Fiori di Sicilia Cream Puffs - Gluten Free


For the gluten-free craquelin:

  • 80g gluten-free flour blend
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 80g light brown soft sugar
  • 70g unsalted butter, softened

For the gluten-free choux pastry:

  • 150g gluten-free plain flour blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 125g whole milk
  • 125g water
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 to 5 medium free-range eggs

For the creme diplomat:

  • 250ml whole milk
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 3 medium free-range egg yolks 
  • 20g cornflour
  • 25g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4-5 drops of Fiori di Sicilia extract
  • 300ml double cream

To decorate:

  • 20g glace cherries, finely chopped
  • 25g pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 large piece of candied lemon peel, cut into fine strips
  • 1 large piece of candied orange peel, cut into fine strips


To make the gluten-free craquelin:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir together until you have a smooth dough. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper until 2mm thick and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

To make the gluten-free choux pastry:

  1. Heat the oven to 200ºC, 180ºC fan and line two baking sheets with parchment. Sift the flour and xanthan gum together in a bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the flour, quickly. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth. Cook the mixture for a few more minutes, until it comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. This is called making the panade. Transfer the panade to a large bowl and using an electric whisk, beat for a couple of minutes to allow some steam to escape and for it to cool.
  3. Whisk 4 eggs together in a jug and beat them into the panade in 4-5 batches, whisking well after each addition, until the eggs have been fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and check in often. The final batter should be smooth and glossy, thick but pipeable - when you hold the mixture up on a spatula it should create a reluctant ‘v’ shape. If the mixture feels too stiff, add a little of the fifth egg.
  4. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe 12 mounds of the choux pastry onto the first lined baking sheet, roughly 4cm wide and 4cm tall. Space them the same width apart as they’ll puff up during cooking. Repeat with the second tray.
  5. Punch out 4cm discs of the chilled craquelin and delicately place one on the top of each choux. Put both filled trays into the oven, reduce the temperature to 190ºC, 170ºC fan and bake the choux buns for 40 minutes, rotating them halfway through, until risen and golden brown. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the trays. If you’re unsure if the choux buns are dry enough inside (you want them to be dry-ish so that they don’t collapse and ruin all of your hard work), pick a sacrificial bun and break it in half to check. If too moist, place it back in the oven to bake a few minutes longer.

To make the crème diplomat:

  1. Add the milk to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat. Meanwhile, add the sugar and egg yolks to a medium bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk together until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and whisk for a further minute until smooth.
  2. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan, place it back over medium-high heat and continue to whisk and cook the mixture until it starts to bubble and thicken - this should take 2-3 minutes.
  3. Place a sieve over a clean bowl and using a spatula, push the thick cream through it to remove any lumps.
  4. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time.
  5. Cover the surface of the pastry cream to prevent it from forming a skin and allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add the Fiori di Sicilia extract to the cream and whisk it to medium peaks. Whisk the pastry cream once more to loosen it and fold the two together - you’ve just made crème diplomat!
  6. Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle.

To assemble the cream puffs:

  1. Cut the top third off of each cooled choux bun and line up bases next to one another. Pipe a generous swirl of Fiori di Sicilia crème diplomat onto each.
  2. Top a third of the cream swirls with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios and another third with a sprinkle of chopped glace cherries, leaving the final third as-is. Pair each base with a choux bun top.
  3. Pipe a small kiss of crème diplomat onto the tops of the final third and decorate with a few pieces of candied peel. Place all of the cream puffs onto a platter and serve.

Recipe and imagery by Emma Hatcher @shecanteatwhat