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Before starting this Chocolate and Praline Choux recipe, organise the necessary ingredients for the craquelin.
For the craquelin: Place the soft butter in the mixing bowl.
Add the brown sugar and combine well with a spatula.
Add the flour...
... and combine with a spatula until you obtain a homogeneous ball. You can use the stand mixer with the flat beater.
Place the craquelin topping on a Silpat baking mat.
Place another Silpat mat over the craquelin dough, then spread with a rolling pin...
... to a thickness of 2 mm.
Lift the top silicone mat to check the thickness. This is really important.
Slide the silicone mats over a baking sheet, then store in the freeze.
For the choux pastry: Pour the water and milk in a saucepan, then add the butter and salt.
Bring to a boil.
When the water and milk come to a boil and the butter is completely melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the flour.
Combine with a spatula until the dough is homogeneous. This is called 'panada'.
Continue stirring over medium heat. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough in the stand mixer recipient. Knead until it cools down a little.
Add the eggs, one at a time. If the eggs are already mixed and whisked, add in three or four batches.
Wait until the preparation is homogeneous before adding another egg.
The choux pastry is now ready. If you find the pastry too thick, add a little cold milk to soften it.
Place a Silpat baking mat on a Silichef XL perforated baking sheet.
Using a piping bag, pipe choux puffs with a plain nozzle Ø 2 cm. The size should be diameter 3.5 or 4 cm.
Pipe the choux in staggered lines.
Remove the craquelin from the freezer and cut discs using an Exoglass cutter Ø 5 cm.
Arrange the craquelin discs flat on top of each choux puffs.
Bake in a fan-assisted oven at 170°C (gas 3) for about 30 minutes.
Make sure you do not open the oven during cooking.
For the Italian meringue: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Pour the water in the saucepan and add the sugar into a thin stream.
Tilt the pan in circular motions to moisten all the sugar.
Place the saucepan on the heat...
... and use a digital thermometer with probe to ensure the temperature doesn't exceed 118/119°C.
In the meantime, tip the egg whites in the stand mixer recipient...
... and start beating the egg whites slowly.
Add 25 grams of castor sugar and continue beating. Check the temperature of the cooked sugar. Ideally, when the sugar reaches 118°C, the eggs whites should be foamy.
From the time the sugar is boiling, the temperature will increase very quickly.
The meringue should start increasing in volume...
... until you obtain a foamy consistency.
The sugar is now 118°C. Remove the pan from the heat and wait until there are no more bubbles.
Add the cooked sugar to the meringue while beating at medium speed. Once the sugar is fully incorporated, increase the speed and beat until cooled down completely. This operation should take about 10 minutes.
For the light praline crème au beurre: Organise all the ingredients.
Pour the water in a saucepan...
... add the castor sugar...
... and tilt the pan to moisten all the sugar. Place the pan on the heat.
In the meantime, the meringue is still in the mixer.
It should be cold after beating for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the sugar until the temperature reaches 118°C.
Pour the egg yolks in the stand mixer bowl...
.. and start beating at low speed.
When the sugar is 118°C, take the pan away from the heat and wait until there are no more bubbles.
Add the cooked sugar to the egg yolks while beating at low speed, pouring it against the inner side of the bowl.
Beat until cooled down completely.
The preparation should become pale and fluffy.
When the preparation cools down to room temperature (between 25°C and 30°C)...
... add the softened butter.
Stop the mixer and scrape the preparation on the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat again with a rubber spatula.
Add the praline paste...
... and combine until homogeneous. Set aside.
When cooked, remove the choux from the oven and let cool.
The praline butter cream and Italian meringue are the two components of the light praline butter cream. They are both at room temperature.
Add the meringue to the praline butter cream...
... and combine gently with a rubber spatula...
... until the consistency is homogeneous.
The choux puffs are now cold.
With the tip of a knife, make a hole at the bottom of a choux bun. Repeat the operation with all the choux puffs.
Fill the choux buns with the praline butter cream, using a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Fill the choux puffs completely, making sure not to leave empty gaps. Place the stuffed choux buns in the fridge.
For the dark chocolate icing: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave, in periods of 30 seconds to make sure the chocolate does not burn. Stir with a rubber spatula.
Add the grape seed oil...
... and combine gently with the rubber spatula.
Arrange the stuffed choux puffs on a rack, placed on top of a deep tray.
Using a ladle, glaze the choux puffs with dark chocolate icing.
Repeat the operation with all the choux. Make a first batch of 6 choux puffs, then transfer onto a baking sheet and glaze the second batch. Collect the leftover icing at the bottom of the tray.
Stick a pecan nut or walnut on top of each choux puff while the icing is still liquid.
Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve.