Homemade Dunes Blanche, An Ode to Bordeaux

homemade dunes blanche

Hello friends! I feel like I should start this post with a confession. Forgive me dear reader, for I have sinned, it has been 3-months since my last recipe post. I took a baking hiatus of sorts, but I’ve slowly been easing myself back in. First it was cookies from the freezer stash, followed by a once-off therapeutic puff pastry bake, a gradual return to regular bread making, and slowly but surely, a yearning to start baking properly again. I’m here today to share one of these proper bakes with you: Homemade Dunes Blanche, An Ode to Bordeaux. Aka: chouquettes with a crunchy top and a chantilly crème filling… Aka: the pastries that will have you so addicted, you’ll eat six in a row. You have been warned. Read on at your own peril.

what are dunes blanche?

WELL. Boyfriend & I had the pleasure of sampling one or two *cough* or several *cough* of these delectable little pastries at Chez Pascal in Bordeaux. Originally from the little seaside town of Cap-Ferrat – you can read the story of their conception here – here’s the low-down on the components of the delicious morsels:

• choux pastry. I don’t know about you guys, but I just love choux! Ours is made by combining butter, milk, water, a little sugar + vanilla extract, and some flour over the hob until paste-like. It then gets transferred to a stand-mixer, beaten until cool, and mixed with eggs. It’s a little more involved than your average bake, but it’s so worth it! Properly made choux bakes up brilliantly, creating perfectly hallow pastries that are ideal for filling with whatever your heart desires! Related: Blood Orange Choux au Craquelin.

• craquelin/pearl sugar. The original dunes blanche pastries are just topped with a heavy sprinkling of pearl sugar. However! For our homemade dunes blanche, I decided to take the crunch a level further by adding a craquelin imbedded with pearl sugar. Craquelin is ultimately just a thin cookie dough made of butter, sugar, flour, a little vanilla, and in this case, pearl sugar. It melts onto the choux in the oven, creating a lovely crunchy top. Crunch on crunch is ideal for these little cuties.

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• lighter-than-air cream filling. The actual filling of Dune Blanche is a secret only known to Pascal and his trusted bakers, and I’ve seen a couple different thoughts online about what the ingredients could be. Some add mascarpone, others whip in a crème pâtissière, but none of those felt right to me. I’ve opted to fill our homemade dunes blanche with a simple chantilly crème. Single cream, icing sugar, and a little vanilla extract whipped together until juuuuust set. It’s important not to over-whip the cream as we’re looking for a super light, cloud-like texture.

• icing sugar. A heavy handed dusting of icing sugar is a must – if you don’t have powdery white lips after your first bite then you need more! The icing sugar on top is so important because the choux pastry itself is quite low in sugar. Dust away!

Four simple components that come together to make one epic batch of homemade dunes blanche. Let’s get to it, shall we?

how to make homemade dunes blanche

Detailed instructions below on how to make choux pastry, but basically it goes a little like this. Make a roux on the stove top by combining water, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla extract and flour. Then, after a quick cooling-down period, eggs get incorporated into the batter. It sounds more complicated than it really is, and once you get the hang of it it’s a breeze! If you need more information: Joy can help.

I transferred my choux pastry into a piping bag and piped out 24 little 1-inch mounds. They’re so cute! I then used a wet fingertip to lightly flatten the top of the choux, before finishing them all off with a circle of craquelin. There are no photos of the craquelin making process, but that’s because there’s really nothing to it; throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Ta-dah!

homemade dunes blanche
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After a quick stint in the oven, the choux come out perfectly round and puffed. I used a chopstick to poke holes in the bottom of each for two reasons. One: it helps to let any extra steam escape. Two: we’ll need to poke a hole in them anyways to squirt in the filling, so we might as well do it now!

Once they’re completely cooled – which, mercifully, happens rather quickly – we can pipe in our light-as-air chantilly crème filling! Cream, sifted icing sugar, and a little vanilla extract all whipped together. I squeezed as much filling as possible into each homemade dunes blanche – and I may or may not have kept some on the side for dipping 😉

homemade dunes blanche

A hefty dusting of icing sugar later, the homemade dunes blanche are ready to eat! They’re crunchy, soft, slightly chewy, and filled with the most addictive chantilly crème ever – you’re going to love them!

They’re seriously addictive. By which I mean: I’m pretty sure I devoured eight or more over the course of the day. I regret nothing.

Happy baking! xo

P R I N T
5 from 1 vote

Homemade Dunes Blanche

An ode to the famous Chez Pascal Dunes Blanche. Small balls of choux, topped with a pearl sugar craquelin, and filled with a light-as-air chantilly crème!
Yield: 24 dunes blanche
Author: Vicki @ Passionate Baker Travels

INGREDIENTS

for the craquelin

  • 50 g salted butter, at room temp
  • 60 g plain flour
  • 60 g light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp pearl sugar, optional but recommended

for the choux dough

  • 63 g full fat milk
  • 63 g water
  • 55 g salted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 83 g flour
  • 120 g eggs, lightly beaten

for the filling

  • 250 g cream, cold
  • 50 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

to finish

  • icing sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS

for the craquelin

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl & mix together until uniform and smooth. Place between two sheets of parchment paper & roll out to 1/4-inch in thickness, or as thin as you can roll without cracking the pearl sugar.
  • Use a 1-inch circular cookie cutter to cut out 24 circles. Place the circles into the freezer until ready to use.

for the choux

  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using the same cookie cutter as you did for the craquelin, trace 24 circles on the baking sheet, leaving about 1-inches between each. Flip the baking sheet over so the drawings are on the underneath. Set aside.
  • Fit a large piping bag with a large round piping tip. Set aside.
  • In a medium pot, combine the milk, water, butter, vanilla extract, and sugar. Place the mixture over a medium heat & stir continuously until the butter has melted & the mixture has begun to boil. Remove the pot from the heat & add the flour all at once, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon into a thick paste.
  • Return to the heat, and, stirring constantly, cook the mixture for 2 minutes to help dry it out – there will be a fine layer on the bottom of the pot when it’s ready. Transfer choux dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment & mix on medium speed for 1 minute to help cool down.
  • With the mixture running on low, slowly stream in the eggs. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the egg is fully incorporated. The batter is ready when you dip the paddle into the mixture and it forms a v before breaking off.
  • Transfer the choux to the prepared piping bag & pipe out 24 circles onto the parchment. Flatten down with any points of dough with a damp fingertip.
  • Remove the craquelin from the freezer & carefully place each on top of a mound of choux.
  • Bake the puffs for 25 minutes at 180˚C, then turn the oven to 160˚C, and bake for a further 5 minutes, until deeply golden in colour. Remove from the oven and poke a small hole in the base of each – I used a chopstick. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

for the filling

  • In a medium bowl, whip the cream until thick. Add the icing sugar and beat together until stiff. Transfer the cream to a piping bag with a small nozzle attached. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

to assemble

  • When the choux are completely cool, pipe the whipped cream mixture into each through the hole in the base. Repeat with the remaining choux.
  • Generously dust the choux with a cloud of icing sugar, and eat immediately. Enjoy!

NOTES

  • ready made choux dough will last in the fridge for 3 days! Bake fresh Dune Blanche as you need them!
  • the lifespan of these little cuties is only a few short hours. The choux dough starts to absorb the moisture in the filling and loses it’s crispiness – eat them asap!
  • this will make more chantilly crème than you’ll need, but it will keep in the fridge for up to 3-days. It’s the perfect accompaniment to everything – cakes, sundaes, etc. 

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Please leave a comment & a rating below, or tag me on Instagram @imvcki. Thank you so much for supporting Passionate Baker!

related posts:

Blood Orange Choux au Craquelin
Vanilla Sugar Palmiers
Lemon & Blueberry Heart Pies



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