This is the mother of all choux pastry recipes.
If there is one takeaway from this recipe/blog post, it is that Dominique Ansel is officially a regular human being ;). After finding out that he never liked cookies, my friend has been endlessly mocking him (IM SORRY DOMINIQUE, SHES AN AWFUL PERSON), however, in this description he notes how it is based on when he ate a Snicker. DONINIQUE ANSEL EATS SNICKERS OMG. I cannot see him eating something that could be easily bought in a Londis, yet here we are ;).
This whole pastry is actually inspired by when he first stepped of the plane into New York, and quickly ate a Snicker on route to his destination. This pastry, like a Snicker, has elements of caramel, chocolate and peanut. He uses the pastry to signify his journey from Paris to New York and I’m sorry but – that’s crazy cute.
This recipe has ALLSORTS going on. It starts with our old pal the choux pastry, while giving us creams, mousses and caramels (OH MY). This is what I expected from the intermediate section. This must’ve been the hardest recipe yet, because there are caramel stains on the recipe section; this could only mean one thing – trauma ;).
A part of me wants to write about the wonders of choux again but ALSO, I’ll probably get attacked by someone if I ramble on about the pastry anymore ;). The only difference this time was the fact that I had to pipe it into rings. Now, I’ve fallen into a light bit of issue at college. My lecturer seems to think that I’m some incredible piper because I do cake decorating, however, I would not class myself as a piper at all ;). This has caused him to give me countless jobs in the kitchen purely because they involve the slightest bit of pipe work – IM LIVING A HORROR MOVIE. After, shoddily faking my way through the pipe work and creating dubious results, its clear that I’m no piper. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt that anyone on my course could do better but STILL – I really need to murder the ‘Woody is an incredible piper’ myth, because they couldn’t be more wrong ;).
My rings weren’t awful; but they certainly weren’t great. They look like if you were to go into a Year 4 class and get them all to draw a circle on the whiteboard, like my choux, the circles would come out with varying degrees of success ;). Hallelujah they’re sliced like a bagel rather than sandwiched like a macaron because that’d be the end of me.
Of course, the true excitement in this recipe comes from the fillings. Ansel really treats us (and DARE I SAY attempts to sabotage me ;)), with the three fillings. The first is a dark chocolate mousse. The Wenman-Hyde’s have a bit of a thing for mousses – THEY’RE SO GOOD. The mousse is aerated with whipped cream making it safe to eat, and has to be refrigerated overnight to allow the gelatine to set.
Next, we have the peanut butter cream. I think peanut butter is one of the wonders of the world, if I’m completely honest ;). This cream is a simple process and once again has to be refrigerated overnight to allow the gelatine to do its thing.
The soft caramel uses a rather interesting method, that I have never seen before. Generally, if I make caramel I have a recipe from a chocolatier that I met when I was younger filming something for a TV show (that never got picked up by a network btw, RIP). This method could not be more different. It begins by warming cream with sugar and then adding it to caramelised sugar and cooking until it reaches a temperature. The caramel went relatively easily (WHOOP).
Lastly, I had to caramelise some peanuts (THIS RECIPE NEVER ENDS I SWEAR TO GOD). Sadly, I could only get red-skin peanuts and once made, they looked like they were huge red acne that had completely dried and shrivelled into ovals, not very appetising, I know. Luckily, me and my mother are absolute scavengers for caramelised nuts and these were the bomb (most of them were eaten before the next stage of the recipe, sorry not sorry ;)).
If I’m completely honest, the assemble is where things didn’t go as well as I was hoping. Ansels version are like almost cylindrical with perfect bulbs of creams and mousses, before being elegantly finished. Mine – dare I say – looked a mess. This was partially thanks to do the really shoddy colour I gave the glaze; WHY I didn’t think to reference it against Ansel’s photo – I DON’T KNOW.
They may not have looked as good as I was hoping, BUT DAMN. This is 10/0, my favourite recipe yet. Each flavour worked together perfectly, and the textures just melted as soon as they hit your mouth. Finished with the crunch from the peanut – these were top notch pastries. If I ever doubt Ansel’s wisdom, I will just cast my mind back to this moment. ;)
NEXT UP: Perfect Little Egg Sandwich (AS IF we are diving into something savoury – wild)
I’d love to hear everything you liked/disliked in the comments below (I literally combust with joy every time someone comments), and any questions you may have about me/Ansel/the book/future posts/or literally ANYTHING ELSE.
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