There is a super cute term of affection in French, ‘Mon Petit Chou’ which literally means my small cabbage or more a term for sweetheart. On my recent trip to Paris, I tried my first Choux de Creme (choux buns filled with delicious custards, cracked surface and flouncy tops) at Popelini. From the first sight, I knew I wanted to have a go at making my very own little treats on my return from my foodie adventures. I thought that the phrase ‘mon petit chou’ sums up the craggy surface of these buns looking like the leaves of a savoy cabbage with a sweetheart centres.
To bring standard choux buns to the next level, why not try adding a craquelin topping, a disc of butter, sugar and flour that melts and crispens up on baking to give a crunchy surface. Not only does it pimp the buns but makes them look a lot more consistent and if you’re not the most confident with your piping skills then this topping masks plenty of ugliness.
- Choux Pastry
- – 110g plain flour
- – 80ml water
- – 4 tbsp milk
- – 55g salted butter
- – 3 large free range eggs
- Craquelin Topping
- – 33g salted butter
- – 33g soft brown sugar
- – 33g plain flour
- Toblerone Creme Patisserie
- – 100g Toberlone chocolate, chopped (or praline chocolate)
- – 200ml whole or semi- skimmed milk
- – 50g caster sugar
- – 2 large free-range egg yolks
- – 20g cornflour
- To Decorate
- – sugar flowers
- – royal icing
- To Make the Craquelin Topping-
- In a stand mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy, beat in the sugar and then the flour. It will form a firm dough. Between two sheets of parchment, roll the dough to the thickness of a 10p coin and place in the freezer until ready to bake your buns.
- To Make the Choux Buns-
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. In a medium saucepan, put the milk, butter and water in a pan and bring slowly to the boil over a medium heat, until the butter has just melted.
- When the mixture is bubbling, remove quickly from the heat, tip in the flour all at once and beat vigorously until it forms a dough that leaves the side of the pan clean. Return to the heat and cook over a low heat for at least 5 minutes.
- Leave to cool slightly, then gradually beat in the lightly beaten eggs, beating well between each addition until the dough is smooth and glossy. Spoon the dough into a disposable piping bag, and snip off the tip to make a generous hole. Pipe 4cm wide blobs of the dough on the baking sheets, well spaced as will spread.
- Remove the topping from the freezer and using a round biscuit cutter (4cm wide) cut out discs and top each choux dough blob with a disc of the topping.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and bake for a further 10 minutes until they are well-risen and golden-brown. Once baked, remove from the oven and immediately and pierce the bottoms of the buns with a chopstick and return to the oven to dry out for approximately 3-4 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
- To Make the Toberlone Creme Patisserie –
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.
- Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together in a large bowl. Pour a little of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well-combined, whisking all the time. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture becomes thick. Add the chopped Toblerone and stir until it’s melted.
- Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Place in the fridge until chilled.
- To Assemble-
- Spoon the creme patisserie into a disposable piping bag, snip the tip and pipe the filling in the hole on the bottom of the buns that was made by the chopstick. Some of the nougat and nuts from the chocolate may clog the piping bag but give it a squeeze.
- Using the royal icing with a small nozzle pipe tiny dots on the surface of the buns and secure the sugar flowers on top.
- Enjoy mon petit chou!
Have fun with the different flavour creme patisseries and the differnt toppings on offer.
Enjoy mon petit chou!
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