key lime pie cream puffs

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Key lime pie cream puffs make the perfect summer dessert! Inspired by classic Key lime pie, these cream puffs are the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. Featuring bright lime curd, creamy mascarpone whipped cream, and graham craquelin, these bites are simply irresistible!

Key Lime Pie Cream Puffs

Better Baking Academy

I’m so excited to share this recipe today as part of Better Baking Academy, a year-long educational series to become a better baker created by my friends at Bake from Scratch and Bob’s Red Mill. Each month features a new recipe and step-by-step tutorials delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s not too late to join and get your bake on! Sign up here to start baking today (and here’s an overview of the previous modules):

Now, let’s bake Key lime pie cream puffs!

Key Lime Pie Cream Puffs

How to Make Key Lime Pie Cream Puffs

Lime Curd – Sweet and tangy lime curd brightens up these cream puffs. To make the lime curd, combine fresh Key lime zest and juice, granulated sugar, and eggs in a heavy saucepan. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened.

Gradually add butter to the pan, and continue cooking until curd is smooth, slightly thickened, and coats the back of a spoon. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and press a piece of plastic directly on the surface. Chill lime curd until cold (curd can also be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use). If you can’t find fresh Key limes, you can also substitute regular limes.

Graham Craquelin – Craquelin is a sweet dough that is made in a food processor, then rolled out, chilled until firm, and punched into disks. The frozen sweet dough caps each puff, adding a streusel-like coating. Flavored with crushed graham crackers and cinnamon, the crunchy coating is inspired by graham cracker crust (and so delicious!).

Choux Pastry – Also known as Pâte à Choux, choux pastry is a light pastry dough that’s easy to make at home and becomes the base for many French pastries, including éclairs, profiteroles, and cream puffs!

To make the choux pastry, combine unsalted butter, water, whole milk, granulated sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, then stir in Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour (or Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, like I’ve used here) with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring constantly, until a skin forms on bottom of pan and mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a stand mixer and beat at low speed until dough cools slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. The pâte à choux is ready when the batter is smooth and shiny and slowly moves back together when a spatula is dragged through it.

Pipe pâte à choux about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Top each piped choux puff with a frozen craquelin disk right before going in the oven. Place one baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pan, and bake until fully puffed and deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Repeat baking process with remaining baking sheet(s).

Key Lime Pie Cream Puffs

Mascarpone Whipped Cream – Lightly sweetened mascarpone whipped cream makes a nice counterpoint to the tangy lime curd. To make the whipped cream, place cold mascarpone cheese into a chilled mixer bowl fitted with wire whip attachment. Beat mascarpone for 1 minute on medium-low speed, then slowly stream in heavy cream while mixer is running.

Once heavy cream is added, increase mixing speed to high and beat until medium peaks form. Mix in vanilla and confectioners’ sugar on low speed until incorporated and the texture resembles buttercream frosting. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a closed star piping tip.

Assemble Cream Puffs – Use a serrated knife to cut off the top quarter of each choux puff. Pipe a dollop of mascarpone cream into each puff, then add a spoonful of lime curd. Pipe another spiral of cream onto each puff and place cut top piece on top of piped cream. Serve cream puffs immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat (best enjoyed the same day). If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

For more tips and step-by-step photos on baking cream puffs, follow the Better Baking Academy module for Pâte à Choux here. Happy baking!

Key Lime Pie Cream Puffs

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Key Lime Pie Cream Puffs

  • Author: Laura | Tutti Dolci
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 36 cream puffs
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: French

Description

Key lime pie cream puffs make the perfect dessert! Inspired by Key lime pie, these cream puffs are filled with lime curd and mascarpone whipped cream!


Ingredients

Lime Curd

  • 2 tsp (2 g) Key lime zest
  • 6 Tbsp (80 g) fresh Key lime juice
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 g), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Craquelin

  • 1/4 cup (33 g) finely crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup (125 g) Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup (147 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 10 Tbsp (140 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Choux Pastry

  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cubed 
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) water
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) whole milk
  • 2 tsp (8 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (1.5 g) salt
  • 1 cup (125 g) Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 large eggs (250 g), room temperature

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 8 oz (226 g) cold mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup (226 g) cold heavy cream
  • 1 tsp (4 g) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. Lime Curd: Whisk together Key lime zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a heavy saucepan. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Add butter a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly until melted before adding more butter. Continue until curd is smooth and thickened, and coats the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes total).
  2. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic directly on the surface, and chill until cold – at least one hour (curd can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use).
  3. Craquelin: Pulse together graham cracker crumbs, flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until combined. Add cold butter, and process until mixture starts to clump together, about 60 seconds. Pulse until large clumps form and mixture sticks together when pinched, 5 to 6 pulses.
  4. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface, and knead 2 to 3 times to bring together. Press into a disk. Place dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, and roll to ⅛-inch thickness. Place on a baking sheet, and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Using a 1 3/4-inch round cutter, cut out disks of dough. Store disks on a baking sheet or in a resealable plastic bag in freezer until ready to use (craquelin disks can be made ahead of time and kept long-term in the freezer for whenever you want to make choux puffs).
  6. Choux Pastry: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 to 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a permanent marker and a 2-inch round cutter as a guide, draw circles at least 2 inches apart on another sheet of parchment paper; slide template under parchment on a prepared pan. 
  7. In a medium saucepan, bring butter, ½ cup (120 grams) water, milk, sugar, and salt to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until a skin forms on bottom of pan and mixture pulls from sides of pan and forms a ball, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat at low speed until dough cools slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Batter will be shiny and will slowly move back together when a spatula is dragged through it.
  9. Transfer batter to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip (Wilton 1A). Place piping tip in center of a drawn circle. Hold tip perpendicular 1/2-inch above parchment paper. Holding tip stationary the entire time, apply even pressure until batter reaches edges of drawn circle. Stop applying pressure, and move tip in a quick circular motion as you lift away to help prevent a point from forming on top. Wet your finger with water, and press down any points to create a smooth top, if necessary. Repeat with remaining batter until pan is full. Slide template out from under piped batter, and place under parchment on other prepared pans; pipe remaining batter.
  10. Top each piped choux puffs with a frozen craquelin disk right before going in oven.
  11. Bake in batches for 10 minutes. Rotate pan, and bake until fully puffed and deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool completely on pan.
  12. Mascarpone Whipped Cream: Place cold mascarpone cheese into a chilled mixer bowl fitted with wire whip attachment. Beat mascarpone for 1 minute on medium-high speed (speed 5-6 on a stand mixer). Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly stream in heavy cream while the mixer is running.
  13. Once heavy cream is added, increase mixing speed to high (speed 8-9) and beat until medium peaks form. Turn off the mixer and add vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Beat on low speed until incorporated and the texture resembles buttercream frosting. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a closed star piping tip.
  14. Assemble: Using a serrated knife, cut off top quarter of each choux puff and set aside. Pipe a dollop of mascarpone cream into each puff. Top with a spoonful of Key lime curd. Pipe another spiral of cream onto each puff, placing cut top piece on top of piped cream. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Best served same day.
  15. If storing Choux, store in a loosely covered container to prevent the pastry from going soggy.


Notes

Make ahead: Lime curd can be made 1-2 days in advance and kept chilled. Craquelin can be made ahead and stored long-term in the freezer for whenever you want to make choux puffs.

Key Limes: If you can’t find fresh Key limes, you can also substitute regular limes.

Keywords: Lime, Cream Puffs, Choux Pastry, Craquelin

Key Lime Pie Cream Puffs

This recipe is created in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill and Bake from Scratch. All opinions expressed are my own.

6 comments
  1. Oh, yum! Have not made cream puffs in years. After seeing them done with craquelin on the Great British Baking Show, I’ve wanted to know more about craquelin. This recipe is a lovely adaptation of the one on Bake from Scratch–to which I’ve now subscribed. Thanks for telling us about it, and for this recipe, Laura. Wish I had an occasion to serve dessert to friends–hopefully soon!–as these aren’t something you can put in the freezer for later. I will, however, try the gougères in the Bake from Scratch lesson for our next socially distanced happy hour.

  2. Great as is!
    However, I thought graham top might go with a S’mores style…sooo!
    I filled with chilled chocolate from pots de’creme and added homemade marshmallow- slight blowtorch and topped with Craquelin… yum!

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