly, cook the mixture for 2 minutes to help dry it out. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute to help cool down the mixture.
With the mixture running on low, slowly stream in the 240g egg. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the egg is fully incorporated. Test the consistency of the batter by dipping in the beater and pulling up. If it forms a v which eventually breaks off, you are good to go. If it seems too stiff, slowly add another beaten egg and mix to incorporate.
Transfer the choux dough to the prepared piping bag. Use a little of the choux to stick down the parchment paper at the corners. Using your traced circle as a guide, pipe mounds onto the baking sheet, ending each with a little flick of your wrist. Repeat with the second tray - you should end up with about 24 mounds.
Remove the craquelin from the freezer, and peel off the top piece of parchment. Using the same sized cutter you used to trace the circles on the parchment paper, cut out circles of dough. Place each carefully on top of a mound of choux, pressing lightly to adhere. If you are baking one tray of these at a time, ensure that you only put the craquelin on one tray’s worth at a time - put the craquelin on the second tray just before you bake them.
Bake the cream puffs for 15 min at 400˚f / 200˚c, then turn down the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c, and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the puffs are deeply golden. Remove from the oven and poke a small vent in the side of each using a paring knife or chopstick, to help the steam escape. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. If baking in two batches, return the oven to 400°f / 200°c, and repeat the baking process with the remaining buns.
SALTED CARAMEL DIPLOMAT CREAM
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Briefly mix up the caramel pastry cream to loosen, and then carefully fold the pastry cream through the whipped cream, until combined. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a bismarck tip or a round piping tip.
Using a chopstick, carefully poke a hole in the bottom of each cream puff. Working with one at a time, insert the end of the piping tip into the cream puff, and pipe the diplomat cream in until you feel the cream puff fill and become heavy. It will take a few to get the hang of it - just wipe off any excess that may spill out from over filled puffs.
Lightly dust the cream puffs with powdered sugar.
Serve within a few hours of filling. Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.
Thank you so much to Domino Sugar for Sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.