Before starting this Choux Puffs with Craquelin Topping recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
For the craquelin topping: Place the soft butter in a mixing bowl.
Add the brown sugar and combine with a rubber spatula.
Add the flour...
... and combine until homogeneous. The brown sugar grains should be visible in the preparation.
Transfer the pastry on a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Fold the parchment over the dough...
... and roll out with a rolling pin, to a thickness of 2 or 3 mm. Place in the freezer.
For the choux pastry: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Place the butter, salt and water in a saucepan on the heat.
Bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and pour all the flour at once.
Stir with a wooden spoon until there are no more lumps.
The resulting dough is called 'panada'. Dry off the panada on the heat, stirring with a wooden spatula, until the paste comes away from the sides of the saucepan and forms a ball.
Transfer to a cold recipient and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. You can also place the panada into the stand mixer recipient, and beat for a brief moment with the flat beater to let it cool down.
One by one, add the eggs and combine with a wooden spatula (or in the stand mixer at low speed).
As you can notice, it is difficult to incorporate the egg at the start, but it will combine well after a while.
One by one, incorporate the eggs. The pastry should be smooth. Add another egg if necessary. A smooth pastry will ensure the choux buns keep a regular shape after baking.
The choux paste is now ready. It should be used immediately. Pipe the choux puffs on a Silpat baking mat, placed on top of a Silichef XL perforated baking sheet. Use a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle (diameter 7 or 8 mm).
Take the craquelin topping out of the freezer. Make sure it is really cold. Open the baking parchment.
Using an Exoglass pastry cutter (Ø 30 mm), cut into round shapes.
Arrange one disc on top of each puff.
Repeat this operation for all the choux buns.
Bake in a fan-assisted oven at 170°C (gas 3)...
... until puffed, golden and hollow. The craquelin dough should drape nicely over the choux puffs.