We invited Jane Lee, AKA Cake Barn on her blog and Instagram, to guest post on our blog with a recipe she created using our Black Sesame Crunchy Butter. She is a home baker based in the Bay Area, CA. Follow her on Instagram here for more amazing baking ideas and recipes!
Black Sesame Choux Au Craquelin (Cream Puff)
Crisp, cookie-crusted puffs filled with black sesame cream, topped with more black sesame cream and black sesame butter. The star of the show is Rooted Fare’s black sesame butter, a spread that tastes so nostalgic for me personally, and also has a story of its own.
Rooted Fare is a woman-owned business founded by daughters of Chinese immigrant restaurant owners. From the co-founders’ immigrant experiences came a purpose to support and celebrate the work of immigrant chefs, and bring their flavors to people’s homes through products like this. I want to emphasize that I’m not sponsored to promote this product! I genuinely think it’s delicious, and stands for a cause worth sharing about.
For these puffs, I considered adding ginger or coconut as well but decided to stick with just black sesame to highlight and stay true to its flavor as much as possible. Pastry cream is adapted from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person, and choux au craquelin from Joanne Chang’s Pastry Love.
ACTIVE TIME: 45 min
BAKE AND CHILL TIME: 4 hours 40 min
INGREDIENTS (makes ~9 cream puffs)
Black sesame diplomat cream:
- 2 egg yolks
- 45 g. granulated sugar
- 15 g. cornstarch
- 230 g. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 60 g. black sesame butter
- 120 g. heavy cream
- 55 g. brown sugar
- 2 T./30 g. butter, soft
- 1-2 drops black gel food coloring
- 35 g. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 stick/58 g. butter
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c./120 mL water
- 75 g. all-purpose
- 2 eggs
Black sesame whipped cream:
- 80 g. heavy cream
- 10 g. black sesame butter
Make black sesame diplomat cream:
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until pale yellow.
- In a saucepan, heat milk, vanilla and salt over medium-low heat until it just comes to a simmer.
- Whisking constantly, slowly stream the milk into egg yolks, then return everything to saucepan.
- Increase heat to medium and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and pudding-like, and has come to a boil (thick bubbles will emerge from the bottom and pop).
- Remove from heat and strain over a sieve into a heat-proof bowl.
- Whisk in black sesame butter until smooth.
- Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate until cold, ~4 hours. In the meantime, you can proceed to make the choux pastry.
- Once cold, loosen with a whisk.
- Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks, then whisk into black sesame cream.
- Refrigerate until needed for later.
Make craquelin/cookie tops:
- Cream sugar, butter, and black food coloring until combined.
- Add flour and continue to beat until incorporated. It’ll feel dry at first, but will come together.
- Turn dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment and flatten into a disk.
- Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to firm up.
- Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness. Try to aim for as close to 1/4″ as you can; if it’s too thick it’ll weigh down the puff.
- Use a 2.5″ cookie cutter (I used the rim of a cup) to cut rounds of dough.
- Cover and set aside.
Make choux pastry:
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a saucepan, heat butter, sugar, salt, and water over medium heat until the butter is melted, making sure not to let the mixture come to a boil.
- Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a spatula. Keep stirring over heat for 3-4 minutes until the mixture loses its shine and becomes more matte, and leaves a film on the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from heat and place dough in a heat-proof bowl or stand mixer.
- Beat for a minute to encourage the dough to cool and the steam to escape.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg in until fully incorporated before adding the next. The dough will look like it’s splitting, but keep beating and it’ll come together in a shiny, soft mass. It’ll look like mashed potatoes, and the batter will hold a ‘v’ shape when you lift up the spatula.
- Transfer to a piping bag with a 1″ round tip.
- Pipe round puffs about 2.5″ in diameter, spaced a few inches apart.
- Place a craquelin top on top of each puff.
- Bake for 15 minutes until the puffs have expanded.
- Lower oven temperature to 325F and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until you can see that they’re golden brown on the bottom. Since the craquelin is colored black, it’ll be hard to gauge color from the top.
- Let cool completely.
Make black sesame whipped cream:
- Whip heavy cream until medium peaks.
- Whisk in black sesame butter until incorporated.
- Transfer diplomat cream to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
- Transfer whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
- Pierce the bottom of each puff with a knife or blunt end of a chopstick.
- Fill with diplomat cream.
- Pipe rings of whipped cream on top, then fill the rings with black sesame butter.