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    Pistachio, cherry and chocolate choux buns

    By Martha Collison

    A colourful riff on a Black Forest gâteau! The craquelin topping makes these buns rise into perfect domes and gives them a delicious, crackly crust. It’s just as straightforward as making shortbread, so don’t feel intimidated. 

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes + cooling
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes + cooling

    Makes: 12


    10g pistachios, very finely chopped
    35g plain flour
    35g caster sugar
    35g unsalted butter, diced
    50g unsalted butter, diced
    ¼ tsp salt
    ½ tsp caster sugar
    65g plain flour
    2 British Blacktail free range medium eggs
    100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
    300ml double cream
    1 tbsp icing sugar
    190g cherry compote (or cherry jam)
    15g pistachios, chopped 


    1. Start by making the craquelin topping. Put the pistachios in a bowl with the flour and sugar and use your fingers to rub in the butter. Bring together with your hands, then sandwich the mixture between two sheets of baking parchment and use a rolling pin to flatten it to around the thickness of a £1 coin. Cover and lay it flat in the freezer while you make the choux.

    2. For the choux, put the butter, salt, sugar and 120ml water in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil then, when all the butter has melted, add the flour and vigorously beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until a smooth ball of dough forms and it has come away from the sides. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 1 minute.

    3. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Beat the eggs together briefly in a small jug and incorporate into the dough in 3 separate additions, beating well with a wooden spoon in between each one. (You might not need to add all of the last quantity of egg; use just enough to make a soft mixture that takes about 3 seconds to fall off the spoon.) Scoop the batter into a piping bag with a 1.5cm round nozzle.

    4. Pipe 12 dollops of choux pastry onto the tray (they should be roughly 3cm in diameter), leaving enough space for them to expand in the oven. Use a 3cm round cutter (or the wide end of a piping nozzle) to cut circles from the frozen craquelin and balance one on top of each mound of choux. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden, then turn off the oven and leave the buns inside to cool completely, so that they stay crisp. To make ahead, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, then crisp up again in the oven and leave to cool again.

    5. Once cool, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut each bun in half. Whip the cream and sugar together to soft peaks and spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle. Fill each choux bun with a layer of melted chocolate, a spoonful of cherry compote (or jam) and a layer of piped whipped cream, then pop the lids on. Drizzle with the remaining dark chocolate and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios before serving straight away. 

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