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Before starting this Strawberry Religieuse recipe, organise all the necessary ingredients for the choux pastry.
In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
Add the butter, sugar and salt...
... and combine with a spatula.
Bring to a boil.
Add the corn flour and potato starch in one go.
Combine and cook for a couple of minutes...
... until the paste comes away from the sides of the saucepan.
Transfer in the stand mixer recipient...
... and combine at medium speed with the flat beater to cool down the pastry a little.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
When the eggs are incorporated, combine until homogeneous.
If you find the choux pastry too dry, add a little more egg. The consistency should be soft...
... and drop slowly from the flat beater.
Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle Ø 15mm. Line a Silichef XL perforated baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat, and pipe large choux puffs (Ø 4cm)...
... making sure the shape is round and regular.
Repeat the operation on a second tray...
... and pipe small choux puffs (Ø 2cm).
Bake between 25 and 35 minutes in the oven at 180°C (gas 4). The choux puffs should keep their round shape after baking. Let cool.
#For the strawberry crémeux (make the day before): Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Mix the sugar and starch together, then add to the cream.
Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk until you get the consistency of pastry cream.
In the meantime, soak the gelatine sheets into a large bowl filled with cold water.
When the cream starts to thicken remove the pan from the heat.
Squeeze the gelatine with your hands to strain, making not to squash it.
Add the gelatine to the hot preparation.
Combine gently with a whisk until completely dissolved.
Add the butter (cut into cubes) and cocoa butter (or Mycryo cocoa butter powder).
Whisk until completely incorporated...
... and homogeneous.
Add the strawberry purée (at room temperature)...
... and combine with a whisk...
... until the consistency is homogeneous. If there are still lumps in the preparation, mix with a Bamix hand blender. At this stage, you could add flavours such as basil, lime or rhubarb. Transfer the cream into a bowl then cover the surface with cling film and reserve in the fridge.
For the strawberry confit: Organise all the necessary ingredients. Cut the strawberries into cubes.
Pour the honey in a frying pan.
When the honey starts sizzling, add the strawberry chunks together with vanilla seeds (split a vanilla pod and scrape one half). Cook between 3 and 4 minutes over medium heat, but make sure the honey doesn't caramelise. You can add basil or lemongrass for more flavour.
The strawberries will release their moisture and get a honey glazing. The preparation should get a syrup consistency. The strawberries should be soft but not mashy.
When cooked, transfer the strawberries in a food tray...
... so the strawberries stop cooking and cool down faster. Cover with cling film and set aside to cool.
Assembling the religieuses: Gather all preparations on your workbench (choux puffs, strawberry confit, strawberry crémeux and decorating elements).
Pierce the large choux puffs on top using a filling nozzle Ø 7mm. The hole should be larger than the needle on the nozzle, and more importantly on the top so the filling doesn't leak at the bottom.
Pierce the small choux puffs at the bottom.
Fill a piping bag with strawberry confit. The use of a nozzle is not necessary.
Cut the end of the bag with scissors to create a small hole. The strawberries should be soft enough to go through the hole, but not too liquid.
Pipe some strawberry confit inside the choux puffs (do not fill entirely).
Repeat for all 8 choux puffs.
Transfer the strawberry crémeux into a piping bag. Cut the end of the bag...
... and pipe inside the large choux puffs until full. Make sure you do not squeeze the bag too hard, otherwise the choux puffs could burst.
Repeat the operation for the small choux buns.
The result should be as shown in the photo.
Grab the pink sugar paste (corn-based for gluten-free). You can also use white sugar paste and use pink or red water-soluble colouring.
Sprinkle flour over your workbench and roll out the sugar paste to a thin layer.
Rub the surface of the sugar paste with your hand to get rid of any flour excess.
Using a flower cutter, cut eight shapes from the pink sugar paste. The flower should cover the top of the large choux puffs. A cutter with a diameter of 6 cm should be fine.
Using a plain round cutter, cut 8 round shapes for the small choux puffs.
For the finish: Using a pastry brush, apply a little cold mirror glaze over the large choux puffs.
Place the pink sugar paste flower on top. It should take the round shape of the choux puff.
Apply a thin layer of clear mirror glaze for a glossy finish.
The result should be as shown in the photo.
Repeat the operation with the small choux puffs so the sugar paste sticks to the pastry...
... and finish with a thin layer of clear glaze.
Arrange each small choux bun over a large one, perfectly centred.
Using green sugar paste, shape a tiny piece into a pointy stem using your fingers.
Arrange the green stem on top of each religieuse...
... and give it a slight curved shape. Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!
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