Matt Moran shows us how to make a delicious dessert using choux pastry.
Preheat oven to 215?C fan-forced.
To make the choux pastry, trace a 16cm circle onto a sheet of baking paper. Turn paper over (circles will still be visible) and put on a large baking sheet. Place water and butter in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, remove from heat; then stir in flour and salt. Cook the dough over medium-high heat, stirring and flattening out dough on the base, for 2-3 minutes until it starts to come away from the sides of the pan and is shiny. Transfer the dough to an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the dough until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. With the motor running, add the eggs one by one, only adding the next when the dough has absorbed the previous one. Continue to mix on medium speed until smooth and glossy. Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a No. 11 star nozzle. Pipe a ring of choux dough on the outside of the traced circle on the baking paper sealing the ring with a swift flick of the wrist. Pipe a second ring around the outside of the first so that it’s touching the entire way around. Pipe a third ring into the join where the two bottom rings touch (it’s important to pay attention to the joins; if they’re not closed properly they will burst open during baking. (You will have choux pastry left over).
To make the egg wash, in a small cup beat together the egg, water and salt. Brush the egg wash on the top and sides of the choux ring. Sprinkle with flaked almonds to cover. Bake for 20 minutes; reduce the oven to 180 degrees celsius and cook for 15-20 minutes until deep golden. Using a paring knife, make some incisions to let some steam out. Return to oven at 140 degrees celsius for 10 minutes or until dried out. Remove from the oven, transfer choux ring to a wire rack and allow to cool.
To prepare the patisserie cream, bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, gently whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour in a bowl without incorporating too much air. Pour the milk over the top, a little at a time, and mix together. Pour into a clean large saucepan. Stir over medium heat with a flat spatula making sure the custard doesn’t stick to the base. Once the custard starts to thicken; lightly whisk until the custard is thick and just holds shape. Remove from the heat and push through a sieve into a swiss roll pan. Cover with go between and refrigerate for 30 minutes until cold.
For the praline paste, line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over a medium-high heat until the edges start to melt. Swirl the pan and continue heating until the sugar has melted completely and becomes a golden amber colour. Remove from heat, quickly stir through the almonds until coated in caramel. Turn out onto prepared tray spread into a single layer. Allow 10 minutes to set and cool, then break into pieces. Process the praline in the small bowl of a food processor for 7-8 minutes, stopping regularly to scrape down the sides, until smooth and creamy with a paste-like consistency. Measure out the required amount and chill until ready to use.
To make the almond cream, whisk the chilled patisserie cream until smooth. Meanwhile, using the paddle attachment beat the butter and praline paste in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the patisserie cream and beat until it holds shape. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a No. 11 star shaped nozzle.
To serve, using a serrated knife, cut the choux ring in half, horizontally. Pipe a single layer of almond cream over the cut side of one wheel, overlapping and creating swirls. Gently place the other half of choux pastry on top of the almond cream and dust with icing sugar. Makes 1.
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