( SERVES 8 )
Photo by Babiche Martens
When it comes to hosting a successful dinner party, the dessert should ideally bring a sense of drama. As the final act it should have your guests on the edge of their seats when you bring it to the table. A room beautifully lit with dimmed lights and candles, a carafe of port or a bottle of sticky wine, will help set the scene. Once mastered, choux pastry is versatile and impressive. If you love profiteroles and gougere (savoury cheese puffs), then you will love this luxurious coffee-flavoured Paris-Brest. It is named after a bike race in 1891, from Paris to Brest and back again. It is best to start this the day before you plan to serve it, to allow the coffee cream to set. If coffee isn’t your thing, try chocolate, vanilla or rum.
- Heat oven to 200C. Line oven tray with baking paper. Draw a 20cm circle on the paper.
- To make coffee cream: Beat egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in flour.
- In a saucepan bring milk to boil with coffee. Whisk milk into egg mixture. Return to clean pot, stirring over gentle heat until custard has thickened. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Stir through butter carefully until combined well. Refrigerate overnight.
- To make choux ring: Place water and butter in a medium pot. Bring to boil then immediately add flour and salt, stirring vigorously until mixture is glossy and forms a ball. This takes 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, place into bowl of an electric beater and cool for 10 minutes.
- Beat dough on low adding one egg at a time until completely combined.
- Place choux pastry in piping bag with a large nozzle. Pipe once around your circle, once inside of that circle and a third time on top of the two circles. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is firm and golden. Remove from oven and immediately cut ring in half horizontally to allow steam to escape. Leave to cool.
- When ready to fill, place coffee cream in a piping bag with a star nozzle. Pipe swirls on base. Replace top and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Just before serving sprinkle over almonds and generously dust with icing sugar.