Would you like a little choux bun filled with delicious creamy salted caramel? Of course you would. Go on, just one or two. Tested on various friends, including one with slight intolerance to both gluten and dairy products yet even she could not resist and found them absolutely scrumptious! What hope is there for the rest of us? First you have little choux buns that actually puff and stay puffed! Very important. Then you fill the crisp pastry shells with lovely salted caramel creaminess. Tada! Some irresistible salted caramel choux buns. Oh and if you want to know a little about the marvellous Michalak, please read on.
The salted caramel filling is pretty simple to make and comes from Christophe Michalak’s ‘Best of’ book. Now he’s a lovely man with a legendary enthusiasm for creating and eating cakes, which is why the other judges on the TV baking competition Qui Sera le Prochain Grand Pâtissier (Who Will be the Next Great Pâtissier) always laugh affectionately and leave him the largest portions to taste. He’s a driving force behind getting patisserie recognised at the same level as cuisine in France and from the new generation of sexy figureheads along with Christophe Adam, recognised éclairs expert and the ‘rock and roll’ guy who starred in my chocolate profiteroles post. Which reminds me, you could pipe elongated strips of choux instead of buns and have salted caramel éclairs!
Choux pastry is fairly basic and often included in children’s cookery books. For the choux buns I followed my go-to choux pastry recipe adapted from various sources.
As for Michalak’s salted caramel, well I do think he’s marvellous but the first time I followed his succinct recipe I’d have appreciated a reminder to not pour the milk all at once into the dry caramel. A volcano erupted, spurted caramel lava over the sides of the saucepan and left a sad little puddle at the bottom! I was gutted. Then started over again. Hmm, reminds me of some Great British Bake Off contestants. So I’m using Michalak’s lovely recipe but adding extra tips and instructions to save us from Vesuvius-like chemical reactions.
Lighter or creamier options: this time I used almond milk in the salted caramel, making it delicious and lighter. But you can use full-fat milk to make it thicker and creamier, as in the original recipe and my previous batch seen in the photo above. I also plan to try almond milk and cornflour in the choux pastry. So the recipe can be ‘lower-dairy’ and possibly gluten-free. Though I think your best ‘lighter’ option is to eat only 4 or 5 little choux a day! 🙂
Before starting I’ll just mention this recipe keeps everything simple without heavy sugary additions like drizzling sauces or fondant toppings. If you like fancy frills and extra elements you’ll love the recipe in Michalak’s book. Me, I just thought ‘make the choux buns, fill with delicious salted caramel, sprinkle with a little icing sugar and eat!’ 🙂
Creamy salted caramel (crémeux caramel) – make the day before so it thickens in the fridge overnight
This is a fairly fast recipe based on an easy dry caramel. You just need to be careful and pay attention. For more tips and photos read my making a dry caramel page before starting. A sugar thermometre’s handy but you can get by without one.
The quantities might make a tiny bit more than needed for your choux buns. Not a problem as you can use the extra caramel as a spread or eat it straight from the jar. 🙂
- 270g/1 cup plus 2 tablespoons full-fat milk (or other kinds like semi-skimmed and almond milk for a lighter caramel)
- 15g/1 tbsp caster/superfine sugar plus 90g/half a cup minus 1 tbsp for the dry caramel (105g/half a cup in total)
- 2 egg yolks (40g)
- 20g/2 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch/Maizena
- 150g/two-thirds of a cup semi-salted butter, cut into small pieces (if you only have unsalted butter add a scant half teaspoon of fine sea salt or fleur de sel)
- Warm the milk till just before simmering point then take off the heat.
- Whisk the egg yolks, 15g of sugar and cornflour in a medium-sized bowl.
- Heat the remaining 90g of sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat. DO NOT STIR, EVER. You can swirl the saucepan a little so the sugar moves slightly. Be patient and in about 5 to 10 or 15 minutes the sugar will eventually all brown and turn into caramel!
- Keep heating. It’s ready when the caramel is foaming on the surface and it’s ‘smoking’ (at a temperature of about 170°C/340°F). Take it off the heat.
- Off the heat add the warm milk little by little, very very carefully while whisking to combine. The mixture will bubble up and try to leave the saucepan. Look!
- Pour the mixture (which has now calmed down) into the bowl of egg yolks, sugar and cornflour. Whisk to combine.
- Return all the mixture to the saucepan and whisk continuously on low-medium heat until it thickens and boils.
- Take off the heat and pour into a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Wait 5 minutes for it to cool (to around 50°C).
- Now add the butter little by little, whisking between each addition to incorporate. Michalak uses a barmix (handmixer) which makes very smooth cream but whisking by hand works fine.
- Cover and refrigerate till the next day.
Choux buns – make on the day or 1-2 days in advance (store at room temperature in a metal tin or freeze)
- 75g/scant half a cup plain/all purpose flour
- 2 or 2 and half medium-large eggs, beaten (around 125-130g) NOTE: don’t use all of it – leave a few tablespoons and check your pastry’s texture first to see if all the egg is needed
- 63g/a quarter of a cup plus a teaspoon milk (semi-skimmed or full-fat, could try almond milk)
- 62g/a quarter of a cup plus three-quarters of a teaspoon water
- 50g/1 and three quarter ounces or a scant quarter cup good-quality unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- a scant half teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt or less, to taste (a scant quarter teaspoon could be enough in this recipe as the caramel is salty)
- 1 teaspoon (5g) caster/superfine sugar or a pinch of Stevia
Once you have your cooled choux buns and salted caramel you can assemble. Pipe the caramel into the hole at the bottom of each choux bun with a small star nozzle that can pierce the pastry so the cream enters the bun. Push down lightly on the piping bag with your right hand until you feel the bun has become heavier and filled. If you overdo it the bun will explode and you’ll have to eat it. Darn.
Sprinkle lightly with icing sugar just before serving and eating. So there you are, pretty fast and easy! And absolutely delicious! Yum yum. Took three out of the fridge for breakfast this morning… so yes they keep till the next day even when filled. To keep longer store the salted caramel in the fridge and the choux buns separately in an airtight tin at room temperature. Assemble just before serving or on the same day.
I’ll take some along to the September Perfecting Patisserie challenge hosted by Lucy@BakingQueen74, where you’ll see some lovely desserts! And also to Fabulous Foodie Fridays hosted by Lucy@BakePlaySmile and Lauren@CreateBakeMake. Come along and check out the great recipes! 🙂
And do help yourself to a few salted caramel choux buns. With creamier caramel made from full-fat milk?
Or the almond milk caramel ones?
Maybe both for research purposes? Correct answer. 🙂
So farewell again sweet reader! Thanks for coming by and see you next time. Meanwhile, hope you’ll have a lovely end of the week and weekend with lots of yummy healthy and almost-healthy edibles! Happy baking and eating! 🙂 x