Tuesday 23 April 2019

Tiger Chocolate Choux Pastry

Besides cupcakes, cookies, puddings/jellies, macarons, tarts and buns as part of the dessert table for parties, why not consider Choux pastry! Here are some tiger Choux au Craquelin filled with a mixture of chocolate pastry cream and non-dairy whipping cream!

Recipe for Choux pastry case
Ingredients (makes about 16 tiger pastries):
35g plain flour, sifted
35g unsalted butter
30g caster sugar
2-3 drops of orange gel food colouring

Choux pastry
100-105g water
1/2 tsp salt
20g unsalted butter*
20g olive oil*
60g bread flour, sifted twice
95-105g eggs, lightly beaten (about 2 eggs)
3 drops of orange gel food colouring

* You may use all oil or all butter depending on your preference. Oil only will result in a crispier and lighter case but butter only will result in a richer and more fragrant case.

1. Prepare the Craquelin. You can do this ahead of time. Cream sugar and butter together until well combined. The sugar doesn't have to be fully dissolved. Add orange food colouring and mix well. Add flour and mix well to form a dough. Roll to 3mm thickness between two parchment paper. Freeze until firm. Use a 4cm cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the cutouts on a tray lined with parchment paper. Freeze until needed.

2. Prepare a baking tray with template for the tiger ears, and another baking tray with template for 3.5cm circles OR hemispherical silicone moulds with circles 3-4cm diameter. Line the baking trays with parchment paper, silicone mat or perforated mat (preferred choice if you want to have the best shape retention). Preheat oven to 190℃. Set oven rack to middle position.

3. Place water, salt, oil and butter into a saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and pour the flour in all at once. Mix well. Press out any visible lumps of flour with spatula. Add gel food colouring and mix well. Return to heat at medium-low and knead the dough with spatula for about 3-4 minutes to let more water evaporate.

4. Transfer the dough into a bowl. Knead for about a minute with spatula and spread out in bowl to cool for a few minutes. Add half of egg to dough and mix well with spatula. Add half of remaining egg and mix well. Add the remaining egg a little at a time, testing the consistency of the batter after each addition. Once the batter is able to fall off the spatula in 3 seconds, it is ready. You may refer to this post for the video tutorial of preparing basic choux pastry batter.

5. Transfer batter into piping bag with a 2mm piping tip or a small hole cut. Pipe the ears. The thin long part is for inserting into the head. Use a wet finger to tap down any peaks. Dab some water on baking tray around the piped batter to create steam during baking. Bake for 10-12min. Cool completely on tray. Preheat oven to 200℃ before baking the next tray.

Piped batter for ears

6. You may pipe tall mounds of batter using the 3.5cm circle template or pipe about 12g batter into each hemispherical mould and freeze until firm. At least 2h or overnight. If using frozen batter, pop the frozen hemispheres onto perforated mat, leaving at least 4cm spacing between mounds. Place a frozen cookie cutout on top of each piped mound/frozen mound. Dab some water around the mounds.

7. Place baking tray in oven. Reduce temperature to 190℃ and bake for 10-15 min. Reduce temperature to 180℃ and bake for 10 min. Reduce temperature to 160℃ and bake for 10-15min. Reduce temperature to 130℃ with the fan mode on and bake for 15min. Use the longer baking time range for frozen batter. Do note that each oven is different so adjust baking temperature and time accordingly.

Frozen mound of batter with cookie dough on top.

8. Cool on baking tray until you are able to handle with your hands. Cut a small hole at the bottom of the pastry case. Return to oven to dry it out more at 130℃ if still wet inside. If not, leave it to cool completely.

9. Use toothpick to make small holes to insert the ears. Carefully insert the ears.

Tiger head!

I used white chocolate, black candy melts and royal icing for adding the facial details on the tiger. White chocolate chips and candy melt chips can be kneaded together and rolled between parchment paper to create sheets because Singapore is that warm 😅. Use cookie cutter to cut out the necessary shapes for the parts. I used black royal icing for the stripes.

Store decorated cases in airtight condition at cool room temperature for up to a few days.

Chocolate pastry cream with whipping cream
30g cornflour
40g sugar
20g cocoa powder
3 egg yolks
300g+20g milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur
Pinch of salt
25g unsalted butter
130g whip topping (non-dairy whipping cream)**

** You may use full dairy whipping cream if the environment that you serve the pastries is not too warm.

1. Sift together cocoa powder and cornflour into a heatproof heavy bowl. Add sugar and whisk together. Add egg yolks and 20g of milk and whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.

2. Heat 300g milk, vanilla, salt and coffee liqueur (if using) in a saucepan until the milk just starts to bubble at the edges.

3. Remove saucepan from heat and pour in a thin stream into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Start off pouring very slowly before pouring faster. This is to temper the egg yolks.

4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat while whisking all the time. Once mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk until mixture becomes smooth again. Return to heat and keep whisking as the pastry cream thickens until your preferred consistency. Keep in mind the pastry cream will be firmer upon cooling.

5. Remove from heat and add butter. Whisk until butter is melted and incorporated. Transfer custard to a bowl and press a piece of cling wrap on the surface of pastry cream to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for an hour or until cool. You may prepare this a day ahead of time.

6. Beat cold whipping cream using electric mixer until firm or stiff peaks form. Take the chilled pastry cream out from the fridge and stir to loosen it. Fold in the whipped cream into the pastry cream in a few batches.

Adding whipping cream into pastry cream

Pastry cream with lightened texture when the whipping cream added

Fill the Choux cases just before consumption if you like to enjoy the cases crisp. If you prefer to have the Choux pastry soft, let the filling sit in the case in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before consuming. The pastry cream with whipped cream added can be kept refrigerated for a few days.

My hubby had a couple of extras that I have and he said it's really good! The Choux pastry was a little soft but still slightly crisp (I let it sit for a couple of hours with filling in the fridge) and filling had just the right texture and taste. Hubby likes the filling smooth and rich and not too mousse-like. It's tasty while not being too sweet!

If you would like to know what other designs you can make with choux pastries, checkout my Deco Choux Pastries book!

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Hi is it a must to freeze the choux batter or we can bake straight already?

    1. Hi please refer to points 6 and 7 😊. You can choose to pipe batter on baking tray or freeze and then bake the frozen batter. Both have their own advantages

  2. Hi, is there a specific reason for using bread flour? Would all-purpose flour work just as well?

    1. You may use all purpose flour. I explained in my book that traditionally choux pastry is made using bread flour for a crispier crust and for more structural stability. But if you prefer a more tender bite you may use all purpose flour which has lower protein content than bread flour.

    2. Thank you, love your creations! :)

  3. Hi Phay Shing, I noticed my craquelin is not crispy even after putting the unfilled choux (with craquelin) buns in airtight container. Is this normal? Otherwise, how can I keep my choux pastries with craquelin crispy? I even leave my choux pastries (with craquelin) in the oven 10mins after baking but they are still not crispy a few hours later.

    1. Hi Serena,

      You need to bake longer at a lower temperature that thoroughly dries your pastry case. This can take up till an hour of baking time but varies according to size of pastry. I have no issues keeping the craquelin coated choux pastries crisp for a week stored at room temperature. But I really made sure it is baked till thoroughly dry. As for what temperature to dry your pastries, it depends on your oven. I can keep mine at 130c without browning them no matter how long they are in there. Let the pastry cases cool completely before storing too. I let the pastries sit on paper towels to wick away any excess oils that seep from the pastry. If need be, bake extra cases and sacrifice some by cutting a hole at the base and sticking your finger in to touch the interior of your pastry. It should feel very dry and crisp.

      I hope this helps!

  4. for the facial details, can i replace candy melt chips with other ingredients ?

    1. Yes definitely! Use whatever you have on hand and whatever you are comfortable with. Can be royal icing, chocolate, fondant or marzipan.