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choux pastry (single batch):
1 cup water
2 1/2 oz / 75g butter
1 cup flour
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
5 egg yolks
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice *
2 tblspns molasses or treacle
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
8oz/ 500g store bought gingerbread
1/4 cup grand marnier
1 cup superfine / castor sugar
active time: 1 1/2 hours
total time: 2 1/2 hours
you will need:
|thanksgiving profiteroles and choux ring
I call these thanksgiving profiteroles, but that's only because anyone who has them drops to their knees and gives thanks...and because the have all the key ingredients and flavours of the traditional pumpkin pie, only done in such a way that you'd swear there was a flurry of drag queens in the kitchen!
you could make them all year 'round, but they are a great 'special occasion' treat for the festive season. the profiteroles are especially good if you are planning to serve dinner buffet style. (I can't help myself, I make the ring and the profiteroles because I'm a great big show-off)
Choux pastry is much easier to make than regular pastry and it illicits much more 'oohs! and aahs!'
to feed my crowd, I made 2 batches. cooked one as a large ring, the other as small profiterole sized puffs
there are a few steps involved in pulling this off, but most of them can be done ahead, so all that is required on the day is 15 minutes of assembly
day before: make choux ring / profiteroles, make pumpkin custard. buy gingerbread
day of serving: whip cream, drench gingerbread, make toffee and assemble
this is my aunt's old recipe and it never lets me down:
pre-heat the oven to 425f/ 210c
put the water, butter and salt into a saucepan and bring it to the boil to melt the butter. whilst boiling, pour in all of the flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir like crazy as the mixture forms a ball
turn the mix into a bowl and let cool just slightly. beat eggs in, one at a time, with an electric beater. the mix will become glossy and smooth
for a choux ring:
use a tablespoon to spoon the batter in a circle, about 9 inches / 20cm across, onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. dip your fingers in a glass to wet them and then flick the water over the baking sheet. this will evaporate and help the pastry rise. place the baking sheet in the oven. bake 12 minutes in the hot oven, then turn it down to 325f / 160c and bake another 30 minutes. remove from the oven, and cut some small slits around the base of the ring. this will let the steam out. place the sheet back in the oven and turn the oven off. let the ring cool in the oven. when cool, slice the ring around and, using a spoon, gently remove any uncooked eggy batter, just leaving the shell. if you are making this ahead, then store in an airtight container.
make the batter as above, them spoon batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet in 1inch balls. flick with water and bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325f / 160c and bake about 20-25 mins. slit each one to let the steam escape and allow to cool in the oven (turned off)
if the choux loses its crispness, then place either the ring or the profiteroles in a cool oven (250f /120c) for 15 mins just before serving
spiced pumpkin custard:
mix: pumpkin (canned is fine); heavy cream; milk; molasses (optional); sugar ; pumpkin pie spice and beaten egg yolks. heat over a medium flame, stirring, until the custard starts to bubble. remove from heat, strain it and set aside to cool slightly. pour about 1 inch of custard over the gingerbread. if you have extra custard, enjoy it hot over ice cream! (tip: use some cling film and place it onto the surface of the custard, this way it will cool without forming a 'skin')
break up the gingerbread and place it in a small bowl. pour the grand marnier over the gingerbread
whip the cream until fluffy but not too firm. fold the gingerbread through the cream
butter a 12 inch sheet of aluminum foil
heat 1/2 cup of superfine (castor) sugar in a non-stick skillet over a low heat. the sugar will melt. remove from the heat as soon as the sugar has dissolved has turned golden brown. it will keep cooking and burn quickly, so timing is important.
drizzle melted sugar over the foil and allow to cool. break the toffee into shards and store in an air-tight container until serving
put the sugar into a non-stick skillet and heat over a high flame. this will melt quickly so keep an eye on it.
spoon the custard into the bottom of the ring, then top with the cream mixture. place the top onto the ring and place it onto the serving platter. pour the hot toffee from the skillet onto the choux ring.
to assemble profiteroles, cut the in half, fill with 1 teaspoon of custard in the bottom half, 1 teaspoon of cream in the top half, put them together and when they are all assembled on a platter, pour the toffee on top of them.
I tumbled some fresh cranberries and sprigs of clementines onto the platter to add some totally uneccessary embellishment. the choux ring serves 6-8 and you should get 12 profiteroles from this recipe.