Religieuses

 

Religieuses – a classic French pastry made up of two choux buns filled with crème pâtissière, topped with a rich chocolate ganache and decorated with a whipped cream collar. These take a while to prepare but the result is quite charming for a special occasion.

 

Religieuses
Prepares: 8
 
  • Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: About 30 minutes

  • Equipment
  • A piping bag with a 1.5cm/½ inch plain nozzle, a small star nozzle, a long thin nozzle (or a jam syringe) and a skewer.

  • Ingredients
  • For the choux buns
  • 60g/2¼ oz butter, cut into cubes
  • 75g/2½ oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)

  • For the crème pâtissière
  • 500ml/18 fl oz full-fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.),
  • 70g/2½ oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 20g/¾ oz cornflour/cornstarch
  • 
25g/1 oz plain flour/all purpose flour

  • For the chocolate ganache
  • 142ml/5 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 
170g/6 oz good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces

  • For the collar
  • 142ml/5 fl oz double cream/whipping cream


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

  3. Draw eight circles 5cm/2 inches across and another eight circles 2.5cm/1 inch across onto a sheet of baking parchment. Turn the paper over so the drawn side faces down and place on a baking tray.

  4. For the choux buns
  5. Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat with 150ml/5 fl oz of water until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then immediately remove from the heat.

  6. Quickly tip in the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Return to the heat and cook over a low heat for 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly. Then leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition to form a smooth, shiny paste.

  7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with the 1.5cm/½ inch plain nozzle. Pipe to fill the inside of the marked circles on the baking parchment, pressing down in the centre as you pipe to form round discs. Using a damp finger, smooth over the top of each disc and make a slight depression in the centre of the larger ones (this makes it easier to sit the smaller ones on top of the larger ones).

  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and cook for a further 10–15 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole into each choux bun with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Return to the oven for 4–5 minutes to dry out. Then leave to cool on a wire rack. 


  9. For the crème pâtissière
  10. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a heavy-based pan and gradually bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, about 30 seconds. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale in colour, then whisk in the cornflour and plain flour. Pour milk onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan.

  11. Bring back to the boil, over a medium heat, whisking constantly, and cook for one minute. Pour the crème pâtissière into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool. Then refrigerate to chill. 


  12. For the chocolate ganache
  13. Bring the cream to the boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and stir until melted and shiny. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Then refrigerate the ganache until it has thickened to a spreadable consistency. 


  14. To assemble the religieuses
  15. Remove the crème pâtissière and the chocolate ganache from the fridge. Spoon the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a long thin nozzle (or a jam syringe). Pierce a small hole in the base of each choux bun and fill them with the crème pâtissière.

  16. Dip the top of the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat half-way down the sides. Sit the small buns on top of the larger ones. 


  17. For the collars, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with the small star nozzle. Pipe lines of cream around the join where the small bun sits on top of the large bun to form a collar.

 

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