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Before starting this Coffee Religieuses recipe, organise all the necessary ingredients for the choux pastry.
For the choux pastry: Place the butter, salt and water in a saucepan on the heat.
Porter à ébullition.
Remove from the heat and pour all the flour at once.
Stir with a wooden spatula until there are no more lumps.
The resulting dough is called 'panada'. Dry off the panada on the heat, stirring with a wooden spatula, until the paste comes away from the sides of the saucepan and forms a ball.
Transfer the preparation into the stand mixer recipient, and beat for a brief moment with the flat beater to let it cool down.
One by one, incorporate the eggs, with the stand mixer set on low speed.
As you can notice, it is difficult to incorporate the egg at the start, but it will combine well after a while.
Repeat for the remaining eggs. The choux pastry is ready to use. It should be used immediately.
Pipe 10 large choux buns (Ø 5cm) and 10 smaller ones (Ø 3cm) on a baking sheet, arranging them in staggered lines. For this recipe, I used a plain nozzle with a large diameter of 20mm.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C (gas 3) until golden and hollow. These éclairs don't need to be glazed with egg wash since they will be coated with chocolate icing later on.
For the coffee crème pâtissière: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise, then add to the milk.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar with the whole eggs.
Blanch the preparation until light and fluffy.
Add the crème pâtissière powder. For this recipe I used crème pâtissière powder as a substitute to flour. This powder contains 99% corn starch and allows for lighter choux buns. Combine well.
When the milk starts boiling...
... pour it in one go over the cream preparation, stirring with a whisk.
Transfer the preparation into the saucepan used to boil the milk...
... and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Make sure that the cream does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Pour the hot preparation into the stand mixer recipient and beat until cooled down completely.
Add some Trablit coffee extract to flavour the cream. Add the equivalent of one teaspoon first. Then add more if necessary. The amount of coffee extract varies according to the desired flavour intensity. You should always taste your preparation.
Add the soft butter, then beat for a further 3 minutes at maximum speed.
With the tip of a knife or a filling nozzle, pierce the underside of each choux bun.
Pour the coffee preparation into a piping bag fitted with a filling nozzle (6 or 8mm diameter).
Place the tip of the nozzle inside the hole, then gently squeeze the bag to fill the bun with cream, gradually removing the nozzle. Make sure you do not squeeze the piping bag too hard, otherwise the choux buns could burst.
With the tip of a knife, wipe any cream excess that might have escaped from the bun...
... in order to create an even base. Set aside. Repeat this operation with all the choux buns. Reserve in the fridge.
For the coffee icing: For this recipe, I used fondant white icing as a base.
Soften the fondant icing over a bain-marie. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature. To maintain the glossy effect, the temperature should not exceed 37 or 40°C.
Add a few drops of coffee extract, then add more if necessary. Again, the amount of coffee extract varies according to the desired flavour intensity.
Combine gently with a spatula...
... until the coffee is fully incorporated...
Icing the choux buns: Take one choux bun with your fingers...
... and carefully dip it in the hot coffee icing (maximum 40°C).
When the surface of the choux bun is in contact with the icing, make 3 or 4 quick movements, going up and down.
Let the icing excess drip off.
Wipe with your fingertip to create a neat, round end on the coating.
Place the coated choux bun on a baking sheet and let cool. As it sets, the icing should be smooth and glossy. Make sure you regularly stir the coffee icing to avoid a sort of skin forming on the surface. Basically, every time you're about to coat a choux bun, give a quick stir to the preparation.
For the finish: On top of the large choux buns, pipe a circle of vanilla or chocolate crème au beurre to create a sort of ruffle. For this recipe, I made a chocolate crème au beurre.
To create a ruffle effect, I recommend using a Sultane nozzle with a protruding cone. Place the cone into direct contact with the surface of the choux bun, then squeeze the piping bag gently to create a regular ruffle.
Gently lift the piping bag, then place one small choux bun on top.
Repeat the operation for all the choux buns. Finish by placing small pieces of gold leaf on the surface, with the tip of a knife. Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!