Torsades au chocolat are a much-loved custard and chocolate-filled pastry from France. Flaky puff pastry twists around a filling of creamy custard and melted dark chocolate. They’re perfect for breakfast, after school, afternoon coffee, you name it.
These are the sort of thing that always catches my eye at the bakery when I’m only supposed to be picking up bread. Inevitably, one will make its way into my order and will be enjoyed as breakfast or for mid-morning–they’re so good I don’t know if I could wait until l’heure du goûter (teatime). Don’t worry if your twists are a bit misshapen the first time you make them – practice makes perfect. Yes, I am giving you permission to make these more than once to get them just right!—Mardi Michels
Chocolate Pastry Twists FAQs
The worst enemy of custard-filled puff pastry is time. These are best enjoyed the day they are made as they’ll slowly lose their gorgeous, crispy, flakiness and become trés soggy overnight.
In order to keep those light, flaky layers, you need to keep the butter from melting. The butter is what helps to create all those gorgeous layers in the oven, by melting and leaving air pockets. If you notice that your puff pastry is getting too warm while working with it, just pop it back into the fridge until it chills enough.
Of course, you can. On the internet, you can do nearly anything–and here are our instructions. But if you decide to follow the author’s lead, don’t feel any guilt about using the pre-made stuff. Just buy the best you can find. You know, the kind with butter, flour, and little else.
Torsades au Chocolat ~ Chocolate Pastry Twists
For the pastry cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
For the twists
- 1 sheet (8 oz) store-bought puff pastry thawed but chilled
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped semisweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
- 1 large egg lightly beaten for egg wash
For the glaze
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Make the pastry cream
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a separate medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolk, sugar, and cornstarch together.
- Once the milk has just reached a boil, pour a couple of teaspoons of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined.
- Slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk, whisking constantly.
- Set the saucepan over medium heat, continuing to whisk constantly. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken slightly and produce slow large bubbles, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. If your mixture has overcooked a little bit and you have bits of cooked egg in your custard, strain the custard into a clean bowl using a fine-mesh sieve.
- Whisk in the vanilla, then the butter, until completely incorporated.
- Scrape the custard into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap (the wrap should be touching the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming), and allow the custard to come to room temperature. If not using immediately, refrigerate until you are ready to use. Before you use it, you might have to give the custard a whisk to loosen it.
Assemble and bake the twists
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190°C) and have a rimmed baking sheet ready.
- Roll your pastry out on parchment paper until it’s approximately 12-by-12 inches (30-by-30 cm).
- Spread the pastry cream over the entire surface of the pastry.
- Sprinkle the chocolate over one half of the pastry and fold the other half of the pastry to cover it.
- With the open end of the pastry facing you (you’ll have a rectangle of 12-by-6 inches [30-by-15 cm]), cut strips of the pastry approximately 2 inches (5 cm) wide.
- Lift the parchment onto a rimmed baking sheet and separate the pastry strips slightly.
- Twist the pastry strips in one direction at one end and in the other direction at the other end to make a twist. Make two twists at each end. Some of the chocolate might fall out–but just press it back into the pastry cream. Make sure your twists have a lot of room between them on the baking sheet.
- Lightly brush the twists with the beaten egg, avoiding the pastry cream and chocolate edge of the pastry.
- Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the twists from the oven, leaving them on the baking sheet.
- In a small heatproof bowl, stir the boiling water and sugar together and brush the still hot twists with the sugar water. This will dry as they cool and will make them lovely and shiny.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These torsades au chocolat are a show stopper. They require little effort and look and taste like they came out of the pastry case of a French bakery.
The pastry is light and crisp. The pastry cream is subtle; double the recipe for pastry cream if you would like it to play a larger role. I chose to cut shards and small chunks of chocolate from a block of high-quality semi-sweet chocolate. The total package makes a delicious and impressive dessert or wonderful pastry with afternoon tea. They are best made and eaten on the same day.
These were magnifique! This is a quick and easy pastry for when you need a little bit of Paris in your life. I love a chocolate croissant every now and then but have never had the time to make them from scratch. These torsades au chocolat are a wonderful substitute.
I made the first batch as the recipe instructed, and they were delicious (and gone in a matter of minutes!). I decided to make another batch the next day to use up the remaining puff pastry and this time I doubled the pastry cream because I felt that the cream was overpowered by the chocolate a bit. The taste of the cream was definitely more prominent in the second batch. This makes 6, which should be 6 servings, but in this house, 6 was 3 servings, so plan accordingly–you can’t eat just one!
Originally published November 19, 2021