Prep 1 hr
Cook 1 hr (plus cooling, chilling)
Makes 1, with extra profiteroles
This dessert is to be attempted when you have a good day- and-a-half on your hands. However, it’s quite spectacular, and the combination of pastry cream, flaky puff pastry and crunchy caramel is pure heaven. This cake, or pastry, is traditionally made with a crème chiboust, a pastry cream with meringue folded through it. We’ve simplified that and used a pastry cream that is whipped to create a smooth finish. Be careful when dipping the choux puffs here, as caramel is super-hot and will burn. The choux make more than you need, but the extra will freeze well for another use.
This recipe originally appeared in the French edition of Eatable magazine, on sale here in print and digital.
1 sheet butter puff pastry, such as Carême, rolled to 4mm-thick, refrigerated to rest
7 egg yolks
130g caster sugar
85g butter, diced
95g plain flour, served
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp sugar
300g caster sugar
200g fresh cream
2 tbsp pure icing sugar,
Scraped seeds of 1⁄2 vanilla bean
1. For pastry cream, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until creamy, then stir through cornflour. Bring milk and cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour one-third onto yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Return mixture to remaining milk and whisk to combine, then cook over medium-high heat, whisking continuously, until thick. Remove from heat, then whisk in butter to finish. Transfer mixture to a lightly buttered bowl or container, cover directly with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled. Before using, whisk pastry cream in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle and refrigerate until required.
2. Preheat oven to 220°C. Cut puff pastry to a 28cm round. Bake between sheets of baking paper and two trays until golden and crisp (15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool.
3. For choux, preheat oven to 220°C. Bring butter and 230ml water to a boil over medium-high heat in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add flour, salt and sugar, and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth. Return to heat and beat until thick (20-30 seconds). Set aside for 2 minutes, then beat in eggs, vigorously one at a time until combined. Transfer mixture to a piping bag, fitted with a 1cm nozzle. Pipe on a tray lined with baking paper in 3cm-wide mounds, leaving space between each to expand. Bake until puffed and golden (20 minutes). Reduce oven to 100°C and heat until crisp. Cool, then pierce the base with a knife, which will be the hole you’ll pipe the cream into. Store in an airtight container until required.
4. For caramel, stir sugar and 60ml water in a clean saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals, then cook, without stirring until sugar is a light caramel. At this stage, you can remove the caramel from the heat and let is sit until you’re ready to dip the puffs, as it will keep cooking, until a dark caramel. If the caramel is too dark, you can dip the base of the pan into a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking (be careful of water spiting and hot caramel).
5. To assemble, pipe some pastry cream into the base of each choux puff and set aside on a plate or tray. Working with two skewers to hold one profiterole at a time, dip the choux puff round side down into the caramel, then place onto puff pastry round, caramel side up around the edge, allowing a little caramel to run underneath, which will help hold the puffs in place. Pipe remaining pastry cream over the centre of the pastry.
6. For Chantilly cream, whisk cream, sugar and vanilla seeds to medium-firm peaks. Transfer to a piping bag with the end cut on a sharp angle, or fitted with a St Honoré piping tip (this will help pipe in a ribbon). Pipe cream across the top, then finish with an extra profiterole on top if desired, and extra profiterole served on the side. Tart is best eaten on the day of making but will keep refrigerated for a few hours.