(From “Seven Deadly Sins of Chocolate” by Laurent Schott)
½ cup water
½ cup milk
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all- purpose flour
4 large eggs
• Bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and add all of the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon over low heat for about 1 minute until the dough forms a smooth, thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the eggs, one at a time, making sure you stir each one in well before adding the next.
• Preheat the oven to 375 F. cover a baking sheet with baking parchment. Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2” tip, pipe 6 small balls (about he size of a walnut) for the tops, and 6 large balls (about 2-2 ½” in diameter) for the “bodies of the religieuses. Discard the remaining dough or pipe and bake more balls to freeze for another use.
• Bake for about 25 -30 minutes (the large ones will take longer), until they are golden brown and crisp.
• Cool completely.
Chocolate Pastry Cream
3 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ¼ cups pastry cream (see recipe below)
¼ cup heavy cream
• Stir the chocolate into the warm pastry cream. Let stand until the chocolate melts. Add the heavy cream and whisk until smooth.
• Transfer the pastry cream to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8 inch tip. Pierce a small hole in the base of each ball, and fill with the cream.
Makes about 1 ¼ cups
1 cup milk
¼ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split open
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• Bring the milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla bean to a boil in a saucepan.
• Whisk the yolks, flour and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl until the mixture is pale yellow. Gradually whisk in the hot milk (after removing and scraping the vanilla bean).
• Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the cram is very smooth, about 2 minutes.
• Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Use immediately. The recipe can be doubled if needed.
Makes about 1 ½ cups
1 ½ teaspoons powdered gelatin
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
¾ cup Dutch-processed coca powder
¾ cup heavy cream
• Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tablespoon of water in a custard cup and set aside.
• Meanwhile, bring the sugar, cocoa, heavy cream and remaining ¼ cup water to a boil in a sauce pan, stirring occasionally.
• Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until slightly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
• Remove from the heat, add the soaked gelatin and stir well to dissolve the gelatin.
• Pour into a bowl and let stand until the icing is tepid but still fluid. The recipe can be doubled, if needed.
To Assemble the Religieuses
(silver drageés, for decoration)
• Warm the icing in the microwave (or a very low oven) until tepid and liquid. Dip the top half of each choux into the icing, turn the right way up and cool slightly.
• Place the small choux (heads) on the larger ones (bodies) and top each with a drageé while the icing is till soft.