These caramel apple profiteroles (or cream puffs) combine a lot of delicious elements to make a decadent dessert! The crispy profiteroles are filled with a salted caramel and apple pie creme patissiere, a tangy whipped cream, and topped with crumbly craquelin.
This recipe makes about 10 large profiteroles. Feel free to double the recipe or make smaller sized puffs!
A few notes: Craquelin is a simple dough that can be baked over profiteroles. Warning: when making the creme patissiere, it will not initially taste so good, because there is no sugar added in this recipe. However, you will soon be folding salted caramel into it, so do not fret, it will be full of sugary goodness! With the profiteroles, you are looking for a golden brown, crispy, and hollow puff.
- 50g unsalted butter, soft and at room temperature
- 50g granulated sugar
- 50g all purpose flour
- red food gel, optional
- 120g or 1/2 cup water
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 110g bread flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 eggs (you may not need all of them)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/4 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
***if you double this recipe, use 3 large egg yolks and one whole egg***
- 60g or 1/4 cup water
- 120g or 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
- 1g or 1/4 tsp salt
- 115g or 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
Apple Pie Filling
- 1 apple
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Whipped Cream (recipe from 365 Days of Baking & More)
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the craquelin: Using a spatula or a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Mix in the flour so that a smooth paste is formed. Mix in red food gel.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
- Collect dough into a ball and place between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll thin, about 3mm. Place in the freezer, on an even surface.
- Make the choux: Preheat oven to 415 F. Beat the four eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place the water, butter, salt, and sugar in a pot and let come to a boil. Add in the flour all at once and with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir vigorously. Continue mixing and cooking until a film of flour forms on the inner surface of the pot and the mixture comes together a ball. Transfer to a bowl and let cool (so the eggs do not cook when you add them).
- When the mixture has cooled add eggs **a little at a time**, and mix until fully incorporated. You may do this manually or with a mixer. Check the texture of the batter between each addition. If the texture is achieved, stop adding in the eggs. You are looking for a sticky batter that drops off the spatula reluctantly and makes a “V” shape. You should be able to stretch the batter between two fingers without it breaking.
- Pipe the choux onto a pan with parchment paper. Take out the craquelin, which should be frozen stiff, and cut out circles that are slightly larger than the width of the piped profiteroles.
- You can do this manually, but it is easier and neater with a cookie cutter.
- Place a craquelin disc on top of each profiterole.
- Bake the profiteroles for about 20 minutes, making sure NOT to open the oven early. Otherwise the steam, which causes them to rise, will escape, and you will be left with doughy (instead of hollow and crispy) puffs. You are looking for a golden brown, not pale, color.
- Turn the oven off, and leave the profiteroles to dry out for 20-30 minutes. You may open the oven door slightly to help them cool down.
- Make the creme patissiere: Place eggs and cornstarch into a large bowl and whisk until mixture is pale, thick, and smooth.
- Add milk and vanilla to pot on medium heat, lightly stirring, and bring to a boil.
- Pour the milk into the egg mixture slowly in a continuous stream while whisking vigorously.
- Pouring the hot milk tempers the egg mixture, preventing the custard from becoming scrambled eggs when heated again. Continuous whisking ensures that the eggs are heated at an even temperature and do not get cooked.
- Pour the mixture back into the pot and place on low heat. Whisk vigorously and continuously as it thickens. Take custard of the heat after it has boiled.
- Because you are only making a small amount of custard, it can curdle quickly. Make sure the stove is on very low heat and watch mixture closely.
- Pour hot custard into a glass bowl and let cool.
- If the custard is overcooked and does not have a smooth consistency, but the taste is good, no worries! Pour the custard into the bowl through a strainer to achieve a smooth texture.
- Make the salted caramel: Place water, salt, and sugar in a pot, on medium heat. Mix occasionally, to ensure it is homogeneous, and let come to a boil.
- After mixture boils, reduce the heat to low, and do NOT touch the mixture (otherwise, it will crystallize). When the mixture turns into a dark amber (third picture), take off the heat, pour in the cold heavy cream, and mix. Continue heating and mixing for a few more minutes, until the caramel is thick and at the desired color (last picture).
- Make the apple pie filling: Melt butter onto a pan on medium heat and add rest of the ingredients. Stir frequently. Cook until apples are softened, most liquid is gone, and thick syrup coats apples.
- Fold in the salted caramel and apple pie filling into the creme patissiere. When it reaches room temperature, press plastic wrap to the surface of the custard (to avoid a skin forming), and refrigerate.
- Make the whipped cream: Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy and smooth. Set aside.
- Separately, beat cold cream until it reaches soft peaks. Add in cream cheese mixture in thirds, beating between each addition. Continue beating until mixture is uniform, smooth, and at stiff peaks. Refrigerate.
- Do not over-beat, or the cream will curdle!
- Assembly: Gently cut off the top of the profiteroles and pipe in the creme patissiere and whipped cream. Pipe the whipped cream higher than the opening of the profiterole, and place the top back on. Do not be shy with the fillings! they would not be cream puffs without heaps of cream 😉