Choux snowball tower
1 HOUR 45 MINUTES + COOLING
SERVES 6 | A LITTLE EFFORT
whole milk 85ml
unsalted butter 85g, diced
caster sugar 2 tsp
fine sea salt 1/2 tsp
flour 85g (use a mixture of equal parts plain and bread flours)
eggs 3 large, beaten FILLING
coconut milk 400g tin (chill the tin – you’ll use 100g thickened cream from it)
double cream 400ml
vanilla bean paste 1 tsp
icing sugar 2 tbsp GLAZE
icing sugar 200g
whole milk 30ml
vanilla bean paste 1/4 tsp
flaked or desiccated coconut 50g, lightly toasted
• To make the choux pastry, pour 85ml of water and the milk into a medium pan with the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over a low-medium heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved, then turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat, add the flour and quickly stir to make a dough. Return to the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Tip the pastry into a bowl and beat for a couple of minutes until cooled. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating in each addition until fully combined before adding more. Add just enough of the beaten eggs to make a slightly glossy dough that, when lifted from the bowl, falls from the spatula in a V-shape (you may not need all the eggs). If it tears when lifted, it needs a little more egg; if it’s too loose and flows easily, you’ve added too much.
• Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Scrape the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle, and set aside. You can pipe without a guide, but it’s easiest to use a template so that all the buns are the same size and bake for the same length of time. Cut a sheet of baking paper large enough to fit your largest baking tray, and use a 4cm round cookie cutter to draw 12 circles on the paper using a pencil. Flip the paper over, put it on the tray and pipe small rounds of the pastry to fill the circles. Dip a finger in water and gently press down any peaks in the pastry.
• To help the choux pastry rise as much as possible, lightly mist it with a little water just before baking – it’s like adding steam to the oven when baking bread. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the buns are golden brown and well risen. Open the oven, then carefully use a small, sharp knife to make a small hole in the side of each bun. Close the oven door, turn off the heat, and leave the buns to cool inside for 30 minutes – this will help them stay crisp.
• For the glaze, mix all of the ingredients, except the toasted coconut, until thick but pourable. For the filling, remove the tin of coconut milk from the fridge, open and scoop out 100g of the thickened cream, leaving the water behind. Whisk the coconut cream with the double cream, vanilla and sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
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