Need a Christmas dessert to remember? It's got to be this stunning profiterole wreath by Lauren Eldridge, executive pastry chef at Melbourne's Stokehouse Group. "Filled with sweet and nutty custard, these profiteroles are shaped to create an impressive centrepiece for your Christmas dessert table," says Eldridge.
- 250 gm couverture white chocolate
- Chopped pearl sugar, crystallised rose petals, mini silver cachous (see note) and chopped pistachios, to serve
- Oil spray, for greasing
- 100 gm butter
- 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour
- 4 eggs
White chocolate and pistachio pastry cream
- 75 gm pistachio nuts
- ¾ tsp grapeseed oil
- 290 ml milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1½ tbsp cornflour
- 150 gm couverture white chocolate, chopped
- 1For choux pastry, preheat oven to 210°C. Lightly spray three oven trays with oil. Bring butter and 250ml water to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and ½ tsp salt, and stir constantly until dough pulls away from the side (1-2 minutes). Transfer to an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for 1 minute to cool slightly. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer to a piping bag with a 1cm-round nozzle and pipe three-quarters of the mixture onto prepared trays into 2.5cm balls leaving about 4cm between each. Pipe remaining mixture into 1.5cm balls, leaving about 3cm between each. Bake until deep golden and firmly set (18-20 minutes). Using the tip of a small knife, poke a hole into the base of each choux puff, sit on sides and return to oven to dry out (3-5 minutes). Cool on wire rack. Choux puffs can be kept frozen for up to a month.
- 2For pastry cream, preheat oven to 150°C. Place chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Roast pistachios until lightly golden (10 minutes), then place into a small food processor. Add oil and blend until a smooth paste (4-5 minutes). Combine pistachio paste and milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk together egg yolks and cornflour, then pour over half of the hot milk, whisk to combine and then return mixture to saucepan. Continue to cook, whisking, until starting to boil and thickened (1-2 minutes). Pour hot pistachio mixture over chocolate and whisk to melt.Cover and
refrigerate until set (1-2 hours). Transfer to a piping bag with a 3mm-round nozzle.
- 3If choux puffs have softened, heat in oven to 180°C until crisp (5 minutes), then cool. Pipe pastry cream through hole in base until full.
- 4Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat, place white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan (not touching the water), and stir until chocolate is half melted. Remove from saucepan and continue stirring until melted (if chocolate firms, return to steaming water).
- 5Arrange larger choux buns into a 28cm circle then add another circle of buns inside. Dip bun tops into melted chocolate and immediately dip in sugar pearls, rose nibs, mini silver cachous or pistachios. Some can be left with plain chocolate, or drizzled with chocolate instead. Repeat with smaller puffs and layer on top, set aside until chocolate sets and serve. The profiterole wreath is best served within a couple of hours.
Pearl sugar, crystallised rose nibs and mini silver cachous are available from The Essential Ingredient.Wine suggestion Thierry Germain Cep by Cep Coteaux du Layon Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, France. Wine suggestion by Gavin Cremming.