GBBO Recipe Challenge With Rob Allen (Patisserie Special)

by Owen Redford

GBBO recipe challenge! This week we welcome Rob Allen who co-runs both both the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong and the #TwitterBakeAlong. He takes on Patisserie week by making these amazing Craquelin Choux Buns with Lemon & Lime Cheesecake.

Name: Robert Allen
Occupation: None
Social Media: Twitter, Instagram

How did you get into Baking? 
Like a great deal of people, my first experience of baking, came from time spent with my Nanna. Watching and asking questions, then wanting to help. 
How long did the bake take from start to finish?
Approx 90 Minutes. Craquelin took 10 minutes to mix, then freezing time while the Choux pastry is made. Choux took 40 minutes to prep and 30 to cook.
What is your favourite thing about the bake?
As I have never tried making Craquelin before, this has to be the favourite part. The not knowing how my first attempt at this, would turn out. (That and seeing people enjoy the food, I produce too).
What was the hardest thing about the bake?
The Timings, were the hardest part. Getting the balance between the Choux being cooked without the Cracquelin getting burnt. 
Tell us more about the Twitter bake alongs.
For the past 2 years, I have co run #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong (during Bake Off) and #TwitterBakeAlong when Bake Off is finished. 
Through Twitter I have befriended many people but one especially, Jackie Heaton aka @thebakingnanna1 and together we organise and run the above twitter baking community. 
Through this, we’ve been invited to bake with some lovely people. Carol from @sugarandcrumbs has had us in her kitchen, for 2 Facebook Live events. Throughout the Summer, we’ve baked on stage with @restorationcake and guests (previous Bake Off and Masterchef contestants) at the FoodiesFestival, in Newcastle and Tatton Park. We’re back at Tatton Park for the Xmas food festival but first we have a slot with Homepride for the four days of the @cakeandbakeshow.


Recipe: Craquelin Choux Buns with Lemon & Lime Cheesecake. 

Craquelin Recipe & Choux Recipe 




30g light muscovado sugar

30g plain flour

28g salted soft butter


The Craquelin is used from frozen, so make this first: Put the sugar, flour and soft butter into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Once combined, bring the mixture together with your hands, making a soft, slightly sticky dough. Form into a thick disc and place between 2 sheets of baking paper. Roll out to the thickness of a pound coin then place the dough (still in the paper sandwich) on a flat shelf in the freezer while you make the choux pastry.

Choux Pastry:


65g/2½oz Plain flour, sifted

Pinch of salt

50g/2oz unsalted butter diced, plus extra for greasing

2 free-range eggs, beaten


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Generously grease a baking tray with butter

  1. Sift the flour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. 
  2. Put 60ml water and 60ml milk into a medium-sized pan with the salt and butter and heat gently until the butter has completely melted – don’t let the water boil and begin to evaporate. Quickly bring the mixture to the boil and tip in all the flour in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon – don’t worry, the mixture will look messy at first but will soon come together to make a smooth heavy dough.
  3. Put the pan back on a low heat and beat the dough for about a minute to slightly cook the dough – it should come away from the sides of the pan to make a smooth, glossy ball. Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool until tepid. 
  4. Beat the eggs in a jug until combined, then gradually beat them into the dough with a wooden spoon, (you may use a mixer, if you desire) beating well after each addition. (You may not need all the egg.) The dough should be very shiny and paste-like, and fall from a spoon when lightly shaken.
  5. Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1.25cm/½in plain nozzle and pipe circles onto the greased baking tray. 
  1. Sprinkle the tray, not the pastry, with a few drops of water. With a dampened finger, slightly flatten the spike on the piped Choux. Remove the craquelin from the freezer, peel off the top sheet of paper and stamp out 3cm discs of dough using a cutter. Place a disc on top of each choux mound. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, without opening the door, reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.
  1. Remove the tray from the oven and carefully make a small hole in the side of each Choux Bun to allow steam to escape. Return to the oven and bake for up to, a further five minutes. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want the Craquelin to burn. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cheesecake Filling


300g Philadelphia Cream Cheese

135ml Double Cream

50g Icing Sugar, (I use Sugar and Crumbs Lemon Drizzle icing)

Juice & zest of 1 Lime


  1. Grate the zest from the Lime and squeeze the juice from it, into a bowl. 
  2. Beat the Cream Cheese and icing together in a bowl. 
  3. Whisk the Double Cream, until it thickens slightly and then add to the cream cheese mix. 
  4. Pour the Lime juice and zest into the mixture and whisk until really creamy. 
  5. Put the Mixture into a piping bag, ready to fill the Choux Buns. 
  6. Once the Choux Buns have cooled, cut the end off the piping Bag. Make a small hole in the bottom of your Choux Buns and fill with the cheesecake. 
  7. Chill the Choux Buns and Cheesecake before serving. 


Thanks for reading and check back next week for the finale of our GBBO recipe challenges.

Happy baking!