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I've tried many desserts over the past few months but this wins hands down over all of them. Relatively simple in construction this dessert was named after two patron saints in France, St Michel and St Honore. This recipe is my own variation on the classic using chocolate crème patissiere to fill the choux buns producing contrasting flavours as oppose to simply using crème Chantilly.
Serves 4 or a greedy 2
40cm x 40cm sheet puff pastry
100g plain flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
300ml double cream
1 Vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract), seeds removed
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon cornflour
100g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
4-6 strawberries, hulled and halved
300g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out the puff pasty and using a 20-24cm round cutter or rounded cake tin, cut a round of pastry and place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Dot the pastry with a fork all over and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
2. For the choux pastry, add 125ml of the milk and the water to a pan, add the butter over a low heat until the butter has melted, remove from the heat and shower in the flour. Place back on a medium heat and stir until the mixture forms a ball, dry out the mixture for around 2-4 minutes and remove from the heat.
3. Add the eggs one at a time to the pastry mix, beating each one thoroughly in to form a thick, smooth pastry that just hangs off the spoon. Place into a piping bag and pipe small mounds of the mixture on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper well spaced apart. Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 180C.
3. Remove the puff pastry from the fridge and pipe a spiral of choux pastry leaving a 2cm gap at the edges, bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
4. Once the choux buns have risen and the pastry base is brown and crisp, place on a wire rack to cool while you make the crème patissiere.
5. Add 3 egg yolks, cornflour and 50g of the icing sugar to a bowl and whisk together, heat 125ml of the milk and 75ml of the double cream in a pan until just boiling, add a third into the eggs mixture and whisk, then add the rest, stir to combine and then add back into the pan on a medium heat. The mixture should thicken to the texture similar to the choux paste. Add the cocoa powder, stir and place into a piping bag, set aside.
6. Pipe the crème patissiere into the choux buns and set aside. For the caramel, set the caster sugar over a high heat with a drop of water, once the sugar has dissolved and taken on an amber colour, remove from the heat. With the tip of the fingers carefully dip the head of the choux buns in the caramel and stick the base onto the pastry disc, spacing the buns around 2cm apart.
7. For the crème Chantilly, whisk the remaining double cream until stiff peaks form, place into a piping bag and pipe the cream between the buns and covering the middle. Top with strawberries and dust with icing sugar. Serve and enjoy.