This Apple Pie Choux au craquelin (crispy cream puff) is the perfect combination of American Apple pie and French Choux pastry, a showstopper dessert that will be the start this Fall! I love how the crispy Choux au craquelin bonds with the creamy homemade Apple pie filling while the whipped mascarpone on top balancing the flavours. Its delicate texture and delicious flavour will certainly impress everyone, try it!
Choux au craquelin is effectively a fancy Cream puff and this Apple pie edition can be the perfect dessert for the Fall or even Thanksgiving. Making this Apple Pie Choux au craquelin is surprisingly not that difficult but you have to follow certain steps in order to succeed – my recipe will take you through on everything you need to know step by step! Let´s get started!
Why this is the best Apple Pie Choux au craquelin recipe?
This particular Apple Pie Choux au craquelin is a super delicate and delicious choux pastry, really a must try over the Fall! The choux buns are filled with a shockingly easy yet delicious homemade Apple pie filling and light whipped mascarpone is added on top that gives further creaminess and balancing the flavours. Creamy inside, crunchy outside, perfectly dreamy!
My choux au craquelin recipe will give you tons of baking tips about how to achieve
1. evenly baked choux buns with even craquelin distribution and with no major cracks on the surface
2. creamy but well baked inside on the choux buns, not soggy
3. the perfect puffed up shape that do not deflate
4. huge airpocket to fill
Combining Choux pastry with homemade Apple pie filling will provide a flavour and texture combination that you will never forget!
Is this Apple Pie Choux au craquelin recipe hard to make?
Making the Choux au craquelin is actually not that hard, neither too complex or time consuming. I have a Choux au craquelin tutorial in here that cover all the necessary information you probably haven´t read anywhere else so your choux pastry will turn out exactly like mine! I even have a Troubleshooting in that choux recipe so make sure you read it before you jump onto making the Apple Pie version of it.
Fun fact! Making Choux au craquelin is actually easier than making Cream puff! Why? Because the craquelin on top encourages a more even puffing up in the oven therefore less chances for cracked, uneven surface on the choux pastry.
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking. Making this Apple Pie Choux au craquelin is quite a technical baking skill, so you will most probably need my tips
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using vegan milk or gluten-free flour etc. will all have an impact on your baking, particularly when it comes to something like choux pastry
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes, however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries like this
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking Apple Pie Choux au craquelin
Important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of this Apple PIe Choux au craquelin recipe
For the Choux buns (crispy cream puff)
- Milk: Whole milk is the best, definitely avoid using milk substitutes for this recipe unless you are aware of how to reformulate the recipe
- Sugar: This choux dough is made using simple granulated sugar. While heating the mixture up make sure sugar fully dissolves. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Water: Milk-water ratio in this recipe is 50-50%. If you are more experienced, feel free to play around with different ratios
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Salt balances the flavour and enhances other ingredients, in choux pastry recipe it also contributes to the right texture
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be on room temperature, this is an exception. Since butter will be heated with other ingredients over the stove, it is fine to use it straight out of the fridge
- Flour: Make sure to use high protein content bread flour to achieve that lovely huge air pocket. I am using a 12% protein content flour, and get very poor results with low protein pastry flours. It might not be called bread flour in your country, please search for the protein content on the bag and purchase the one that is recommended to make bread, pizza etc. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Room temperature as always. I will have special notes on the quantity of the egg at later stage of this recipe
As you can see, making choux pastry is super simple in terms of the ingredients, nothing fancy. The secret is behind the technique so make sure you continue reading my tips.
For the Homemade Apple pie filling
- Apple: Almost any apple can work to make the filling of this Apple Pie Choux au craquelin recipe. Peel apples and cut into small identical pieces so they cook well
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice and its acidity is balancing the flavours in the Applie pie filling, you will need freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
- Sugar: Use either granulated and brown sugar. Brown sugar gives more molasses flavour, while the benefit of the granulated sugar is that it keeps the filling light in colour. Feel free to use your preference
- Spice: You are absolutely free to use your favourite spices eg. cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla bean, pumpkin spice (recipe in here). I decided to go with cinnamon this time but feel free to experiment
For the Whipped mascarpone frosting
- Mascarpone: Very rich Italian cream cheese, exceptionally smooth and easily to spread or whip. The flavor is milky and slightly sweet
- Heavy cream: Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40% , the one I am using is 36%. Use it very cold and do not substitute with vegetable based “whipping cream”. While whipping cream you have to start on low speed then gradually increase. Very easy to over whip so stop beating when frosting reaches a pipeable consistency
- Icing sugar: Icing sugar is the first choice when it comes to whipping up frosting. Question I often get is whether the quantity is a typo. NO, it´s not! You do not actually need a lot of sugar when making cupcake frosting! It stays beautifully fluffy without tons on sugar, the secret is the technique of whipping, not the amount of sugar
8 Baking tips regarding the TECHNIQUE of making this Apple Pie Choux au craquelin recipe
I have a very detailed tutorial - consider it a choux pastry crash course - about Choux au craquelin itself in here. It contains tons of useful information about the choux dough, how to pipe it, how to bake it, what equipment is needed etc., I even have a Troubleshooting guide in case something goes wrong. Please make sure you read that recipe in here before jumping onto this Apple Pie Choux au craquelin recipe.
1. How to make Choux buns
Making any choux pastry whether it is eclair, cream puff, profiterole, or choux au craquelin starts with a cooking process.
Choux dough is a cooked dough which means the butter, milk, water mixture the so called first needs to be heated until simmering, then you will add the flour and cook the dough (the so called panade) for a few minutes (2-3minutes) over medium heat mixing constantly. Make sure, you sift flour before adding to the mixture as you want do avoid lumps. The cooking process of the panade is ready when some moist evaporates from the dough and by then there should be a thin skin formed on the bottom up the saucepan.
Mixing the egg in will need somewhat your judgement. Only add a small amount of egg at a time, consistently whisking after each addition (I am using the paddle attachment on my stand mixer). First, the mixture might separate but keep your mixer on, and the dough will come together and should reach a glossy, pipeable consistency. I like to do the “V test”: the dough is ready when it slowly falls down from the paddle attachment in a V shape. Slowly is key here, it should not be too runny.
Please note, that depending on the flour you use and the how much you “dried” the mixture at the cooking stage, you might need to use slightly more or less egg than stated in the recipe. Very important that you can not add more flour to the mixture at this late stage, so pour egg into the mixture slowly checking its consistency regularly, and if you accidentally added more egg and the dough is too runny, start again.
2. How to pipe cream puff
As mentioned above, while mixing the egg in you have to take into consideration to mix in as much egg to get a shiny, pipeable consistency. The mixture should not be too firm, neither too runny.
Move the dough into a piping bag fitted with round nozzle tip. For an even, burst free baking it is important to get rid of any air bubbles before piping. You can achieve this by pressing the air pockets out of the piping bag with your hands before piping.
Now at this point you can leave the dough in the fridge for 1-2h – this helps to achieve even baking and quite useful eg. when making eclairs, however in case of this choux au craquelin recipe, it is also fine if you start piping immediately. Make a decision according to how much time you have.
The recipe makes 20 cream puffs. Ideally pipe the choux buns onto Perforated “air” baking mat that provides even baking due to air circulation through the mat. Try to pipe evenly while holding the piping bag vertically. Alternatively pipe the choux buns onto parchment paper using a large tray. I don´t recommend to use silicone baking mat for making choux pastry as my experience is that the the choux buns somewhat get wet from the bottom during baking. I suggest ideally Perforated “air” baking mat or parchment paper.
You might find that after piping there are small peaks on top of the choux buns, feel free to gently press them down with your wet finger tip.
3. How to make the craquelin disk
The craquelin recipes consist only 3 ingredients (butter, sugar, flour), however it might take some practice to learn how to utilize the temperature for our benefit. If the butter flour sugar mixture is too soft, it will be sticky and it won´t be possible to roll out. In the meantime, if the mixture is too cold, again, it won´t be possible to roll it out because it will break. Like always, you have to be patient and find THE right temperature for rolling the dough. If too soft, place it into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes then try again. Make sure you do not add more flour into the mixture, the recipe is correct as it is, the temperature that has to be corrected if the dough seems difficult to handle.
For rolling the craquelin dough I suggest 2 Silicone baking mat. You can try to do it in between 2 sheets of parchment paper however it won´t be as neat. The best solution is to gently roll the craquelin in between 2 Silicone baking mat, then place the rolled out sheet into the freezer for minimum an hour. Leave the Silicone baking mat on it for now, it it will be removed when the craquelin is properly frozen. At any point if the dough gets too sticky, place it into the freezer for a minute or two then continue rolling until reaches 2 mm of thickness.
Again, temperature will be very important at later stage. The craquelin sheet needs to get properly frozen and firm to be able to handle. Grab a cookie cutter (slightly larger in diameter than the choux buns you piped) then cut circles out of the craquelin dough and place them on top of the choux buns. If at any point the craquelin dough soften, place the sheet back to the freezer for a few minutes then continue. Try to work as quick as possible as you also don´t want the craquelin disks to melt on top of the choux buns.
Please note, that the size of the cookie cutter circle will determine how the cream puff is covered with the craquelin. The choux will puff in the oven hence a larger diameter craquelin disk is needed to be able to fully cover the cream puffs when baked, see picture below.
4. How to bake the Choux au craquelin
Before baking, it is a must to freeze the buns with the craquelin disks on top of them – this will support even rise without cracks.
Some suggest to start with high baking temperature then decrease for the second half of the baking time. I find even baking temperature works better, supports more even baking. Having said that, I suggest to pre-heat the oven to a higher temperature then decrease it later, please see instructions in the recipe. Feel free to experiment with your own oven!
It is very important that you use a Digital oven thermometer that states the correct oven temperature. I personally do not bake without my oven thermometer on, and if your oven over or under run 10C / 50F (that is very common), then it will be impossible to follow this recipe and get the same result.
Do not open the oven door in the first 30 minutes under any circumstances as the choux buns might collapse.
I bake the choux buns for 40 minutes, but you need to test and try your own oven. It is a good idea to take one out at 40 min, wait for a minute to see whether they collapse, if not, very likely that they are well baked. Overall, I suggest to start with my baking suggestions however each oven is different, you have to find what works best for you.
Once choyx buns are well baked, let them cool on the Perforated “air” baking mat before turning them wonderful Apple Pie Choux au craquelin.
5. How to make the Whipped mascarpone frosting to decorate the Apple Pie Choux au craquelins
Whipped mascarpone frosting is super simple, it consist of heavy cream, mascarpone and a small amount of icing sugar whipped until fluffy, pipeable consistency. It is creamy, milky, a super stable frosting and way more delicious and less sweet than butter cream!
Using the right ingredients on the right temperature is extremely important while making whipped cream cupcake frosting.
1. for the mascarpone, use the full fat version (41%+) 2. heave creamy needs to be very cold (pop it into the freezer for a few minutes before using it) and again, full fat version so anywhere between 36-40% 3. icing sugar has to be sifted to avoid lumps 4. do not over whip the mixture
Basically you will have to whip the mixture with an electric hand mixer for a minute or two until it reaches a creamy, fluffy consistency then stop. It won´t get more stiff after this point, in fact if you over beat it, it will get only runnier then it will break. I don´t use my standmixer to whip this frosting since it is really easy to over whip it.
Once you are happy with the consistency of your frosting, move frosting into a piping bag fitted with your favourite nozzle tip, the one I am using is Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip to decorate these lovely Apple Pie Choux au craquelin desserts.
6. How to make Homemade Apple pie filling
Making Apple pie filling could not be easier, it literally comes together in less than 10 minutes!
Some recipes suggests a particular type of apple, honestly I don´t think it is so important, use any apples you can access. The more fresh the better so if you are making this recipe while apples in seasons and freshly picked, that is the best.
Peel and cut apples into small pieces so they cook evenly. Measure the apple after cut and cleaned. In a saucepan mix apple with sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice and your chosen spice(s) and cook the mixture over medium heat until for about 5 minutes until apple pieces slightly cooked and some water evaporates from the mixture. Do over cook the mixture, make sure you adjust cooking time to the apples you are using as some needs more time, some less. Cool the Apple pie filling to room temperature before filling the choux buns.
7. How to assemble the Choux au craquelin with the Apple pie filling and Whipped mascarpone frosting
I recommend to make the choux buns first then while they are in the oven, prepare the Apple Pie filling. Once choux buns and also the Apple Pie filling is on room temp, prepare the whipped mascarpone frosting as per instructions.
- Cut the top of each choux bun
- Fill choux buns with the Apple Pie filling
- Prepare the whipped mascarpone frosting as per instructions and pipe on top of each choux bun, I am using Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip
- Decorate the cupcakes with some further Apple pie filling in the middle of the frosting
Voila, your Apple Pie Choux au craquelins are ready, they will certainly impress all your family and friends! They must be filled straight before serving as the filling quickly soften the choux buns. Enjoy!
8. What equipment is needed to make this Apple Pie Choux au craquelin recipe
Perforated baking “air” mat for even baking
I have been using Perforated “air” baking mat for more than a year now from a brand called Silikomart and loving it, I use it all the time for baking tarts, choux, even for cookies. Thanks to the holes in the mat, the heat spreads evenly throughout mats’ surface guaranteeing a perfect and even baking on the cream puffs. Use the Perforated “air” baking mat on top of the oven rack so that the air can circulate properly. If you do not own this wonderful baking equipment it´s worth to consider investing into it or alternatively lining a baking tray with parchment can work too, it is just neater and less risky with Perforated “air” baking mat.
Silicone baking mat for rolling the dough out
I recommend using 2 Silicone baking mat for rolling the craquelin dough for the Apple Pie Choux au craquelin. It’s also possible to use parchment paper, however the silicone mat provides a much neater, smooth surface. It can be washed and then used all the time so overall a really good investment. I am using the “Amazon basics” cheapest version , no need to buy anything expensive then you can use it all the time in the future for rolling “sticky” things like pie dough, tart dough, I even use it to roll the dough for babka.
Some more choux recipe ideas for you to try
Eclair - This is the only eclair recipe you will ever need! A foolproof eclair recipe that finally works! Have you ever experienced making flat or soggy eclairs? Or having huge cracks all over the surface? You might have tried all the recipes that claim the ‘perfect eclair’, and still ended up with flat, sad looking ones? Never again! Recipe in here
Paris-Brest - Paris-Brest, a delicate ring shape Choux pastry with Hazelnut Praline Crème Mousseline filling, is definitely the Queen of French pastries! Crispy Pâte à Choux bonds together with silky, nutty Creme Mousseline filling in my Classic French recipe! Extra praline paste and roasted hazelnuts in the filling brings additional crunchiness making this Paris-Brest one of the most impressive desserts of all! Recipe in here
Crème Brûlée Choux au craquelin – This choux pastry is filled with silky vanilla pastry cream (Crème Pâtissière) and topped with a crunchy caramelised sugar layer just like traditional Crème Brûlée! It´s delicate texture and delicious flavour will certainly impress everyone. Recipe in here
Pumpkin & Caramelized white chocolate Choux au craquelin – This is the ultimate Fall edition Choux au Craquelin recipe! The perfect cream puff (choux pastry) topped with a crispy craquelin layer and filled with silky pumpkin ganache and caramelized white chocolate ganache. Recipe in here
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Apple Pie Choux au craquelin
For the choux bun
Apple Pie filling
- 600 g Apple measure after cleaned and cut into small pieces
- 150 g Granulated sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon Spice eg. cinnamon, ginger, etc.
- 240 g Heavy Cream 36% fat, use it very cold
- 300 g Mascarpone full fat
- 60 g Icing sugar
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Creaming butter and sugar together then add the flour. If the mixture is too soft place it into the freezer for few minutes for the butter to harden a bit.
- When the craquelin dough harden a bit, roll it out between two Perforated "air" baking mat into 2 mm thick then place the rolled out sheet into the freezer with Perforated "air" baking mat on it for minimum an hour. If at any point, during rolling the dough, it gets too sticky, place it into the freezer for a minute or two then continue rolling until reaches 2mm of thickness.
- Continue with the choux pastry by sifting flour then measure and set aside
- Place butter, water, milk, salt and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat
- As soon as the mixture starts to boil remove from heat, add the flour in one go and whisk vigorously with a Rubber spatula until it forms one smooth ball and flour bits are not visible
- Place the saucepan back to the stove and cook the dough for about 3 min over medium heat mixing constantly. It is ready when a sort of skin forms on the bottom up the saucepan
- Transfer the dough into a bowl and let it cool down slightly before mixing the egg in. Only add a small amount of egg at a time, consistently whisking after each addition. You should reach a consistency which is not too runny, not too firm but just fine to pipe. Pls see tips above
- Pipe 20 equal sized buns on the baking mat leaving enough space in between them, as they will puff, then place the tray into the freezer for 10 min at least
- Pre-heat oven to 200 C / 392 F
- Take the craquelin sheet out from the freezer and with the help of a cookie cutter cut out 20 circles, slightly larger in diameter than the choux buns you just piped
- Take the choux buns out of the freezer and place one craquelin disk on each of them. The craquelin disk should be frozen and very firm at this point, which makes the process of cutting as well as placing them on top of the choux bun easy
- Pop the tray with the choux buns back to the freezer for 15 min
- Lower oven temperature to 170 C / 338 F and bake the choux for 40 min. Do not open the oven door in the first 30 min. If you are baking it the first time it is a good idea to take one choux bun out of the oven at 40 min and check its consistency. If it is golden in colour, nicely puffed up, does not deflate on room temperature and the middle of the ball is not raw (it is ok if it's a bit wet, it will dry while cooling down) then it is considered to be done
- Cool either on the perforated air mat or if baked on parchment papaer, then cool them on cooling rack
Apple Pie filling
- Peel and cut apples into small pieces, then measure
- In a saucepan mix apple with sugar, lemon juice and your chosen spice, then cook for about 5 minutes. Let is come to room temp before using it
- Whip mascarpone, very cold heavy cream and icing sugar with an Electric hand mixer. until smooth and fluffy, about one or two minutes. Once it has reached the right consistency, do not over beat as it can become runny
- Cut the top of each choux bun
- Fill choux buns with the Apple Pie filling
- Prepare the whipped mascarpone frosting as per instructions and pipe on top of each choux bun, I am using Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip
- Decorate the choux buns with some further Apple pie filling in the middle of the frosting
- They can be stored in the fridge for a day however choux buns are best served straight after filling