Add some crunch to your profiteroles by following the elegant French technique of putting craquelin (a simple dough made of sugar, butter and flour) on top of the puffs before baking them. Apart from lending texture, craquelin can also be coloured and flavoured in a variety of ways. In this recipe, we use craquelin to make the ever-popular croquembouche even more fanciful.
Recipe by Christine Capendale
Photograph and styling by Hein van Tonder
Rooibos and fynbos croquembouche
- 75g butter
- 75g light brown sugar
- 80g cake flour
- 1 x batch choux dough
ROOIBOS AND FYNBOS CUSTARD
- 600ml full-cream milk
- 4 Rooibos teabags
- 2 star anise
- 40g cake flour
- 20g cornflour
- 3 eggs
- 60g fynbos honey
- 80g white sugar
- pinch salt
- 50g butter
- 150ml fresh cream, whipped to soft peaks
- 100g castor sugar
For the craquelin, line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside until needed.
Beat the 75g butter and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the 80g cake flour and beat until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.Cover with a sheet of baking paper, then roll out the dough to about 0,3cm in thickness. Refrigerate until needed.
For the croquembouche, preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a large baking sheet. Set aside until needed.
Spoon the choux dough into a large piping bag fitted with a closed star nozzle. Pipe dollops of the dough, each about the size of a large marble, onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure to leave spaces of about 3cm between each dollop to allow for expanding when baking. Alternatively, use a teaspoon to drop dollops of the paste onto the baking sheet.
Remove the craquelin from the fridge and cut circles large enough to fit over each dollop of choux dough. Place one craquelin circle over each dollop, then bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C and continue to bake until the profiteroles are golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pierce to release the steam. Set aside until completely cooled.
For the Rooibos and fynbos custard, place the milk, Rooibos teabags andstar anise in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat until warm, then remove from heat and set aside to infuse, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the teabags and star anise.
Combine the 40g cake flour, cornflour, eggs, honey, white sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add the infused milk and whisk until well combined. Return the mixture to the still-warm saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in the 50g butter. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover the surface with cling film, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Gently fold in the whipped cream, then spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
To assemble, use a skewer/paring knife to pierce a small hole in the bottom of each profiterole. Working with one at a time, stick the nozzle of the custard-filled piping bag into a profiterole and gently squeeze until the pastry is filled. Repeat until all the profiteroles are filled.
Carefully stack the filled profiteroles in a cone shape on top of a cake stand. Set aside.
For the spun sugar, melt the castor sugar in a non-stick frying pan placed over very low heat. Without stirring, continue to cook the sugar until it turns golden brown in colour.