These Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs or Vanilla Bean Choux au Craquelin are the perfect dessert. Crispy cream puffs are topped with a layer of craquelin and filled with a simple Vanilla Bean diplomat cream.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
- 110g granulated sugar
- 45g cornstarch
- 135g egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
- ½ tsp salt
- 550g whole milk
- 30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 350g heavy whipping cream, for making diplomat cream
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 120g all-purpose flour
- 120g dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
- 125g whole milk
- 125g water
- 110g unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
- 15g Sugar
- 165g All-purpose flour
- 240g eggs, lightly beaten, plus more if required (see recipe)
VANILLA BEAN PASTRY CREAM
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the egg yolks, Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste, and salt. Whisk well to combine.
- In a medium pot, warm the milk until there is movement just around the edges of the milk - do not bring it to a boil.
- Remove the milk from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add half of the milk mixture into the egg and cornstarch mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the milk-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 a container and transfer to an airtight container and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until totally cold. Can be made up to 2 days in advance - see 'assembly' for instructions on making diplomat cream.
- 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).
CHOUX AU CRAQUELIN
- Preheat the oven to 400°f / 200°c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter, trace 1 1/2” circles on each baking sheet using a pen or a pencil, leaving some room for spreading (about 2” (5cm) 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 (I used an ateco #805)
- In a medium pot, combine the milk, water, butter, salt, Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste, and 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. Perform the 'v' test again to check consistency.
- Transfer the choux pastry to the prepared piping bag. Using your traced circle as a guide, pipe mounds onto the baking sheet, ending each with a little flick of your wrist. If the choux has left a point, you can flatten down with a wet fingertip. Repeat with the second tray. If you need another tray to pipe your choux on, create another template using the parchment and a cookie cutter.
- 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 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 15-20 minutes, until 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 puffs.
- 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 chilled vanilla pastry cream to loosen, then weigh out 675g pastry cream. Carefully fold the measured 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.
I have included an extra 'just in case' egg in the ingredients. The reason that this is in there, is that sometimes you need to add extra egg to the pastry if necessary. You want the mixture to be at a consistency where if you dip in the beater of the mixer, the batter will form a 'v' shape and eventually break off. If it is too stiff, and breaks off very quickly, you may need to add another beaten egg, and mix again, before performing the test.
If you do not want to make the full amount of diplomat cream, the ratio is 2:1 pastry cream to whipped cream by weight, so you are welcome to scale accordingly. Store leftover pastry cream in the fridge and consume within a few days.
Keywords: Cream Puffs, Choux, Choux au Craquelin, Pastry Cream, Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream, Diplomat Cream