Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream


 
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux
Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux

As someone who is a huge fan of both ice cream sandwiches and doughnuts, I figured that they were going to have to be combined at some point along the line. I had some leftover ice cream base after deciding I wanted to make philadelphia style for the project I was working on, so figured it was the perfect time to give them a spin. And ohhh my. The result was these chocolate choux ice cream sandwiches with double chocolate ice cream - a ridiculously indulgent treat, but a total crowd pleaser and an amazing end to a dinner party or a gathering with friends.

I started with a cruller type doughnut - chocolate choux pastry (same as used for eclairs), which I piped into circles with a star tip onto parchment, then froze solid before frying off. Freezing the dough helps it keep a perfect shape whilst being fried. The freshly fried doughnuts are then rolled in sugar, and once cool, sandwiched with a homemade dark chocolate ice cream, which is flecked with shards of dark chocolate. You can absolutely use a store bought ice cream here if you like - the creamy ice cream compliments the light doughnut perfectly.

A few wee tips:

  • The Chocolate choux dough can be made ahead, frozen solid on the parchment, then transferred to a ziploc bag until you are ready to fry.

  • A candy thermometer is super important to keep the oil for the frying at the right temperature. I prefer to fry in cast iron because of how consistent it is.

  • I made the ice cream for these because I had some base on hand, but using store bought ice cream would be just as good!

  • I found that frying these on one side and then turning half way through caused them to puff up unevenly. Flipping them every minute throughout the frying process helps to keep them nice and flat while they are cooking.

  • Because these have cocoa in them it is hard to tell when they are done - this is why a thermometer is important. I also recommend frying one off at the start just to double check your frying time.

  • If you don’t want to make these as ice cream sandwiches, you can pipe circles such as in this cruller recipe, or bake them up as chocolate cream puffs

  • If you aren’t planning on eating all of these on the day they are made, I suggest storing the frozen dough and frying off as you want them. You can cool the oil and store back in the oil bottle and re-use - because it gets so hot, it is safe to re-use, just don’t use oil that you have used to fry things such as fish as the flavour will transfer.

  • I included the recipe in grams, as even the slightest amount of differentiation in flour will change the consistency of your mixture.

  • 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. 

 

 

Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream

- Makes 8-10 ice cream sandwiches -

Chocolate Flakes from Stella Parks / Serious Eats

Double Chocolate Ice Cream
4 large egg yolks
135g (2/3 cup) sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp salt
35g dutch cocoa
360g (1 1/2 cups) whole milk
360g (1 1/2 cups) heavy whipping cream
55g good quality dark chocolate (65-70% cocoa solids)
15g refined coconut oil

Chocolate Choux Doughnuts
240g water
110g butter
20g sugar
5g salt
5g vanilla bean paste
165g all-purpose flour
25g dutch process cocoa
220g egg, lightly beaten, plus extra if required (see last point on notes)

Neutral oil for frying
About 100g (1/2 cup) Sugar for dusting

 

- PROCESS -

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla bean paste. Whisk well until pale. Set aside. 

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the whole milk, heavy cream and cocoa. Heat to just shy of a simmer

Pour half of the milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Whisk briskly until combined. This will temper the egg yolks and stop them from scrambling. 

Pour the milk yolk mixture back into the pot, and return to a low heat. Whisk constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon, and registers at 170˚f / 75˚c on a thermometer. 

Strain though a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to an airtight container, and allow to stand at room temperature for an hour or so, and then chill for at least two hours, or overnight.

To make the chocolate shards for the ice cream, microwave the chocolate in a heat proof bowl in 15 second increments, until smooth. Stir in the coconut oil, then spread onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan and freeze for 15 minutes, or until completely set. Break into pieces your desired size. Store in the freezer until ready to use (I like to do this step just before I churn the ice cream)

Place a loaf pan or the container you are planning to store the ice cream in into the freezer. Pour the chilled chocolate ice cream base into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream is churned, add the chocolate chunks and mix in the ice cream maker until combined.

Scrape the chocolate ice cream into the chilled loaf pan or container, and smooth down. Press a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap against the surface of the ice cream, and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or overnight.

 

CHOCOLATE CHOUX DOUGHNUTS

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw circles, evenly spaced, about 2 3/4” (70mm) in diameter on each using a pen or pencil - these will be your guide for piping. Flip the paper over so you can trace the outline without tracing on the ink. You need approximately 20 circles.

Line a large piping bag with a french star tip - I used a wilton 1m tip.

Sift together the flour and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste. 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 and cocoa 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 220g 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 circles as a guide, and starting from the middle, pipe rounds of pastry onto the baking sheet, ending each with a little flick of your wrist. They should look like rosettes. Repeat with the second tray until you have used up all your pastry. Transfer the trays to the freezer and freeze for one hour.

About 20 minutes before the hour is up, fill a heavy bottomed saucepan or cast iron dutch oven with about 4 inches of oil. Heat over medium until it registers 350˚f (180˚c) on a candy thermometer. Place a cooling rack on a sheet pan, and place 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow bowl (for coating the cooked doughnuts)

Working in batches, frying two to three doughnuts at a time, peel them off the paper and carefully lower into the oil. Fry for approximately 7 minutes, turning every minute to ensure even cooking, until cooked. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on the wire rack. Drain for a minute or so, then toss in the sugar and return to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts - leave them in the freezer until you fry them.

To assemble, sandwich two doughnuts with a scoop of ice cream. Serve immediately. Leftover Assembled sandwiches can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container until ready to eat, but are best eaten fresh.

Chocolate Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate Ice Cream. The ultimate ice cream sandwich - homemade, rich chocolate ice cream is sandwiched by two light and crispy chocolate choux doughnuts. A simple but indulgent treat. #cruller #icecreamsandwich #choux

Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze


 
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry
Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry

We are having the best time ever in NZ visiting family, so I will keep this short - but I couldn’t wait any longer to share this recipe for Earl Grey Crullers with you! I hid away at home on my birthday making these and honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day.

I love a lot of things - my foster kittens, being able to live where we do, my husband, my library card etc (in that order haha), and Earl Grey tea. I love the flavour of it, and how versatile it is. I love how it can easily adapt to fit in a huge number of flavour profiles. And I love how it makes these Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze taste. If you were ever looking for a cup of tea in doughnut form, look no further. Because this recipe is a doozy.

If you haven’t had a cruller before, it is essentially just fried choux dough. Same thing used to make cream puffs and eclairs, but instead of baking it so that it becomes puffy and crisp, it gets fried. And it is epic. The result is something a little more denser than a cream puff or eclair - it doesn’t have as much of a hollow inside, but just so insanely delicious. It manages to be light and heavy all at the same time, and with loads of texture on the golden brown outside to hold on to loads of tea infused glaze. Crullers or choux pastry are perfect for infusing flavour - because it doesn’t have to compete with yeast, the flavour is able to shine right through. I injected as much earl grey flavour into these as I could - by infusing the milk used to make the dough, and then infusing the cream used for the glaze. The result was a perfectly delicately flavoured doughnut, drowned in a sweet, strongly flavoured glaze. I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out, and I hope you love them too!

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. 

  • These can be made ahead and frozen until you are ready to fry - just freeze solid then transfer to a piping bag.

  • If you would like to make these just a plain flavour (rather than earl grey), just skip the step where you infuse with tea.

  • I prefer to deep fry in cast iron because it helps to keep the temperature constant, but a heavy bottomed pot will work well too.

  • If you don’t want to make all of these as doughnuts, you can pipe some as either rings or mounds onto parchment paper, and follow these instructions for baking them as cream puffs.

 

 

Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze

- Makes about 12 -

Earl Grey Crullers
20g loose leaf earl grey tea
200g whole milk
125g water
110g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
25g sugar
5g kosher salt
5g vanilla bean paste
175g all-purpose flour
230g egg, lightly beaten, plus one extra egg if needed (see notes)
Neutral oil for frying

Earl Grey Glaze
100g heavy cream
8g loose leaf earl grey tea
150g powdered sugar, sifted

 

- PROCESS -

EARL GREY CRULLER

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw six circles, evenly spaced about 2 3/4” in diameter on each using a pen or pencil - these will be your guide for piping. Flip the paper over so you can trace the outline without tracing on the ink.

Line a large piping bag with a french star tip - I used an ateco #829 tip.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until just shy of a simmer. Remove from heat, add loose leaf tea, cover, and steep for 20 minutes. Strain, pressing down to remove as much liquid from the tea. Wash and dry the saucepan, and add back in 125g of the tea infused milk, topping up to make up 125g if needed.

Add the water, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste. 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 circles onto the baking sheet, ending each with a little flick of your wrist. Repeat with the second tray - you should end up with 12 circles. Transfer the trays to the freezer and freeze for one hour.

About 20 minutes before the hour is up, fill a heavy bottomed saucepan or cast iron dutch oven with about 4 inches of oil. Heat over medium until it registers 350˚f (180˚c) on a candy thermometer. Place a cooling rack on a sheet pan.

Working in batches, frying two to three doughnuts at a time, peel them off the paper and carefully lower into the oil. Fry for approximately 7 minutes, turning often to ensure even cooking, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts - leave them in the freezer until you fry them.  Cool before glazing.

EARL GREY GLAZE

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the tea, and cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain, pressing down hard on the tea leaves to remove as much flavour as possible. Weigh the infused cream into a small bowl, topping up to 100g. Add the powdered sugar and stir until smooth and incorporated. You want it to be quite thin for dipping.

Place the cooled doughnuts on a wire rack. Dunk one at a time in the glaze, allow additional glaze to drip off, and then place on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.

Best eaten on the day that they are made. Store leftovers at room temperature.

Earl Grey Crullers with Earl Grey Glaze. Perfectly flaky earl grey infused choux pastry is fried into golden brown crullers, then glazed with a delicately flavoured Earl Grey Glaze. #earlgrey #cruller #doughnuts #donuts #baking #fried #choux #chouxpastry

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.