FOR THE Pâte à Choux
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut up)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
3-5 large eggs, room temp
(plus 1 egg & water for egg wash)
for the pastry cream
2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut up)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
For the caramel
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
for the pâte à Cchoux
Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside
Preheat oven to 425˚ F
In a saucepan over medium - heat water, butter sugar & salt until the butter has melted.
Once the butter has melted- quickly add all the flour & stir FAST AS HELL (with a wooden spoon)
Continue to stir vigorously for about 3-4 minutes - or until you can see a film on the bottom of the pan & the dough comes together in one mass & pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer the dough to a medium bowl and let it cool for another 3-4 minutes.
Mix one egg thoroughly in at a time (with the wooden spoon) -stir it in quickly making sure not to cook the egg. The mixture will break when you add each egg, but just continue to stir & it'll come back together.
the size of your eggs will determine how many of them your dough needs. You want the mixture to be smooth, glossy and sort of “stretchy” when you lift it from the spoon- NOT liquid-y or glue-like. So if you reach that perfect consistency with 3 eggs awesome! With 5? Awesome! That’s why we add one at a time :)
In a pastry bag fitted with a round tip - fill with the dough.
Pipe 1 inch (ish) rounds about 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Dipping your finger in water- smooth out any points in the rounds (they’ll brown faster)
In a small bowl whisk an egg with a bit of water (to make an egg wash) and brush over the top of each round of dough.
Bake for 15 minutes - then turn then oven down to 350˚ F & bake for another 10-15 minutes (or until they’re golden brown, and when tapped on the bottom - sound hollow)
for the pastry cream:
In a medium sauce pan (over medium heat) bring milk, butter, salt & vanilla pods to a simmer.
In a separate medium bowl - beat egg yolks & granulated sugar together until pale & light in color. (use your electric whisk unless ur feeling extra Hulk-like today) Once the egg & sugar combo has been whisked until pale, add cornstarch and mix again until well combined.
Taking the hot milk mixture off the heat, SLOWLY drizzle it into the egg mixture whisking constantly as to not cook the eggs.
Once all added, pour the mixture through a sieve (to retrieve vanilla pods) then pour it back into the saucepan and cook again over medium heat, whisking constantly until it’s thick & you can see the whisk marks held in the cream.
Strain the cream the sieve again and into a medium bowl - cover with plastic wrap (directly touching the custard as to not form a *shudders* …“skin”
Chill until fully cooled - at least 2 hours.
Fill pastry bag (fitted with a star tip) with the chilled cream.
for the caramel:
Add sugar & water to a shallow pan & stir JUST to combine.
DON’T TOUCH IT - continue to cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, the sugar will go from a milky white, to a light amber color.
if you stir: it WILL crystalize & you WILL have to start over & you WILL hate yourself
Remove from heat, it’ll get a tad bit darker from the residual heat of the pan & you don’t want it to go over & burn.
Using a knife, poke a hole into the bottom of each puff & pipe in pasty cream
On a cake stand (or whatever serving platter you’re going to use) - adhere a parchment round to act as a guide.
Starting with the biggest (or ugliest) puffs, dip one side into the caramel (don’t burn yourself -use tongs) and begin placing them in a circle - adhering them to each other with the caramel.
Continue adding layer by layer (adding less puffs each time), building up to a hollow cone shape
reheating the caramel as needed!
Once fully assembled -let the caramel cool slightly more, then use a fork and a twirling motion to create caramel “threads” around the tower. DON’T BURN YOUR FACE OFF.
Serve immediately because no like - you got like 3 hours MAX before this becomes soggier than the leftover cereal in milk.