I’ve got some exciting news. I just filmed my FIRST cooking tutorial for YouTube (see below). These praline creme puffs do have a lot of elements, and I’m so happy that these actually turned out and was able to do a video on it.These involve craquelin, choux pastry, and praline mousseline cream, chantilly cream. You may have seen an old blog post for Coffee Eclairs (and an even older one on Chocolate Profiteroles) which also use choux pastry. It is just so versatile, and once you master it, you can make so many other crazy french desserts.The craquelin is a mixture of softened butter, brown sugar and flour. It creates a crunchy and crackly topping since it is a cookie placed on top of the choux pastry before it’s baked. The dough has to be frozen, and in Australia it gets quite hot so when taken out of the freezer, it becomes soft very quickly. I recommend rolling the dough, cutting out circles then freezing to make this process easier. So these cream puffs can also be called choux au craquelin. The choux pastry, or pate a choux, involves very basic ingredients including water, milk, butter, sugar, salt, flour and eggs. It is a different type of dough to most because the batter is cooked before baking it in the oven. It is important that the moisture in the dough is cooked out through stirring it over medium-high heat and beating the paste before adding the eggs , otherwise the dough will not rise and subsequently collapse.
The praline mousseline cream is essentially a pastry cream (creme patissiere) enriched with praline paste and butter. The result is super silky and creamy. You can use store bought praline paste, but it is quite easy to make it yourself; the recipe is below. The final element is chantilly cream is a whipped cream sweetened with icing sugar, and has an addition vanilla bean seeds. So here is the video, I hope you like it…
Also, I have more news, Grade 11 finished last week and it is still so surreal saying that. A massive thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this journey. It’s because of you that I’ve had the privilege of doing some of my first collaborations. In a couple weeks, my mum, dad and I will be going to Melbourne and Tasmania. My brother can’t come unfortunately. I plan to release a YouTube video on our trip, and I’ll try to do as much blogging as possible before we leave. Grade 12 is next year, and I don’t know if I’ll get a lot of blog posts out because we might have to do work during the holidays apparently. So thank you for reading and watching the video if you did. Don’t be afraid of these praline cream puffs, it may seem difficult but life’s all about overcoming challenges. I understand if you don’t want to make it though, although you can just do a few elements. For example, make the choux pastry and fill it with the chantilly cream. I would like to finish with a quote: “You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it” – Paulo Cohelo, The Alchemist.
Praline Cream Puffs
Makes 11-14 depending on size.
- 85g unsalted butter, softened (room temperature)
- 100g brown sugar
- 100g flour
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth and pale in colour. Add the flour and fold until a soft dough forms, ensuring not to over mix.
- Place the dough between two pieces of baking paper, and roll the dough until it reaches a 2mm thickness.
- Place it in the freezer for 1 hour or until ready to use (will be needed before the choux pastry is baked).
- 125g water
- 125g milk
- 100g butter
- 6g sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper (optional: draw circles of desired cream puff size then flip paper over).
- In a large saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and immediately add the flour. Stir until there are no more streaks of flour and a dough begins to form. Place the saucepan back over medium-high heat, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the paste is pulling away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer the dough into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, then mix on low-medium speed for 3 minutes to cool down the dough and evaporate the steam/moisture. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Depending on the consistency of your choux paste, you may not require all the eggs. So you are looking for a dough that is loose but still able to hold its shape when piped. It should be very shiny and smooth.
- Transfer the paste into a piping bag fitted with a plain, round nozzle (such as a Wilton 1A). Pipe the choux onto a lined baking tray (mine were 6cm in diameter).
- Remove the craquelin from the freezer, and using a cookie cutter that is the same size as the choux, cut out circles. Place them on top of the piped choux pastry and gently press down.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for 25-30 minutes. Then turn the oven off and allow the choux puffs to cool for 20 minutes with the door ajar. Set aside to cool completely.
- 125g hazelnuts
- 125g almonds
- 150g caster sugar
- 15g water
- At 350°F/180°C, roast the hazelnuts and almonds for 10 minutes. Then, using a clean kitchen towel, rub the skins off the hazelnuts (not all of it will come off, but do the best you can).
- In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until it reaches an amber colour (or desired darkness). Then add the nuts and mix to coat the nuts in the caramel (do not touch this mixture, it is very hot!)
- Pour the caramelised nuts onto a lined baking tray then spread evenly. Allow to cool and set until hard.
- Break up the praline, and reserve approximately 50g of it. In a high-powered blender/food processor, process the remaining praline for approximately 10 minutes to form a liquid paste. Add 1-2 tbsp of a neutral oil if the mixture isn’t smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
Praline Mousseline Cream
Adapted from Home Cooking Adventure
- 4 egg yolks
- 80g caster sugar
- 40g cornstarch
- 10g flour
- 480g milk
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise and scraped
- 15g butter, cold, cubed
- 200g praline paste
- 150g butter, softened (room temperature)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale in colour. Add the cornstarch and flour, then mix until smooth and well incorporated. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add the vanilla bean pod and scaped seeds. Then bring it to a simmer, and it is ready when small bubbles form around the edge of the pan.
- Temper the egg yolks, by gradually pouring the hot milk over the egg mixture. You want to add this about 1/4 at a time to ensure the egg yolks don’t scramble. Remove the vanilla bean pod.
- Once all the milk is added, return the mixture to the stove and place over medium-high heat. Whisk continuously until thickened, then whisk for a further 2 minutes to fully activate the cornstarch and cook out the flour.
- Remove from the heat, and add the cold butter. Mix until fully melted. Pour the pastry cream into a bowl, and cover with cling film ensuring it touches the surface so a skin doesn’t form. Refrigerate to cool completely.
- Once cooled, transfer the creme patissiere into a standmixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the mixture to break up the set pastry cream, then add the praline paste and mix until well combined. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the softened butter, a little at a time, beating well in between each addition. Once all incorporated, it should be very shiny and creamy, then transfer into a piping bag fitted a plain, round nozzle (such as a Wilton 1A). Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- 300ml heavy cream, cold
- 1.5 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise and scraped
- In a medium bowl, whip cream until foamy. Then add the icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer it into a piping bag fitted with an open star tip (such as a Wilton 1M). Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Icing sugar
- Caramelised nuts (reserved from praline paste)
- Cut the tops of the choux puffs. Then pipe the praline mousseline cream into the bottom cream puffs, and smooth it off with an offset spatula. Pipe the chantilly cream on, starting from the outside. Place the cut-off cream puff on top.
- Finish it them off with a dusting of icing sugar and decorate with the caramelised nuts. Then serve and enjoy!