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).

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
30 mins
additional:
1 hr 30 mins
total:
2 hrs 20 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 choux au craquelin
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Craquelin Crust:
For the Choux Pastry:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, 1 to 3 minutes.

  • 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.

Tips

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

257 calories; protein 3.9g; carbohydrates 25.6g; fat 16g; cholesterol 73.9mg; sodium 91.2mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (25)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2018
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. Read More
(9)
33 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 26
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2018
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. Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
11/01/2018
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 fan of sweets and he couldn t keep his hands off them. These will be my new go to for any party I attend for sure. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
02/03/2019
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 inside, not to mention the pleasant bite of chocolate at the bottom. As suggested by another reviewer, I cut a hole in the bottom to fill the buns, which was immediately hidden after being covered with chocolate. Given that the craquelin crust and vanilla pastry cream need time to freeze/refrigerate, I suggest making those things the night before you're going to make the buns. Also, don't forget you're going to need pastry bags to pipe out the buns as well as to fill them, though a ziplock bag with a corner cut off can do in a pinch. This recipe's a keeper! Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2019
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 posted a pic of my first attempt. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2019
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, smooth textured pastry cream though I would reduce the salt if I make it again. Although there are many steps and it is mildly time consuming, these buns are so worth the time it takes to make them. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
05/10/2019
The video made this recipe a breeze! Finished my pastries off with some annin flavored cream and they were just lovely. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/31/2019
I made these for a rotary event and everyone loved them! Thank you Chef John Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
01/30/2019
These were delicious and fun to make! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
03/16/2019
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. Read More
(1)
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