Chocolate craquelin-topped choux puffs with chocolate Chantilly cream

Makes approx. 20 (Start 1 day before serving) Cakes, Bread and Pastries



For the choux buns

  • 110g plain flour
  • 65g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs, beaten

For the craquelin

  • 80g butter, softened
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 11/2tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 100g plain flour

For the chocolate

  • Chantilly 150-175g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 175ml double cream

To serve

  • 125ml double cream
  • edible gold star confetti


The day before, make the chocolate Chantilly. Put the chocolate, mascarpone and cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. After 5 minutes, remove the bowl, leave for a few minutes and stir until smooth. Leave the mixture to cool, then put in the fridge to set ready for the next day.

The next day, make the craquelin topping. Put the soft butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together until smooth. Sift the cocoa and flour into a bowl, then gradually add to the creamed mixture until you have a smooth dough – it’s a good idea to use your hands as the dough begins to stiffen. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper to make a 26cm circle, then transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.

Remove from the freezer and take off the top layer of paper. Using a 4cm plain round cookie cutter, stamp out circles – you won’t know exactly how many you’ll need until you see how many choux buns you get, so stamp out as many circles as you can. Put them in the fridge while you make the choux buns.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C F/Gas 6. Remove the Chantilly from the fridge to soften a little.

To make the choux buns, sift the flour and a pinch of salt on to a sheet of baking paper. Put the butter cubes and 200ml cold water in a pan and set over a high heat for a few minutes. As soon as the butter melts, take it off the heat, let the bubbles subside, then rain in the flour all in one go and quickly beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is totally smooth.

Leave for 5 minutes, then beat in about a quarter of the beaten egg. Make sure the mixture is thick and smooth before repeating the process with most or all of the remaining egg. You may not need it all if it’s getting too loose – the mixture must be stiff enough to hold its shape without collapsing.

Using a piping bag with a 2cm plain nozzle, pipe out even-sized balls of mixture on to 1 or 2 unlined baking sheets. Gently lay a craquelin dough circle on top of each bun and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and the buns lift off the tray easily, using a spatula to carefully remove if necessary. Put on a wire rack to cool completely.

Whip the cream for serving and cut the craquelin tops off the puffs. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1.75cm star nozzle with the chocolate Chantilly. Pipe a generous amount on to the bases, then spoon a little whipped cream into the craquelin top and sandwich them together. Arrange on a serving dish and scatter with the gold star confetti.

This recipe featured on the front cover of the Christmas 2022 issue of Food and Travel. To subscribe, click here.

Recipes and food styling by Linda Tubby. Photography and prop styling by Angela Dukes.
Recipes and food styling by Linda Tubby. Photography and prop styling by Angela Dukes.


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