Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cream Puff "Crack Buns"(Choux au Craquelin) – Chef John Goes Hollywood

These gorgeous cream puff "crack buns” were inspired by the Great British Baking Show, which is not only my favorite cooking show, but currently my favorite thing on television. Maybe it's the accent, or because the contestants are all so nice, and actually try to help each other. Or, it could be the fact that when the time is up, and they try to work for a few more seconds, the hosts just politely scold them, instead of immediate disqualification, which is what would happen on our much more uptight American culinary competitions.

It's probably all of the above, plus the fact I always get so many wonderful ideas for videos, with these Choux au Crackelin being a prime example. Like I said in the video, these would be great filled with all kinds of things, but it's hard to beat vanilla bean pastry cream. I'm pretty proud of the recipe we posted a few years ago, and while I enjoy it straight, traditionally it would have some whipped cream folded in to lighten the mixture.

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. The only thing that would have made this experience any more enjoyable would have been getting that coveted Paul Hollywood handshake. Maybe one day. In the meantime, I really do hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 6 to 8 Crack Buns:

For the “crack” crust:
3 tablespoons soft butter
1/4 light brown sugar (1 1/2 ounces)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (47 grams)
pinch salt

For the choux pastry:
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch salt
1/2 cup flour
2 large room temperature eggs
melted dark chocolate, optional

- Put into 450 F. oven, reduce to 350 F., and bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned and fully puffed.

23 comments:

JPitre said...

What about filling the pastries from the bottom, before applying the chocolate base?

Kathryn Kain said...

Also obsessed with thesame show for all the same reasons. Favorite comfort show ever.

riacho said...

You're the master of your own crack buns. Go ahead! :)

Lavinia Marigold said...

Do we use all-purpose flour for both parts of the recipe? All-purpose is the same as plain flour, right? No added raising agents? Any chance you'll start putting in metric measurements as well as Imperial?

Unknown said...

If you want to be a real cool kid with the UK crowd, you should call it the Great British Bake-Off, which is what it's called across the pond. It's only called Baking Show here because Nabisco owns the trademark on "Bake-Off"

You're right, it is a spectacular show though.

Unknown said...

URGENT-- I consider your YouTube posts very family oriented, so I believe your subtitle at 10:40 is an oversight that has not been corrected yet.

Chris K. said...

Protip: wire whisks are great for most applications but ball whisks are your friend when incorporating eggs into paté choux dough. If you don't own a ball whisk you should get one and try it out. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Pug Mom said...

Hi Chef John,
My food wish request is stuffed roast pumpkin. I'd love to see your version of this and maybe finally get the courage to make it : ) Thanks for the recipes, I really enjoy the videos!

Unknown said...

"To all the folks asking why I didn't fill these from the bottom, and then coat with chocolate, it's because I didn't want to refrigerate them to harden the chocolate, and if I filled them first, and then dipped, they would've been sitting out for an hour absorbing moisture, as well as the filling would've been warming up. I like a hard chocolate bottom, and a nice cold filling to contrast my crispy crack bun. But, that's just me."

Unknown said...

JPitre,
I don't see why filling from the bottom wouldn't work other than risk of breaking the crack crust while handling them upside down.

Unknown said...

Beef consomme please

Sullivan's Papa said...

Sounds like a clever alternative, I'll try and make these tomorrow using your suggestion!

Kristi said...

This may be too involved for me but I'm gonna give it a go anyway!

Merri said...

Hey Chef John, these look amazing and I can’t wait to make and taste them! I am also a big fan of the Great British Bake Off and Paul Hollywood! I’m so glad you are too! Thanks for your awesome recipes. Cheers ��

Unknown said...

The custard would make the pastry soggy by the time the chocolate hardened

Unknown said...

The custard would make the pastry soggy by the time the chocolate hardened

Unknown said...

Guaranteed to knock their socks off! I loved the way the flat disk sort of magically melted to cover the pastry. What fun to make! Thank you, Chef!

femka said...

I just watched the episode this post was inspired by! Super excited to try this recipe.

Jocelyn said...

Do you find that your vanilla pastry cream recipe makes the right amount of filling for these pastries? I'm thinking of doubling this recipe and I'm wondering if doubling the vanilla pastry cream recipe as well will be the right amount.

Fluff said...

I can't find vanilla beans. What should I use instead?

Amy Cook said...

Chef John, The Great British Baking show is also my favorite. I binge watched an entire season while waiting for Hurricane Florence to get out of Dodge here in Virginia! Can't wait to try this. Sending you a 'virtual handshake' for your efforts!

Alex said...

This looks really interesting! Normally I don’t like eclairs and cream puffs because the bun part gets all soggy and tastes really strange. The bun for these look much better to me...hope I have a chance to try the recipe

Unknown said...

I don't know if this method of filling from the bottom and then dip in chocolate will work, but it's worth a try. I would pipe the filling in the entry point in the bottom of the choux and wait for it to cool completely at room temperature of in the refrigerator before dipping it in chocolate. It shouldn't cause the choux to absorb the filling to the point it gets soggy. After all, pastry shops display these prefilled in their shops all the time.