Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing


 
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean

Hi hi from Montauk! We are up here for  few days with Richard's Mum and Sisters who are over visiting from home! So far we've eaten a couple of giant salads made with ingredients from the local farm stand, a few fish tacos, and have indulged in a lot of blobbing about. It's going to be so nice to have a wee break from the city!

I just wanted to pop by and share this recipe with you while we are still in stone fruit season here in the states, although it can be made with a jar of your fave preserves. I had some extra puff pastry left over from a project, and a bowl full of amazingly fresh apricots, so pop tarts really were a great mistake waiting to happen. This recipe is incredibly versatile and can really be made with any type of puff pastry - fresh or home made, or a store bought jam, or one you have made yourself. However you choose to make them, I promise they will be delicious. If you haven't made your own jam before I really do encourage you to give it a try - it's super easy and the most amazing way to preserve fruit when it is at its peak long after the season ends. And you can't go wrong with the butteriest, flakiest of puff pastries, and a vanilla bean icing. Enjoy!

A few wee tips:

  • The apricot jam does take some time to cool, so ensure that you leave time for this. If you need it to cool faster, you can place it into a shallow dish to increase the surface area. 
  • Make sure you sterilise your jars and lids - I like to put the jars in the oven at about 300˚f for 15 mins to kill off any germs. I then put the lids in boiling water and leave them in there until I am ready to use them.
  • This recipe is easily customisable - you can use store bought puff, and definitely can use a regular store bought jar of jam or preserves inside. 
  • It is also very easy to scale - the recipe makes about 3 jars of jam, so make as few or as many as you like. They do freeze very well too - freeze until solid then transfer to an airtight container, then bake when you are ready. 
  • I use a homemade puff pastry in this recipe because that is what I had leftover, but since making and shooting these I have also been playing around with a rough puff pastry recipe which is a bit easier to make and just as delicious, so you could absolutely use that too.
  • Apparently people put pop tarts in the toaster? I definitely wouldn't recommend that with these - if you would like to reheat, a few minutes in a preheated oven would help crisp them up a little - just bear in mind the icing might get a bit melty.
 

 

Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing

- Makes about 9 pop tarts -

Pastry Recipe via The Fearless Baker, Apricot jam filling slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

Pastry
1/2 recipe Homemade puff pastry, or 1/2 recipe of Rough Puff pastry, or about 700g good quality store bought puff pastry (the filling recipe makes more than enough jam, so this can be easily scaled depending on how many you want to make, and they freeze very well)

Apricot Jam Filling
1kg apricots, pit removed and roughly chopped
60g (1/4 cup) water
600g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch of kosher salt
Juice of half a lemon

Vanilla Bean Icing
150g Powdered sugar, Sifted
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp milk 

- PROCESS -

APRICOT JAM FILLING

Place a small plate in the freezer to use later to check the gelling of the jam. 

In a Large heavy bottomed pot (I used a dutch oven), bring the apricots and water to a gentle boil, and then cook, stirring often, until the fruit is tender. 

Add the sugar and cook, stirring often, until it is starting to reduce slightly, or reaches 105˚c / 220˚f on a candy thermometer. Skim off any foam if it develops.This generally takes me about 15-20 minutes, and I prefer to use the thermometer method and double check with the plate method.

To double check if the jam is done, place about a tablespoon on the frozen plate, then return to the freezer for 2-3 minutes (remove the jam from the heat while you wait to ensure that it does not overcook). Give the jam on the plate a little nudge with your finger - if it wrinkles, it is done. 

Ladle the finished jam into the sterilised jars, and screw the lids on tightly. Allow to cool completely, then store in the fridge.

 

ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 375˚f / 190˚c. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle. If you are worried about it getting too warm and soft, you can cut it in half and do this in two parts. Using a ruler and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the pastry into 3" x 4" rectangles (7cm x 10cm). You should get approximately 18 rectangles. Place the cut rectangles carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 mins to help firm up the pastry slightly. 

Remove the pastry rectangles from the fridge and match up into pairs. Lightly brush the edges of one piece of pastry with egg wash, then place about a tablespoon of apricot jam in the centre. Top with a second piece of pastry, pressing down lightly around the edges to seal, ensuring that there are no air bubbles. Use the tines of a fork to press down around the edges to help seal. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rectangles of pastry until all the pop tarts are assembled. 

Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer, and freeze the pop tarts for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer, and brush lightly with egg wash. 

Bake the pop tarts for 30-35 minutes, until puffy and golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. 

ICING

Combine all of the icing ingredients in a small bowl until a spreadable consistency. Add more powdered sugar or cream if necessary. Spoon over the pop tarts and garnish with sprinkles if desired. 

Best eaten on the same day that they are made. 

Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream


 
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter

I'm gonna start this post off by apologising. I've been sitting on this recipe for far longer than is fair. You need this recipe in your life. It's a Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart, which is topped with a Peanut Butter Whipped Cream. Sounds like a mouthful? Wait until you have the actual thing in your mouth. 

I made this a month or so ago to take to a friend's house. I always get excited when we go places for dinner, not because we have no friends (maybe that too? It's the little things, lol), but because it gives me an excuse to make something super elaborate and actually have people there to eat it! As per usual I was put on dessert duty, and i've been wanting to try a chocolate peanut butter tart for a long time, so here we are. 

This was insanely easy to make, everyone went back for thirds, and it was just as amazing the next day. A chocolate tart like this is a great wee recipe to have up your sleeve - it is super easy to prepare in advance, and always, always a crowd pleaser. You could leave out the peanut butter and hit it with a big dollop of whipped cream, or just leave it as is, and sprinkle a little salt over the top to have a plain chocolate tart. The possibilities are endless. You should make it. It's crazy easy, but you're going to look super fancy. Promise. 

A few wee tips:

  • The crust for this is a graham cracker crust, made into a 'chocolate' crust by adding some cocoa. I have a brown butter graham cracker situation here too if that's more your jam. 
  • This can absolutely be made ahead by at least a day - but add the peanut butter whipped cream on the day that you serve. 
  • Good quality chocolate really makes a difference here. I usually go for something about 70% cocoa solids, but if you wanted a slightly more mellow chocolate taste, milk chocolate would work great too.
  • Good quality peanut butter also makes this taste extra yum - go for something that is just peanuts and salt. I used Pic's in this - a brand from my hometown in NZ! You can get it on Amazon too. 
  • If you're in a place where Graham Crackers aren't easy to find, digestive biscuits work great. 
  • I used an ateco #866 tip on the top of this. French star tips are my secret weapon - I have a bunch of them and highly recommend!
 

 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream 

- Makes one 9" tart, serves 10-12 people -

Peanut Butter Whipped Cream from "The Fearless Baker"

Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
2 sleeves (290g) graham crackers or similar biscuit
1/4 cup (35 grams) cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
135g unsalted butter, melted

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filling
550g good quality dark chocolate
180g smooth peanut butter
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
380g heavy cream

Peanut Butter Whipped Cream
135g (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter
25g  (2 Tbsp) Granulated Sugar
121g (1/2 cup) heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

- PROCESS -

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place all the ingredients except for the butter in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the graham crackers resemble crumbs and the mixture is well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the melted butter.

Evenly press the crust into a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Use a glass or measuring cup to help you press it against the sides of the pan. Place the pan onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes, then allow to cool completely. 

DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

Place the chocolate, peanut butter, butter and salt into a large heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan, and warm over low heat until just shy of a simmer - you should see movement around the edges of the cream. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter, and cover the bowl with a lid or plate. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes, then whisk vigorously to combine. The mixture will look like it has split to begin with but keep whisking - it will come together and go glossy.

Pour the chocolate filling into the cooled crust. Place in the fridge for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the filling has set completely.

PEANUT BUTTER WHIPPED CREAM

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the peanut butter and sugar on medium - high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and continue whipping until the mixture reaches medium peaks. Watch carefully to ensure you do not split the cream. Scrape down the bowl if necessary. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip. Pipe blobs of peanut butter cream over the surface of the tart.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut with a slightly warmed knife. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream - a chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a silky dark chocolate peanut butter filling and finished with a creamy peanut butter whipped cream. Everyone needs a recipe like this up their sleeve to wow their friends. Easy to make ahead, and always a crowd pleaser. #chocolatetart #peanutbuttertart #chocolate #peanutbutter

Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle


 
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle
Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle

Confession time. I feel like I've been missing out for a very long time. Missing out on how insanely, amazingly, delicious choux pastry is, and how easy it is to make. For some reason it was filed squarely away in my list of 'things that are difficult to make', and i'm totally bummed out that it was there for so long. Maybe it was the french name. Maybe it's because the last time I tried to make it, I carefully piped out a whole tray of 'eclairs' before Dad pointed out I had accidentally piped out things that were definitely more phallic than originally intended. Or maybe just because I thought it was tricky. But I dunno why it was there for so long. Because not only is it fun, and easy to make, but it is ridiculously versatile. You can fill it with whatever you please, or just eat the buns as they are. Both are amazing. You need to make. 

And seeing as this is the first choux recipe I have posted, it seems only fair and reasonable that I go all out, right? Why would I share a simple cream puff recipe, filled with whipped cream, when I can take a cream puff, add a layer of crunchy delicious cookie dough before it is baked, and then fill it with caramelised bananas, pecan brittle, and caramelised white chocolate whipping ganache? If we are going to have fun with cream puffs round here, we might as well do it properly. 

My mind was low key blown by a few things here. The first was the addition of the craquelin. I had seen it before, and assumed it was a super fancy technique. I was amazed to learn that it was simply a very thin layer of cookie dough, frozen, and placed in a disc on the piped out choux mound before it is baked. As the choux bun bakes in the oven, and somehow magically puffs up, the craquelin melts and spreads over the surface of the bun, creating the most beautiful crackly finish. 

The second was the whipping ganache. When I was planning out this recipe, I turned to my amazing friend Lisa, who is a pastry chef in London. Not only is she insanely talented, but she puts up with me bombing her with questions about flavour profiles, recipes, and plating on the regular, and still hasn't told me to go away. This time in particular, she sent through a recipe for a whipping ganache, which I hadn't heard of before. It is similar to a regular ganache, except it is stabilised with a little corn syrup (or glucose), and a second measure of cream is added after the chocolate and cream have been melted together. Once it has rested in the fridge, it is whipped up. The result is amazingly light, and almost mousse-like. I'm hooked. Gonna add whipping ganache to everything now. 

When I started planning this, I knew that I wanted to find a way to incorporate my current obsession - Valrhona's Dulcey Chocolate. It is a caramelised white chocolate, which is one of the most amazing things I have ever come across. They describe it as "creamy and toasty", which is the perfect description. I am not typically a white chocolate fan, but I am full-on addicted to this stuff. I used it in the whipping ganache, and it gave it the perfect flavour - not too sweet, and not too overpowering. It was the perfect base to add to, which I did - adding a layer of caramelised banana, and a pecan brittle in the bottom of each choux bun, before topping with a big swirl of the ganache.

And OH MY. The result was insane. The crispy cream puff, the smooth silky whipping ganache, the delicate banana flavour, and the crunch from the pecan brittle, all combined to make the perfect mouthful. I will definitely be making these again. I know they look ridiculous and intimidating, but I promise that when you break down all the steps, it is 100% worth it and they aren't as scary to make as they look! I hope you give them a try! Let me know if you have any questions at all! 

A few wee tips:

  • I have included an extra 'just in case' egg in the ingredients. The reason that this is in there, is that sometimes you need to add extra egg to the pastry if necessary. You want the mixture to be at a consistency where if you dip in the beater of the mixer, the batter will form a 'v' shape and eventually break off. If it is too stiff, and breaks off very quickly, you may need to add another beaten egg, and mix again, before performing the test. 
  • This article from Erin Mcdowell explains everything so well, as per usual! 
  • I made the pecan brittle and the ganache the day before, as the brittle needs time to set, and the ganache needs overnight or 12 hours to mature.
  • Leave all the components separate until just before you serve. If you have leftover components, store them all separately, and then assemble as needed.
  • My oven really only takes one tray at a time, so I piped out both trays of choux, then only topped them with the craquelin when I was ready to bake. Store the craquelin in the freezer until you are ready to use. 
  • Choux Freezes! Freeze the cream puffs just after they have been piped out, then once solid, place in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Bake off as usual.
  • These can be filled with anything you like! The Choux au Craquelin is the perfect vehicle for any filling you like. I filled some with mascarpone whipped cream, and they were amazing! 
 

 

Choux au Craquelin with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Praline Brittle

- Makes about 12 Cream Puffs -

Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache
335g Heavy Whipping Cream
75g light corn syrup
450g Caramelised White Chocolate (I used Valrhona's Dulcey)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch salt
335g Heavy Whipping Cream, cold

Pecan Brittle
200g (1 cup) Sugar
150g (1/2 c) Corn Syrup
60g (1/4 cup) water
1/2 tsp salt
175g Pecans
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp baking soda
Flaky Sea Salt to Finish

Craquelin
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120g all-purpose flour
120g dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Choux Pastry
125g whole milk
125g water
110g unsalted butter, cubed
5g Kosher Salt
5g vanilla bean paste
15g Sugar
165g All-purpose flour
240g eggs, lightly beaten, plus more if required (see tips)

Caramelised bananas
5-6 ripe but firm bananas
200g (1 cup) sugar
Butter for the pan

 

- PROCESS -

CARAMELISED WHITE CHOCOLATE WHIPPING GANACHE

In a small pan over medium heat, combine the first measure of cream, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. 

Bring the cream mixture to just shy of a boil, then pour over the chocolate, and immediately cover the bowl with a plate. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then whisk the mixture until smooth. Gradually add the second measure of cream, whisking very well to incorporate. Transfer to an airtight container, and place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the ganache, then rest in the fridge for at least 12 hours to allow to mature. 

PECAN BRITTLE

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake for approx 8 minutes, shaking often, until the pecans are lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then chop roughly. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Measure out your butter, vanilla and baking soda, ensuring that there are no lumps in the baking soda. 

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the pecans. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture registers 300˚f / 150˚c on a sugar thermometer. 

Remove from the heat, and immediately add the butter, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir quickly to combine. Pour out onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading slightly if needed. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and leave to cool completely. 

CRAQUELIN

Place all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium until combined. Turn out the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper, and top with a second piece. Roll out to 1-2mm in thickness. Place the dough, still between the parchment sheets, in the freezer for an hour, or until ready to use (Can be made ahead). 

CHOUX AU CRAQUELIN

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cooke cutter, trace six 2 1/2" circles on each baking sheet using a pen or a pencil, then flip over the baking sheet so that the side with the drawing is facing downward. 

Fit a large piping bag with a large round piping tip.

In a medium pot, combine the milk, water, butter, salt, vanilla bean paste, and sugar. Place over medium heat, and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture has begun to boil. Remove from the heat, and add the flour all at once, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture will form a thick paste. 

Return to the heat, and, stirring constantly, cook the mixture for 2 minutes to help dry it out. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute to help cool down the mixture. 

With the mixture running on low, slowly stream in the 240g egg. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the egg is fully incorporated. Test the consistency of the batter by dipping in the beater and pulling up. If it forms a v which eventually breaks off, you are good to go. If it seems too stiff, slowly add another beaten egg and mix to incorporate. 

Transfer the choux pastry to the prepared piping bag. Using your traced circle as a guide, pipe mounds onto the baking sheet, ending each with a little flick of your wrist. If the choux has left a point, you can flatten down with a wet fingertip. Repeat with the second tray - you should end up with 12 mounds. 

Remove the craquelin from the freezer, and peel off the top piece of parchment. Using the same sized cutter you used to trace the circles on the parchment paper, cut out 12 circles of dough. Place each carefully on top of a mound of choux, pressing lightly to adhere. (if you are only baking 6 at a time, only put craquelin on the first 6 - add it to the next batch just before they go in the oven)

Bake the cream puffs for 15 min at 400˚f / 200˚c, then turn down the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c, and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the puffs are deeply golden. Remove from the oven and poke a small vent in the side of each using a paring knife or chopstick, to help the steam escape. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. If baking in two batches, return the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c, and repeat the baking process with the remaining buns. 

CARAMELISED BANANAS

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut the bananas into thick coins. Place the sugar on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Line a baking sheet with baking paper sprayed lightly with cooking spray, or line with a silpat. Working with about two bananas worth at a time, roll each coin in the sugar so it is coated all over.  Transfer the sugared bananas to a clean plate. 

Melt about a tablespoon of butter in the skillet, and then carefully add the bananas, spreading out evenly in the pan, and ensuring none touch. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the slices are well caramelised, before flipping with tongs or a spatula, and cooking for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove carefully from the pan, and place on the prepared sheet. Repeat with the remaining banana. 

ASSEMBLY

Using a whisk, whip the whipping ganache until it is thick and holds its shape (the reason you do this by hand is that it is very easy to overwhip in the stand mixer, causing it to split). Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large french star tip. 

Break up the pecan brittle into large chunks, then place in a bag, and hit with a rolling pin until it resembles a mixture of fine crumbs, and slightly larger pieces of brittle. 

Using a sharp bread knife, cut the tops off the cream puffs, about three quarters of the way up. 

Place a thin layer of crushed pecan brittle in the bottom of each cream puff. Top with a well packed layer of caramelised bananas, and then another thin layer of brittle. Pipe a swirl or mound of whipping ganache on top of the banana and brittle, and top with the choux lid you cut off earlier. 

Serve immediately. Best eaten the day that they are made.

Choux au Craquelin (Cream Puffs) with Caramelised White Chocolate Whipping Ganache, Caramelised Bananas, and Pecan Brittle

Thank you so much to Valrhona for providing me with the chocolate for this recipe! All opinions are my own.