Nutella Choux au Craquelin is a French cream puff topped with chocolate craquelin and filled with Nutella pastry cream and homemade chocolate whipped cream. It is a chocolate lover's dream.
In our household, we all love chocolate. My husband has a stash right above the refrigerator for satisfying his nightly cravings with a small piece of dark chocolate. And sometimes, he will sneak a small piece to our son because, like his dad, he loves chocolate. Of course, the little exchange is given away by my son's big chocolate smile. So it's no surprise that our family loves chocolate desserts.
Recently, I posted my recipe for vanilla bean cream puffs. It was a huge hit with friends and family with many requests to make it again (I love making them and eating them, so I don't mind), but I thought it would be fun to make a chocolate version too! So here we have it, Nutella choux au craquelin. They are a chocolate lover's dream come true. Pâte à choux topped with chocolate craquelin is baked to perfection and filled with Nutella pastry cream and homemade chocolate whipped cream.
What you need to make Nutella Choux au Craquelin
Digital scale (or measuring cups and spoons)
Baking sheet pans x2
2-inch round cookie cutter
Large star pastry tip
Large round piping tip x2
Pâte à choux. A traditional French dough used to make a variety of pastries. It requires six simple ingredients and transforms from mixture to finished product with the steam created from its high moisture ingredients.
Butter. Always use unsalted butter in baking. Butter adds a richness to the pastry cream and is a crucial ingredient in both the pâte à choux and craquelin.
All-purpose flour. All-purpose flour adds the perfect tenderness to the pâte à choux and craquelin. It is also a thickening agent in the pastry cream.
Light brown sugar. Adds a sweet flavor to the craquelin and also contributes to its texture.
Cocoa powder. Use either Dutch-process or natural cocoa powder for this recipe. Cocoa powder adds the chocolate flavor to both the craquelin as well as the chocolate whipped cream. It's important to sift your cocoa powder so that it does not leave any lumps in either mixture.
Vanilla extract. Always use PURE vanilla extract. It will give you the best flavor.
Milk. Milk acts as a thickening agent in pastry cream. Always use whole milk (or you could even use heavy cream for a richer flavor) because low-fat milk will not thicken the pastry cream.
Sugar. The sweetener used in the pastry cream. Just a bit goes a long way.
Cornstarch. The cornstarch helps thicken the pastry cream. Using too much cornstarch in a recipe can leave a bad aftertaste. Therefore flour is used in conjunction with the cornstarch to thicken the mixture.
Eggs. The pastry cream uses only egg yolks because it gives a richer flavor and creamier texture as opposed to using whole eggs.
Heavy cream. Always choose heavy cream or heavy whipping cream for the perfect homemade whipped cream. Do not use whipping cream as it has less milk fat and will not produce beautiful, stiff peaks when beaten.
Powdered sugar. The sweetener used for the vanilla bean whipped cream.
How to make chocolate whipped cream
Begin with cold heavy cream (this will produce the best results). Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl (for an additional step, chill your mixing bowl to help keep your heavy cream cold while whipping). Add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Begin by whisking the mixture on medium-low speed until the mixture becomes frothy.
Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whisk for 3-4 minutes or until medium peaks form. Watch as the volume increases to thick, fluffy clouds of whipped cream. It is critical to keep a close eye on your mixer to prevent overwhipping (a thick and grainy consistency). The cream is perfectly whipped to medium peaks when it holds its shape on the end of the whisk. Its tip will slightly curl over but not lose its shape.
How to prep Nutella Choux au Craquelin in advance
This recipe is very easy to prep in advance. If you are hosting a party or entertaining guests, I would highly recommend prepping the craquelin, pastry cream, and pâte à choux in advance to save time. That will require you only to make the chocolate whipped cream the day of, as well as assemble the Nutella choux au craquelin.
Mix the craquelin up to three days in advance of baking it. Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll the mixture to 1-2 mm thick, and refrigerate overnight, until ready to use. Leave the craquelin between the layers of parchment paper until ready to make your pâte à choux.
Prepare the Nutella pastry cream up three days in advance as well. While still hot, transfer the pastry cream to a plastic-lined sheet pan and spread into an even, thin layer. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top and refrigerate until cool to the touch. If you need to save room in your refrigerator, you can transfer the cooled pastry cream to an airtight container.
Pâte à choux is a very versatile dough (it's not quite as thick as a dough, but thicker than a batter). You can freeze it at the raw stage or the baked staged. For this particular recipe, I recommend preparing your pâte à choux the day before. To prepare the dough ahead of time, make the dough, pipe the mixture, top each round with craquelin, and bake the cream puff shells. You can certainly freeze the baked cream puffs with the craquelin topping for up to 3 months in advance.
Tips and takeaways
- Overwhisking whipped cream can quickly happen if you do not watch it carefully. Add one or two tablespoons of cream to the mixture and carefully whisk by hand. If it's salvable it will become smooth once again.
- For extra indulgence, add an additional 1/4 cup (75 g) Nutella to the pastry cream.
- If your chocolate craquelin begins to crumble when you use a cookie cutter to cut rounds, then allow the dough to sit for a few minutes at room temperature to soften slightly before resuming with cutting.
More pastry recipes
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make these Nutella Choux au Craquelin. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion, a sweet occasion!Print