This is the ultimate Fall edition Pumpkin 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.
Choux au craquelin is a type of cream puff that is topped with a thin cookie disc called craquelin. Similarly to every choux pastry, instead of a raising agent, it employs high moisture content to create steam during cooking to puff the pastry.
In comparison to regular choux pastry such as profiterole or cream puff, the craquelin adds an extra layer of sweet crunchy texture. Choux au craquelin is effectively the pro version of cream puff, make sure that you read my ultimate Choux au craquelin Guide that includes a Troubleshooting section too, in here.
What does success look like when making choux au craquelin
The result we are looking for is a ball shape pastry that is risen evenly (so no major cracks on the side), holds its shape after baking and has a lovely huge air pocket inside that can be filled with your favourite fillings.
The choux au craquelin recipe only using a few basic ingredients like sugar, water, butter, milk and flour however it is important to read and follow the instructions carefully in order to avoid typical mistakes such as
1. cracked, uneven baking
2. soggy inside
3. flat or deflated choux bun
4. no airpocket to fill… just to name a few.
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
- 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 milk instead of cream, using poor quality chocolate etc. will all have an impact on your baking
- 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
- 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 desserts
Some important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of the Pumpkin Choux au Craquelin
For the choux bun
- 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 full 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: Simple tap water is fine. 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, 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 13% protein content flour, and get very poor results with anything lower than that. It might not be called bread flour in your country, please sarch for the protein content on the bag instead. 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
For the craquelin disk
- Sugar: Many recipes using light brown sugar for craquelin however I recommend cane sugar for the signature velvet texture. Second best option is light brown sugar however it won´t look exactly the same. Please read my article in here if you are unfamiliar with what cane sugar is
- Flour: Simple AP flour is fine here
- Butter: Unsalted room temperature butter. It is important that the butter is soft enough to be able to cream but not runny
For the caramelized white chocolate whipped ganache
- Caramelized white chocolate: I am using Dulcey from Valrhona. You can also make your own caramelized white chocolate in the oven or microwave using high quality white chocolate. Caramelized white chocolate provides extra caramel notes, it is super delicious, one of my favourite chocolates to bake with. Alternatively the recipe can be made with simple white chocolate too
- Cream: Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40% . Avoid substitutes like vegetable based “whipping cream”
- Gelatin: It´s an odorless, tasteless and colorless thickening agent, very often used by pastry chefs particularly in mousse cakes. Powder or sheet versions are available, in my recipes I always use sheet (1,7 g / sheet), which I found easier to handle. Simple soak the gelatin sheet into cold water for a few minutes before you need them and use it according to the recipe. Please note that gelatin is derived from collagen taken from animal body parts therefore not suitable for vegetarians. Agar agar can be a good substitution for vegetarians however replacing gelatin with agar agar is not 1:1 and can only be done by reformulating the recipe slightly
For the Pumpkin ganache
- Caramelized white chocolate: Same as above, I am using Dulcey from Valrhona
- Cream: Same as above, use cream that has 36%+ fat content
- Pumpkin puree: Pumpkin ganache requires good quality, intense pumpkin puree! I like making my own pumpkin puree by roasting pumpkin and blend it – learn how to make home made pumpkin puree from scratch in here. One key thing to remember is that for any pumpkin dessert whether it is pie, cookie or ganache, you will need a thick pumpkin puree that is not too watery so the flavours are intense enough and the consistency is not too wet. After roasting and hand blend the pumpkins, you might need to cook the puree – if the mixture is too watery – until some water evaporates
Now let’s continue withmy top 7 tips of this Pumpkin Choux au Craquelin recipe
1. How to cook choux dough
- This is a cooked dough which means the butter milk water mixture first needs to be heated then you will add the flour and cook the dough 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 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. First the mixture might separate but keep whisking and the dough will come together and should reach a glossy, pipeable consistency. Please note that depending on the flour you use and the how much you “dried” the mixture earlier, you might need to use slightly more or less egg
- Very important that you can not add more flour to the mixture at this point. If you accidentally added more egg and the dough is too runny, start again from step 1
2. How to pipe choux dough
- 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
- 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
- Ideally pipe the choux buns onto Perforated "air" baking mat that provides even baking due to air circulation through the mat
- 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 craquelin
- The craquelin recipes consist only 3 ingredients 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, basically similar story, 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
- Rolling craquelin dough can get very difficult without Silicone baking mat. You might try to do it in between 2 sheets of parchment paper however it won´t be as neat. In between 2 Silicone baking mat is the best solution to roll the dough out then place the rolled out sheet into the freezer for minimum an hour. Leave the Silicone baking mat on it for now, it will be easier to remove when the dough is 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 is very important at later stage. The craquelin sheet needs to be properly frozen and firm before cutting the circles out and placing them on top of the choux buns
- The choux will puff in the oven hence a larger diameter craquelin disk is needed to be able to fully cover the balls when baked, see picture below
Please note that this particular craquelin is coloured to orange as we are making Pumpkin choux au craquelins! Use good quality gel food colouring.
4. How to bake choux au craquelin
- Before baking, it is a must to freeze the buns, 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
- 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 10-15C (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
5. What equipment is needed to make this Pumpkin 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. Thanks to the holes in the mat, the heat spreads evenly throughout mats’ surface guaranteeing a perfect and even baking. 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 line a baking tray with parchment can work too, it is just neater with Perforated “air” baking mat.
Silicone baking mat for rolling the dough out
Lastly, I recommend using 2 Silicone baking mat for rolling the dough out in between them. 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.
6. How to make whipped ganache
First of of why make whipped ganache? Ganache is chocolate-cream 1:1 ratio mixture however to reach a chocolate based but not too sweet yet pipeable cream I recommend learning this easy whipped ganache recipe.
Whipped ganache can be made in different ways, in this recipe I am using 1:4 ratio so 100 g caramelized white chocolate and 400 g heavy cream with 4 gelatin sheet. While taste is obviously very important, in case of chocolate the quality goes way beyond taste, good vs poor quality chocolate that can make or break any recipe. I recommend to chose a high quality brand with high cocoa content chocolate to avoid disappointment. I am using Valrhona Dulcey caramelized white chocolate that tastes amazing and works wonderfully silky while making ganache.
Regarding the cream, I am using heavy cream that has 36% fat content. Do not make ganache using low fat creams or vegetable creams.
How does the process look like to make whipped ganache
- Place finely chopped chocolate into a bowl
- Soak gelatin into cold water
- Heat 75 g cream until just simmering. If it’s boiling, the cream is too hot and could burn the chocolate. If the cream is not warm enough, it won´t melt the chocolate properly and won’t emulsify
- Mix gelatin into warm cream
- Pour warm cream over the chopped chocolate
- Let the two sit for a minute then stir together or use a blender to emulsify
- Once slightly cooled, pour the rest of the cream into the mixture and fold
- Cover the surface of the ganache with plastic wrap and refrigerate for min. 4 hours
- 4 hours later or the next day take the ganache and gently whip it in a standmixer or with the help of an electric hand mixer. It will reach a fluffy, pipeable consistency in a minute or two. Make sure, you do not over beat the mixture after this point
7. How to make pumpkin ganache filling
The process is basically making simple ganache, in this recipe I am using 2:1 ratio so 85 g pumpkin puree 15 g cream and 50 g caramelized white chocolate. The ganache will be creamy but not too thick, just what we need for this recipe. As always, use high quality chocolate brand with high cocoa content chocolate to avoid disappointment. I am using Valrhona Dulcey caramelized white chocolate, any good quality white chocolate can work too.
- Place finely chopped chocolate into a bowl
- Heat cream and pumpkin puree until just simmering
- Pour warm cream+pumpkin puree over the chopped chocolate
- Let them sit for a minute then stir together or use a blender to emulsify
- Chill in fridge, it will slightly thicken but since this not 1:1 ratio ganache, it won´t be super thick
7. How to assemble the choux buns
Assembling this Pumpkin choux au craquelin recipe could not be easier!
- Wait until choux buns cooled to room temperature
- Fill one piping bag with the whipped ganache and another one with the pumpkin ganache
- Cut the top of the choux bun off with a sharp knife
- Pipe whipped ganache into the choux bun
- Pipe pumpkin ganache into the whipped ganache
- Pipe some more whipped ganache on top of the choux bun, I am using Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip
- Flatten the top of the whipped ganache to make a "hole" with the help of a small measuring spoon
- Pipe some more pumpkin ganache into the "hole"
Tip.: Only fill choux buns straight before serving. The filling can wet the choux buns for the next day
Try some of my other Choux pastry recipes
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
Apple Pie Choux au craquelin - 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. Recipe in here
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
STAY UPDATEDSubscribe to my recipes, sweet tips & latest travel news.
Pumpkin Choux au craquelin
For the choux bun
For the craquelin
For the caramelized white chocolate whipped ganache
- 100 g Caramelized white chocolate eg. Valrhona Dulcey
- 400 g Heavy Cream fat content 36%
- 4 Gelatine sheet
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.
Start with making the Caramelized white chocolate whipped ganache
- Chop chocolate into small pieces and place them into a bowl
- Soak gelatin into cold water
- Heat 150g cream until simmering, mix gelatin sheet in and pour it over the chocolate
- Let the chocolate cream mixture set for a minute until chocolate gently melts then stir together or hand blend
- Once mixture slightly cools to room temp, stir in rest of the cream, cover the top of the ganache with plastic wrap and refrigerate for minimum 4 hours
- The mixture should slightly thicken after 4 hours and can be whipped into a pipeable consistency with an electric hand mixer or standmixer in a few minutes. Once it is reached a fluffy consistency, make sure you do not over whip the ganache as it can break
- Whipped ganache should be stored in the fridge before using it
Continue with making the craquelin
- Cream room temp butter and sugar together then add the flour. Add orange food colouring once mixture smooth. If the mixture is too soft or runny, place it into the freezer for a minute or two for the butter to harden a bit. If at any point the dough gets too sticky while handling it, place it into the freezer for a minute then continue according to the recipe
Making the Choux buns
- Continue with the choux buns by sifting flour then measure it and set aside
- Place butter, water, milk, salt and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat
- As soon as the mixture starts simmering 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 approx 3 min over medium heat mixing constantly. There should be a thin skin formed on the bottom up the saucepan by then
- Transfer the dough into a bowl and let it rest for a minute or two before mixing the egg in. Only add a small amount of egg at a time, consistently whisking after each addition. The exact quantity of the egg will need your judgement, you should reach a consistency which is not too runny, not too firm but just fine to pipe
- Pipe 9 equal sized buns on a Perforated "air" baking mat leaving enough space in between them as they will puff during baking
- Take the craquelin sheet out of the freezer and with the help of a cookie cutter cut out 8 circles, approx. 1 cm larger in diameter than the choux buns you just piped
- Place one craquelin disk on each of the choux buns. The craquelin disk should be frozen and very firm at this point, that makes the process of cutting as well as placing them on top of the choux buns easy
- Place the tray with the choux buns and craquelins on them into the freezer ideally for 2 hours or 30 minutes as a minimum
- Pre-heat oven to 200 C / 392 F
- Lower oven temperature to 170 C / 338 F and bake the choux au craquelin for 25-30 min. Do not open the oven door until baking time ends. If you are baking it the first time it is a good idea to take one choux bun out of the oven at 25 min and check its consistency. If it is 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" baking mat or if baked on parchment then cool them on cooling rack
- Chop chocolate into small pieces and place them into a bowl
- Heat cream and pumpkin puree in a saucepan over medium heat just until simmering
- Pour warm cream pumpkin mixture over chocolate, let it set for a minute until chocolate gently melts then stir together
- Let the ganache cool to room temperature before using it
- Cut the top off the buns when both creams and choux buns completely cooled down
- Pipe whipped ganache into the choux bun then pumpkin ganache into the whipped ganache
- Pipe some more whipped ganache on top of the bun and then make a small "hole" with a measuring spoon on top of the ganache, then pipe some more pumpkin ganache into the "hole"