Religieuse

Impress with this traditional French pastry made up of two choux buns filled with pastry cream, topped with chocolate ganache and decorated with a whipped cream ‘collar’.

Equipment and preparation: You will need a piping bag with a 1.5cm/ ¾in plain nozzle, a small star nozzle and a long thin nozzle (or you could use a jam syringe) and a skewer.


By Mary Berry
From The Great British Bake Off

Ingredients

  • 60g/2¼oz butter, cut into cubes
  • 75g/2½oz plain flour
  • 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

For the crème pâtissière filling

  • 500ml/18fl oz full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 6 medium free-range egg yolks
  • 75g/2½oz caster sugar
  • 20g/¾oz cornflour
  • 25g/1oz plain flour

For the chocolate ganache icing

  • 150ml/5fl oz double cream
  • 200g/7oz plain chocolate (around 36% cocoa solids) broken into pieces

For the collar

  • 150ml/5fl oz double cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. line a baking tray with baking parchment and draw onto it eight circles 5cm/2in wide and another eight circles 2.5cm/1in wide. Put the butter in a heavy-based saucepan with 150ml/5fl oz of water and heat over a medium heat until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to the boil and then immediately remove from the heat.

  2. Quickly tip in the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Return to the heat and cook over a low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.

  3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition to form a smooth, shiny paste. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm/ ½in plain nozzle.

  4. Pipe round discs onto the baking tray in the marked circles and, using a damp finger, smooth over the top of each disc. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Remove the choux buns from the oven and pierce each bun with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Return to the oven for 4-5 minutes to dry out. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

  5. For the crème pâtissière filling, pour the milk and vanilla seeds into a heavy-based pan and bring gradually to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale, then whisk in the cornflour and plain flour. Pour the vanilla-infused milk onto the eggs, whisking continuously, then pour back into the pan.

  6. Bring back to the boil, whisking continuously over a medium heat and cook for one minute. Pour the crème pâtissière into a bowl. Cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool. Transfer to the fridge to chill.

  7. For the chocolate ganache icing, bring the cream to the boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and shiny. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Transfer the fridge to chill until the ganache has thickened to a spreadable consistency.

  8. To assemble the religieuse, spoon the cold crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a long thin nozzle (or alternatively you can use a jam syringe). Fill the choux buns with the crème pâtissière.

  9. Dip the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat half-way up the sides. Sit the small buns on top of the larger buns.

  10. For the collars, whip the cream in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle. Pipe lines of cream around the join where the small bun sits on top of the large bun to form a collar.

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