Chocolate cream puffs (choux à la crème)

Chocolate cream puffs choux a la creme with dulce de leche

Chocolate cream puffs or choux à la crème are delicate choux pastry buns filled with custard and cream or dulce de leche and cream and topped with a glossy chocolate glaze. We love our chocolate cream puffs with slices of banana added.

When I was a child my mom always said that her friend Edwina made the best éclairs ever. I had never eaten those éclairs until Aunty Edwina dropped by one Saturday afternoon with a tray full of the most beautiful little choux pastry batons covered in a shiny chocolate glaze. 

I must confess though, that the traditional French éclair with the chocolate glaze did not appeal to me one bit. The choux pastry was too chewy, the crème patisserie filling too eggy and the chocolate glaze too sweet.

Mummy Rachel told me I could make it myself one day exactly how I like it. And a few years later I did just that, although it took a few hits and misses before I found a flop proof choux pastry recipe. The choux pastry is very simple with butter, water, flour and eggs and salt. It is also very versatile and can be used in sweet and savory bakes like these Circassian Chicken Choux Puffs inspired by a dish I ate in Istanbul.

You can make Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière) from scratch but I still don’t like the egginess and potential for failure. My failed attempt at making egg custard in Standard 6 Home Economics class still gives me the curdles.

I tend to use egg free custard and in a pinch shop bought prepared custard (too liquid for my liking). The egg free custard in the chocolate cream puffs recipe tastes delicious and most people can’t tell the difference. 

 

Chocolate cream puffs choux a la creme

Top tips for making chocolate cream puffs

  • Use unsalted cold butter. If the butter is soft it melts too quickly and gives the dough an oily look and feel.
  • Use cake flour for tender chocolate cream puffs.
  • Bring the water to the boil over a medium heat so that the butter is melted by the time the water boils. Do not overboil because it will evaporate too much of the liquid, leaving the choux puff dense when it bakes.
  • Stir the flour into the water and oil mixture vigorously to make a roux and cook it out until it comes free from the sides but leaves a little residue.
  • Cool the roux down a bit before adding the eggs. Either by beating with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and don’t add the next until the previous one is fully incorporated. It will look lumpy and as if it won’t come together but don’t give up, just a few turns more and it will gel.
  • The dough should be shiny and not too runny or too stiff.
  • Bake at a high temperature to ensure it rises and then let it bake out at a lower temperature.
  • Prick a hole in the side or bottom (depending how you plan to fill it) and return to the switched off oven with the door open to dry out and remain crisp.
  • Fill the cooled chocolate cream puffs with cold custard cream so that it doesn’t become runny and soggy.

Chocolate cream puffs choux a la creme

If you are not a fan of Chocolate cream puffs you may like one these recipes:

Chocolate cream puffs choux a la creme with dulce de leche

Chocolate cream puffs (choux à la crème)

Razena Schroeder
Delicate choux pastry buns filled with custard and cream or dulce de leche and cream and topped with a glossy chocolate glaze.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Course Cakes
Cuisine French
Servings 24
Calories 218 kcal

Ingredients
  

Choux Pastry ingredients

  • 125 grams cold salted butter, cubed approximately 1/2 cup
  • 250 ml water approximately 1 cup
  • 140 grams cake flour or fine sponge flour approximately 1 cup
  • 1.25 ml salt approximately 1/4 tsp
  • 4 large eggs

Custard cream ingredients

  • 620 ml full fat milk approximately 2 1/2 cups
  • 500 ml double thick cream approximately 2 cups
  • 120 ml custard powder approximately 1/2 cup
  • 120 ml granulated sugar approximately 1/2 cup

Chocolate glaze ingredients

  • 200 gram milk chocolate
  • 5 ml soft butter

Instructions
 

How to make choux pastry

  • Bring the butter and water to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Remove the pot off the heat and add all the flour, beating ituntil there are no lumps.
  • Return the pot to the heat and stir until the pastry forms a balland comes away from the sides.
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool for at least five minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 200 C or 180 C Fan / 390 F / Gas Mark 6.
  • Add the eggs to the pastry one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  • Ensure that the egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. The pastry should be glossy and spoonable.
  • Place teaspoonfuls of the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat and bake for 10 more minutes at 180 C or 160 C Fan / 350 F / Gas Mark 4.
  • Prick holes in the sides to let the steam escape and leave to cool.

Custard cream

  • Put the 500 ml milk and 500 ml cream in a medium sized non-stick pot on medium heat.
  • In a jug or big mug mix the custard powder with the remaining 1/2 cup milk until all the custard powder is dissolved.
  • Add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved.
  • When the milk comes to the boil, remove it from the heat and add one cup of hot milk to the custard powder slurry and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the custard slurry back into the hot milk and cream mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Put the custard pot back on the stove and bring back up until the custard is thick and bubbling about 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring so that the custard doesn't burn at the bottom.
  • When the custard is thick remove the pot from the heat and decant the custard into a heat proof bowl to cool completely.
  • Cover the custard with cling-wrap or plastic wrap and ensure that you press it down onto the surface so that no skin forms while it cools. Refrigerate until required.
  • When ready to use the custard remove the plastic from the top and give it a thorough whisk to ensure the custard cream filling is smooth and lump free.
  • If you have a piping bag fill it with the custard cream and pipe into the side of the cream puffs until filled.
  • If not, cut a slit into the side of the cream puff and spoon in the custard cream mixture.

Chocolate glaze

  • Melt the chocolate with the butter and mix until smooth and glossy.
  • Spread chocolate glaze over the top of every choux puff.
  • Optional: Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

Notes

If you cannot be bothered to make custard cream, then fill the cream puffs with spoonful of caramelised condensed milk or dulce de leche and the whipped cream cream. 

Nutrition

Calories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 3gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 89mgPotassium: 104mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 527IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 0.4mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword cape malay recipe, easy dessert, easy holiday baking
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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary
    November 21, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    I really like Cream Puffs but I am not always successful with making the Choux Pastry.
    Maybe your clear instructions will make me more successful.
    All the lovely fillings one can use in them is making my mouth water!! :))

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      November 22, 2022 at 12:28 am

      Hi Mary. I had exactly the same problem until I used this choux pastry recipe.

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