Choux buns just got stacked up, covered in shiny ganache, filled with chocolate coffee pastry cream and given a frilly collar. Hello Sunday! Hello Religieuse, so named because they are stacked to look like nuns.
In every pattisiere shop window in Paris you will see Religieuse. Although traditionally dipped in ganache, in the windows of Laudurée and the like you will see them dipped in bright glacé icing. Personally, I am not a big fan of the overly sweet glacé icing, so I kept these traditional. The pastry cream is one of my favourites. It packs a delicious creamy coffee punch and the ganache too as I used milled instant coffee powder.
If you have mastered choux, these really are a very small step for added impressiveness. Give them a go!
For the choux (from Paula Daly)
65g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the chocolate coffee pastry cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon of milled instant coffee
For the ganache
100ml single cream
100g milk chocolate
pinch of salt
2 teaspoon milled instant coffee
For the collar
100ml single cream
Coffee beans, optional
1. For the choux, heat the water and margarine in a saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Sift the flour into a dry bowl. Increase the heat and bring the water to the boil.
2. Take the water/margarine off the heat before the water evaporates. Dump in the flour and beat well. Put back over the heat for 1/2-1 minute to cook out the flour.
3. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Add a little egg at a time, beating well between each addition. The mixture may curdle but keep beating until it comes together and it is shiny.
5. Mark eight one inch and eight two inch circles onto greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 220oC.
6. Pipe the choux onto the marked circles. If they have pointy tops, dip your finger into warm water and smooth out the tops.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190oC and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
8. Take out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack and stab with a knife to let steam escape.
9. To make the pastry cream, heat the milk with the vanilla in a small saucepan until almost at a boil.
10. Mix the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, cocoa powder, coffee and custard powder in a bowl until combined.
11. Pour in half of the milk while whisking vigorously.
12. Pour back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and beat over a low heat until thick enough to pipe. This will take 4-5 minutes.
13. Make the ganache. Heat the cream and coffee in a saucepan over a low heat until almost to the boil.
14. Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Pour over the hot cream and mix in a tight circle, slowly widening the circle until all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth and shiny. Put in the fridge until ready to use.
15. Using a piping bag with a plain nozzle, fill the choux buns.
16. Beat the cream in a small bowl until peaks form. Put into a piping bag with a star nozzle.
17. To assemble, dip the top of the big choux buns in ganache. Dip a small choux bun in the ganache and place on top of the big bun.
18. Pipe a frilly collar with cream and top with a single star and a coffee bean, if desired.