This Tiramisu Choux au craquelin (crispy cream puff) is the perfect combination of Italian Tiramisu and French Choux pastry, a showstopper dessert that will impress everyone! Crispy cream puff with creamy mascarpone filling, all dusted with cocoa powder. Its delicate texture and delicious flavor can be the star of any occasion!
5 Reasons you should make this recipe
This particular Tiramisu style Choux au craquelin is a super delicate and delicious choux pastry, really a must-try for tiramisu lovers!
1. You will learn how to make choux buns with even craquelin distribution and with no major cracks on the surface. It is actually a rather simple and quick recipe using a few simple ingredients like egg, milk, flour, etc.
2. The recipe will teach you how to bake the perfect choux pastry that has a huge air pocket to fill. You will be able to use this technique to make any other choux pastry eg. my eclair recipe or Paris-Brest recipe
3. We are filling the choux buns with an easy whipped mascarpone. It is literally 3 ingredients and very well balanced in sweetness. The creamy mascarpone filling with the crunchy choux buns is absolutely out of this world
4. Coffee flavored whipped mascarpone cream will bring the well knows tiramisu flavor to the dessert, you will love it!
5. Finally, cocoa powder is dusted on top. Choux pastry can´t really look any prettier, can it?
For the choux buns (crispy cream puff)
- Milk: Whole milk is the best choice to make Pâte à choux, definitely avoid using milk substitutes for this recipe unless you are aware of how to reformulate the recipe
- Sugar: 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 Tiramisu Choux au craquelin recipe is 50-50%. If you are more experienced, feel free to play around with different ratios
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most dessert recipes. Salt balances the flavor and enhances other ingredients, in the 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 at 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 on your Tiramisu Choux au craquelin. I am using a 11% 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 eg. bread (but not wholemeal). 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
Exact Ingredient quantities can be found in the RECIPE CARD at the bottom of this page.
For the craquelin disk
- Sugar: Many recipes use light brown sugar for the craquelin, however, I recommend cane sugar for the signature velvet texture. The second best option is light brown sugar, however, it won´t look exactly the same. Muscovado or Turbinado etc. can be all good to substitute however make sure you use a type of sugar that has medium crystals. 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
Exact Ingredient quantities can be found in the RECIPE CARD at the bottom of this page.
For the whipped mascarpone
- Mascarpone: Mascarpone is the heart of making anything tiramisu like this Tiramisu Choux au craquelin recipe. Very rich Italian cream cheese, exceptionally smooth and easy to spread or whip. The flavor is milky and slightly sweet
- Heavy cream: Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content of 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 and then gradually increase. Very easy to over whip so stop beating when frosting reaches a pipeable consistency
- Icing sugar: Icing sugar or powdered sugar is the first choice when it comes to whipping up the frosting. The 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 of sugar, the secret is the technique of whipping, not the amount of sugar
- Coffee: Tiramisu is a coffee-flavored dessert so part of the whipped mascarpone will get flavored with a very small amount of coffee
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Generally always use unsweetened, 100% cocoa powder in baking. I use dutch-process cocoa powder, it has a lovely dark color and it is lower in acidity, the perfect taste and color for tiramisu type of desserts
Exact Ingredient quantities can be found in the RECIPE CARD at the bottom of this page.
5 Expert tips regarding the technique
I have a very detailed tutorial - consider it a choux pastry crash course - about Choux au craquelin. 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 Tiramisu Choux au craquelin recipe.
1. How to prepare pate au choux
I have a very detailed tutorial about Choux pastry in my eclair recipe. 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, make sure you check it out.
Making any choux pastry whether it is Paris-Brest, eclair, or choux au craquelin starts with a cooking process. The choux dough is not the type of dough where you can add a bit of this, a bit of that at a later stage, the steps and their order in the recipe are strict therefore make sure you follow them.
The 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 to avoid lumps. The cooking process of the panade is ready when some moisture evaporates from the dough and by then there should be a thin skin formed on the bottom of the saucepan.
Mixing the egg in will need somewhat your judgment. Only add a small amount of egg at a time, consistently whisking after each addition (I am using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). 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 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 while adding the egg into the mixture check the dough consistency regularly, and if you accidentally add 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, nor too runny.
Move the dough into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle tip. For 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 using a silicone baking mat for making choux pastry as my experience is that the choux buns somewhat get wet from the bottom during baking.
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 fingertip.
3. How to make the craquelin disk
The craquelin recipes consist of only 3 ingredients (butter, sugar, flour), however, it might take some practice to learn how to utilize the temperature for our benefit. If the 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 a minimum of an hour. Leave the Silicone baking mat on it for now, 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, the temperature will be very important at a later stage. The craquelin sheet needs to get properly frozen and firm to be able to handle it. 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 softens, 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.
You can even flavor or color the crauquelin disk with either food coloring or colorful ingredients eg. matcha, freezed dried raspberry, cocoa powder, black sesame, etc. Make sure you take the amount of coloring into consideration that is either a dry or wet ingredient so if you use 5g matcha powder, reduce the flour by the same amount.
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 starting with a high baking temperature then decreasing 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 decreasing it later, please see the 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 is 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 at 170C / 338F (no fan), 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 starting with my baking suggestions however each oven is different, you have to find what works best for you. What we are looking for is a nicely puffed-up pastry that keeps its shape. I have tons of tips and even a Troubleshooting guide later in this tutorial.
5. How to make whipped mascarpone frosting
Whipped mascarpone frosting is super simple, it consists of heavy cream, mascarpone, and a small amount of icing sugar whipped until fluffy, pipeable consistency. It is creamy, milky, super stable frosting, and way more delicious and less sweet than buttercream!
Using the right ingredients at 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 stiffer after this point, in fact, if you overbeat it, it will get only runnier then it will break. I don´t use my stand mixer 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 favorite nozzle tip to decorate these lovely Tiramisu Choux au craquelin desserts.
6. How to assemble
I recommend making the choux buns first. Once choux buns are at room temp, prepare the whipped mascarpone frosting as per instructions.
- Flavour ¼ of the whipped mascarpone frosting with a very small amount (max one tablespoon) of strong espresso. Use the coffee cold as warm coffee can break the mascarpone frosting
- Cut the top of each choux bun
- Pipe a small amount of coffee frosting into the choux buns then pipe more whipped mascarpone frosting
- Dust with dark cocoa powder
Voila, your Tiramisu 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!
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 love 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 the 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 considering investing in it. Alternatively, lining a baking tray with a baking sheet 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 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 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 pastry recipes
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!
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!
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! Its delicate texture and delicious flavor will certainly impress everyone.
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.
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!
Some more tiramisu recipes
Authentic Italian tiramisu – This homemade tiramisu features airy ladyfingers from scratch that are layered in between light mascarpone cream. Rich espresso flavor and a touch of cocoa finish. Dolce vita! You absolutely have to make this recipe, no excuse! Recipe in here
Tiramisu cupcake - This tiramisu cupcake recipe is dream come true for coffee and tiramisu lovers! Coffee soaked melt in your mouth cupcakes with creamy mascarpone frosting on top dusted with cocoa powder! Cupcakes can´t really get any better than this! Recipe in here
Tiramisu cake roll - This is hands down the Best Tiramisu cake roll that you will ever make! My Tiramisu cake roll recipe consists of a super fluffy Japanese-style sponge cake, that is easy to roll without breaking it. The sponge is drizzled with rich espresso, then rolled up with an airy, light whipped mascarpone cream filling. Recipe in here
Matcha tiramisu – Are you a tiramisu lover and matcha fan at the same time? Appreciating Italian and Japanese cuisine at the same time I created this matchamisu recipe using my homemade tiramisu recipe with matcha, Japanese green tea instead of coffee and cocoa. If you like tiramisu, you have to try matchamisu, the green tea version of it! Recipe in here
Tiramisu Choux au craquelin
For the choux bun
- 240 g Heavy Cream 36% fat, use it very cold
- 300 g Mascarpone full fat
- 60 g Icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon Espresso chilled
- Cocoa powder unsweetened to dust
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.
- Cream 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 sets 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
- 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
- Mix ¼ of the frosting with cold strong coffee