Light and airy heart-shaped buns with chocolate crème patisserie
60g plain flour
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp of caster sugar
75g good dark chocolate, chopped
150ml double cream
1 tbsp of brandy, optional
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
To make the choux buns, place the butter in a small saucepan along with 100ml water. Bring up to the boil and bubble for 1 min. Remove from the heat and stir in 50g of the flour. The mixture will thicken—stop stirring when the paste comes away from the side of the pan and looks slick.
Beat the egg in to the paste. It won’t be brilliantly easy, but bear with it—with a little patience it will mix in to a smooth paste. Place in to a piping back fitted with a fluted 1cm nozzle.
Pipe 4 heart shapes on to the tray, about 6cm from top to toe, filling in so it is a solid shape. Exaggerate the top part of the heart, as when the choux cooks it will grow. Try to make sure you pipe it all in one go, but if you have any peaks of mixture, press them down with a damp finger.
Bake for 18-20 mins until crispy and puffy. Cool.
Make the crème patisserie. Place the milk in to a pan and warm. Meanwhile, stir together the yolks, sugar and the remaining 10g of flour until smooth. Once the milk has reached scalding point, pour over the egg mixture, whisking well until smooth then pour back in the pan.
Cook over a low heat, whisking until the custard comes up the boil to cook out the flour. Stir in 50g of the chocolate to melt, then lay a piece of clingfilm or butter paper on top of the custard to stop a skin forming. Cool completely.
Whip 100ml of the cream until it holds soft peaks, then stir in to the custard. Place in to a piping bag with a really small nozzle. Make a small hole in the base of the choux buns, poke the piping nozzle in to it and fill each bun with the chocolate cream.
Warm the remaining 50ml cream and the remaining 50ml milk in a small pan and add the rest of the chocolate. Turn off the heat and mix well, to melt the chocolate to a smooth sauce. Add the brandy if you wish.
Serve the choux buns with the sauce and a few mixed berries, for a touch of romantic red!
Recipe: Lesley Holdship