The Crunchy Topping You Should Try For Tastier Cream Puffs

Cream puffs, also known as choux à la crème or profiteroles, are a beloved pastry that have been enjoyed for generations. At their core, they are simple and straightforward, consisting of a light, airy choux pastry shell filled with a sweet and creamy filling, like whipped cream or custard. However, with a few small tweaks, these classic treats can be elevated to a whole new level of deliciousness. And the key to doing so is Choux au Craquelin.

So, what is Choux au Craquelin? Simply put, it is a thin layer of sweet dough that is added to the top of the choux pastry before baking according to Spatula Desserts. Think of it like adding a thin cookie to the top of the puff that takes the texture to a new level. This layer of dough, made from butter, sugar, and flour, adds a touch of sweetness and a crisp, crunchy texture and crackled appearance to the finished product. It's a small change that makes a big difference, taking cream puffs from good to great.

Craquelin is used to top the choux

To make Choux au Craquelin, the ingredients are mixed together to form a soft dough. This dough is then chilled until firm, which is an important step because it helps the dough maintain its shape and crispiness during baking according to A Baking Journey. Once the dough has chilled, it is rolled out into thin rounds that are placed on top of the choux pastry before baking. The result is a pastry with a delicate, flaky crust covered in crunchy crackles and a creamy, sweet filling.

One of the benefits of using Choux au Craquelin is that it adds an extra layer of flavor to the cream puffs. The sugar in the dough caramelizes during baking, creating a rich, golden-brown crust with a touch of sweetness. This added sweetness perfectly complements the creamy filling, making each bite of the cream puff more enjoyable. Additionally, the crunchy texture of the craquelin provides a delightful contrast to the soft, tender choux pastry, making each bite more satisfying. 

Another advantage of using Choux au Craquelin is that it helps the cream puffs maintain their shape and structure (via Food Crumbles). The layer of craquelin dough helps to hold the choux pastry together, preventing it from collapsing or losing its shape during baking. This results in cream puffs that look as good as they taste, with a beautiful, uniform shape that is sure to impress — whether they are served up on a plate or stacked into a croquembouche