Choux au craquelin with Itakuja chocolate and pistachio

by Chiara

Preparing cream puff pastry is an activity I really enjoy doing. That’s probably because it reminds me of special occasions or holiday where a tray of delicious vanilla cream puffs was always there.
That’s probably because it’s very easy to make and it results into nice little treats with a golden brown color, a crispy and tender consistency and a hollow inside, perfect for the best and mouthwatering filling.

And yet somehow, I don’t do this often and I give priority to something else. That’s so strange, but in these days I’ve fixed it with these Choux au craquelin with Itakuja dark chocolate and pistachio, inspired by the French Religieuse. Six centimeters of pure joy, I assure it!

The crunchy chocolatey exterior contains a silken Itakuja dark chocolate crémeux and a slightly salty and crispy pistachio praline paste. On top there’s a pistachio crémeux glazed with cocoa powder mirror glaze.

Itakuja is a double-fermented chocolate from Valrhona with fresh and tangy passion fruit flavor that combines well with the richness of pistachios.

The recipe requires:

  • Crispy and tender chocolate choux pastry with chocolate craquelin
  • Slightly crunchy pistachio praline paste 
  • Smooth and creamy Itakuja dark chocolate crémeux
  • Velvety pistachio crémeux
  • Cocoa powder mirror glaze

If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram. I’d be more than happy to hear from you! And, of course, if you have any questions or doubts, I’m absolutely willing to respond you as quickly as possible. ♡

Choux au craquelin with Itakuja chocolate and pistachio

Serves: 11
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


Chocolate craquelin
40 g butter, cold and cubed
43 g whole wheat flour type 2 (150-180W)
7 g cocoa powder 22-24%
50 g Demerara cane sugar

Chocolate choux pastry
100 g whole milk
100 g water
3 g Fleur de Sel
3 g caster sugar
90 g butter, cubed
100 g whole wheat flour type 1 (150-180W)
20 g cocoa powder 22-24%
210 g eggs, room temperature

Pistachio crémeux
84 g whole milk
84 g heavy cream 35% fat content
60 g egg yolks
50 g caster sugar
15 g (1 Tbs) cornstarch
50 g pistachio paste
2 g gelatin sheets (gold strength, 200 Bloom)
10 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
80 g soft butter, room temperature (20-25°C)

Itakuja 55% dark chocolate crémeux
253 g whole milk
253 g heavy cream 35% fat content
92 g egg yolks
76 g Dulcita brown sugar
328 g Itakuja 55% dark chocolate

Pistachio praline paste
430 g raw pistachios, shelled
280 g caster sugar
1,25 g (¼ tsp) Maldon salt

Cocoa powder mirror glaze 
55 g water
55 g heavy cream 35% fat content
12,5 g skimmed milk powder
25 g glucose syrup DE 38/40
55 g dextrose sugar
175 g caster sugar
70 g cocoa powder 22-24%
12,8 g gelatin sheets (gold strength, 200 Bloom)
64 g water to soak the gelatin sheets
120 g Valrhona Absolu Cristal (neutral mirror glaze)

Assembly and decoration
tempered Bahibé 46% milk chocolate discs (5 cm wide)
edible flowers


Chocolate craquelin 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment work together all the ingredients until obtain an homogeneous dough.
  2. Roll out the dough between two parchment paper or guitar sheets to a thickness of 2-3mm and place in the freezer for 1h.
  3. Remove the craquelin from the freezer and cut out 11 circles (6 cm wide) with a round mould cutter. Store in the freezer until needed.

Chocolate choux pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, regular mode. Line a perforated baking tray with perforated silicone baking mat. Leave marks with a 6 cm round mould cutter, slightly "dirty" with flour. Leave some space between the tracks.
  2. Sieve the flour with the cocoa powder in a bowl.
  3. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from the heat and add the sifted flour-cocoa powder mix in one motion and stir with a wooden spoon. Return the saucepan to the heat and on a medium-low heat continue to stir until the mixture comes together to form a roux and the surface has a slightly oily sheen (approximately 2 minutes). To test if it is ready, take a piece of the roux in your hand and roll it into a ball to feel the texture. It if doesn't stick to your hand it is ready.
  4. Remove from the heat, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on a medium-low speed to cool down the roux (50-60°C).
  5. Place the eggs into a bowl and break up by hand. Very slowly, start to add the eggs to the mixture. Ensure the eggs and dough are well combined before adding more eggs. You might not use all of the eggs, it depends on how firm or soft the choux dough is. Check the consistency by holding a spoonful of the dough on its side, if it slowly moves and starts to slide off the spoon it is the correct consistency. If the dough does not move, add more eggs.
  6. When the dough is ready and has a shiny, creamy and elastic consistency, transfer it to a disposable piping bag fitted with 14mm round nozzle and pipe the choux pastry into the marks, holding the bag vertically. Cover the leftover dough with clingfilm to prevent dryness.
  7. Place each craquelin circle on top of the choux and bake to 190°C for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170°C and continue to bake for 30 minutes to dry them out. Do not open the oven at this stage, otherwise the choux will collapse.

Pistachio crémeux 

  1. Soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Heat the milk with the heavy cream in a saucepan without boiling. Place the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornstarch into a bowl and mix together with a fine whisk. Pour the hot milk-cream mix into the egg yolks-sugar-cornstarch mix in three times, stirring constantly with the whisk. Return to the same saucepan, place back on the heat and cook to 82-85 ̊C, stirring constantly with the whisk until the cream is firm.
  3. Pour the cream into a bowl, add the drained gelatin sheets and stir to melt it. Add the pistachio paste and combine well with the whisk.
  4. Pour the cream into a measuring cup and emulsify with a hand blender, without adding air, to obtain a velvety, smooth texture. When the cream is 35- 40°C, add the butter and emulsify again.
  5. Transfer the cream into a disposable piping bag and pipe into the globe shaped silicone moulds (4,5 cm wide) and freeze for at least 2h.

Itakuja 55% dark chocolate crémeux

  1. Melt the dark chocolate in microwave to 45-50°C.
  2. To make the anglaise, heat the milk and cream in a saucepan without boiling. In a bowl mix together the egg yolks with the Dulcita brown sugar. Pour the hot mixture over the egg yolks in three times, mix with a whisk and then return the mixture to the same saucepan. Heat this to 82-85°C, stirring continuously with a spatula, then strain.
  3. Pour the anglaise over the melted chocolate, in three times, stirring with a spatula just to obtain a velvety, glossy cream.
  4. Pour the cream into a mixing glass or a measuring cup and mix with the hand blender to obtain the best and most silky smooth consistency.
  5. Pour the cream in a bowl, cover with clingfilm touching the surface of the cream and place in the fridge for 12h or overnight.

Pistachio praline paste

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, convection mode. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and distribuite the coarsely chopped pistachios. Put in the oven for 8-10 min to toast.
  2. Heat the sugar in a saucepan until it melts and caramelizes, then pour over the toasted nuts and set aside to cool down and harden.
  3. Break in large chops the caramelized nuts and place into a food processor. Add the salt and mix until obtain a creamy paste. Be careful to not overheat the praline paste, otherwise it gets bitter.
  4. Fill 11 half spheres shaped silicone moulds (3 cm wide) with the praline paste and freeze for at least 2h. Store the leftover praline paste into an airtight container, away from the light and to room temperature.

Cocoa powder mirror glaze 

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in 64 g cold water for at least 10 min.
  2. Heat the first 7 ingredients in a saucepan to 104°C.
  3. Remove from the heat and add in the sifted cocoa powder and mix with a whisk. Heat again to 104°C.
  4. Pour in a bowl, cover with clingfilm pressed on top of the glaze and set aside to cool down. Once the glaze is 70°C, pour into a measuring cup or mixing glass, add in the soaked gelatin sheets and the Absolu Cristal and emulsify with the hand blender, without adding air.
  5. Strain the glaze and cover with clingfilm pressed on top of the glaze and put in the fridge for 12h or overnight.
  6. Heat the glaze in microwave until the edges start to melt. Emulsify with the hand blender, so that the centre begins to melt too. Keep the blade of the hand blender on the bottom of the mixing glass, to avoid air.
  7. Once the glaze is 35-38°C, cover the frozen individual pistachio crémeux. Place them over the tempered Bahibé 46% milk chocolate discs and put in the fridge.

Assembly and decoration

  1. With a small serrated knife cut the top of each choux to create a round hole (a little over 3 cm wide). Insert the frozen half sphere of pistachio praline paste.
  2. Transfer the Itakuja crémeux into a disposable piping bags and fill the choux, so that cover the pistachio praline paste and the choux are heavy enough.
  3. Place at the centre of the summit of each choux the pistachio crémeux, using a small palette knife. The holes will be closed. Finish the decoration with pansy flowers.


To preserve the crunchy side of the chocolate craquelin, I suggest you to assemble the choux the day you will serve them up. Alternatively, you can freeze them for up 6 weeks until required or store the choux unbaked in the freezer and bake them as required. Store the assembled choux in the fridge for up 3 days.


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Lily 9 October 2019 - 16:10

Hi there! I’ve tried this recipe but my bottom pastry got burnt. The bottom bit got cooked abit faster than the craquelin.
Any reasons why this happened? Thanks in advance!


Chiara 18 October 2019 - 23:08

Hi Lily!
Firstly, I’m really, really sorry for the late reply.
I think the temperature of the oven was too high. So I suggest you to reduce the temperature and plus to use both perforated baking tray and perforated baking mat which improve heat distribution and even baking without burning the bottom of any pastries, including cream puff pastry.
At which temperature you baked them? And did you use a regular oven (stationary heat source) or a convection oven (fan heat source)?

Hope I was helpful!


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