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Cream Puff "Crack Buns" (Choux au Craquelin)

Rated as 4.85 out of 5 Stars

"These gorgeous cream puff "crack buns" were inspired by the Great British Baking Show, which is currently my favorite thing on television. Speaking of favorite things, Boston cream pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts, and this was basically an individually portioned, probably superior version of that. These would be great filled with all kinds of things, but it's hard to beat vanilla bean pastry cream (see footnote)."
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2 h 20 m servings 257
Original recipe yields 8 servings (8 choux au craquelin)


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  1. Mix butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt together in a large bowl using a spatula. Place dough between two sheets of waxed paper or inside a zip-top bag. Press or roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Trim off the edges slightly to get a rectangular shape, if desired. Freeze crust until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
  3. Combine water, butter, and salt in a saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add flour; stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes together into a smooth dough and pulls away cleanly from the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a bowl and spread out with a whisk to speed up cooling. Cool until warm, about 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk eggs, one at a time, into the pastry, mixing well after each addition. Finish mixing with a spatula. Scoop pastry into a pastry bag and pipe into 6 to 8 buns on the baking sheet. Smooth out tops with a wet finger.
  5. Use a cookie cutter to cut crust into circles about the diameter of the buns. Lightly push crusts onto the buns, just enough to secure them.
  6. Place buns in the preheated oven. Immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake until browned and fully puffed, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer buns onto a cooling rack and place rack back on the baking sheet. Place in the turned-off oven, leave door partially open, and let cool completely, at least 20 minutes.
  7. Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, 1 to 3 minutes.
  8. Spread a few teaspoons of melted chocolate onto the bottom of each bun. Gently press each chocolate base back on the baking sheet to spread it evenly. Let chocolate harden, about 1 hour.


  • Chef's Note:
  • See my recipe for vanilla bean pastry cream. While I enjoy it straight, traditionally it would have some whipped cream folded in to lighten the mixture. To fill the puffs, first cut a small hole out of the surface of each bun along the cracks. Pipe desired amount of pastry cream inside and replace the missing piece.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 257 calories; 16 25.6 3.9 74 91 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 11
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Not too difficult but more labor intensive than I would like. FYI I poked a hole in the bottom to fill with pastry cream. Then it was easy to cover the hole with the chocolate bottom.

This was my first time really baking something I’d never tried before.....and they turned out amazing! I was really so proud of myself I made them again the next day. My boyfriend isn’t a big fa...

Fantastic recipe, particularly when combined with the vanilla pastry cream as suggested. Outside really is crisp and caramel-sweet, contrasting nicely with the soft eggy dough and vanilla cream ...

The video made this recipe a breeze! Finished my pastries off with some annin flavored cream and they were just lovely.

I made these for a rotary event and everyone loved them! Thank you Chef John

This is a bit time consuming but well worth it. I've made this a few times. I started adding different flavorings to the topping, chocolate powder, strawberry powder, even cinnamon. I post...

Not the easiest thing I’ve ever made - but one of the tastiest. If you follow the recipe and don’t cut corners, you will succeed. And it’s so tasty! Will definitely make it again.

These were delicious and fun to make!

these are great! I made a double recipe and must have made them a lot smaller than suggested as I got about 30 "buns". I used the recipe for the pastry cream also, which yielded a lovely, smoo...