Apple and Calvados crumble choux buns
These choux buns have a surprise inside (apple compote and Calvados cream) and on top (crumble crust) – delightful in summer or autumn!
icing/confectioners’ sugar, to dust
80 g/5 tablespoons butter, softened
100 g/1/2 cup light brown sugar
100 g/3/4 cup plain/all-purpose flour
Pâte à choux
125 ml/1/2 cup water
125 ml/1/2 cup milk
100 g/61/2 tablespoons butter
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
140 g/1 cup plus 11/2 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour
approximately 6 eggs
250 ml/1 cup whipping cream
250 ml/1 cup double/heavy cream
500 g/2 cups storebought crème pâtissière
2 tablespoons Calvados
500 g/18 oz. Bramley apples
2 tablespoons butter
50 g/1/4 cup light brown sugar
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
piping bags, plain nozzle/tip and star-shaped nozzle/tip
baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper
Makes 12–16 small buns
For the crumble topping
Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or in a bowl with an electric whisk just until well combined. Add the flour and bring together into a dough with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, top with another sheet and flatten with a rolling pin until about 3 mm thick. Freeze for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas 4.
For the choux pastry
Put the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a silicone or wooden spoon so that the sugar doesn’t burn and cause the mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan.
When it comes to the boil, quickly stir in the flour and mix together. Beat the dough vigorously until it cleanly leaves the sides of the saucepan – this can take up to 5 minutes, depending on the heat.
Transfer the dough to a stand mixer or mixing bowl (using an electric whisk) and beat in the eggs, one at a time. You might not need all 6 eggs – flour and eggs behave differently no matter how many times you make the same recipe, so the number of eggs needed can vary.
As you add the eggs and beat them in, watch the dough and when it is soft and smooth and drops off a spoon leaving behind a ‘V’ shape, it is ready.
Take the piping bag and fit it with the plain nozzle/tip. Fill the bag with the choux pastry and pipe 12–16 buns on the prepared baking sheet. Take the crumble topping out of the freezer, remove the top sheet of paper and stamp out 2.5-cm/1-inch rounds from the frozen dough – use a cookie cutter or cut around a bottle top. Cut out the same number as there are buns and place a round on top of each bun. (A)
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through, puffed up and golden, then turn the oven off and leave the buns inside to cool completely and dry out.
For the apple compote
Peel, core and chop the apples. Put them in a saucepan with the butter, sugar and lemon juice and zest. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir, raise the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes or until you get a chunky ‘compote’. Allow to cool completely.
For the crème diplomate
Put the whipping cream and double/heavy cream in a stand mixer or use a mixing bowl and an electric whisk. Beat until soft, billowing peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip it otherwise it will become thick and grainy and it will split when mixed in with the crème pâtissière.
Gently fold the whipped cream, in stages, into the crème pâtissière until smooth and irresistible, then fold in the Calvados.
Cut each chou bun in half horizontally and spoon some of the compote in the bottom. (B)
Fill the piping bag with crème diplomate. Pipe a generous mound on top of the compote. (C)
Sandwich with the other half of the bun. Dust with icing/confectioners’ sugar, to serve.
(* Recipe from 'Patisserie at Home' by Will Torrent- Ryland Peters & Small, April 2013- photography by Jonathan Gregson-all rights reserved)