The final recipe in my chocolate experimentation series pairs Willie’s Cacao sweet Peruvian Chulucana with a homemade cherry and brandy compote, chocolate cream and crisp golden choux pastry- perfect for an afternoon tea or an evening treat. This chocolate has fruity sweet flavours so would also work well with raspberries, blackberries and dried fruit.
For the choux pastry: 3 eggs, 85g butter, 220ml water, 105g plain flour, pinch salt
For the cherry compote: double handful fresh cherries (chopped and de-stoned), 75g caster sugar, 2tbsp brandy
For the chocolate cream filling: 300ml double cream, 2tbsp cocoa powder, 2tbsp icing sugar
For the topping: 200g Peruvian Chulucana chocolate (or a good quality 70% dark chocolate), 50g good quality white chocolate
Start with the cherry filling. Place the cherries in a saucepan along with the caster sugar and brandy. Heat slowly for 10-15 minutes, or until the cherries release their juices and start thickening up to form a compote. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200c (fan). Very lightly grease a baking tray with butter.
Now make your choux pastry. Sieve the flour and salt three times to ensure no lumps are left, then pour it into the centre of a piece of greaseproof paper, ready for the next step.
Place the butter and water in a saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted. Do not let it boil during this stage or the water will evaporate too rapidly. Once melted, increase the temperature and bring to a rolling boil. Add the plain flour in one go and remove from the heat- now vigorously mix with a wooden spoon until it is well combined, shiny and comes away from the sides of the pan. Spoon this mixture into a bowl and leave to cool to body temperature.
Whisk the eggs together in a jug. Once your choux mix has cooled sufficiently, start adding your egg a little at a time, mixing with an electric whisk between each addition. You might not need all the egg- just stop when you achieve a smooth and glossy dropping consistency (where the mix falls off a wooden spoon after around 6 seconds).
When your choux is ready spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe doughnut shapes onto your prepared baking tray, leaving space for expansion between each. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and well risen, then turn the heat down to 170c and remove your pastry from the oven. Insert a skewer into each doughnut to allow the steam to escape then bake for a further 5-10 minutes to dry out thoroughly. Once baked the choux should have firm sides and be a deep golden brown colour. Cool on a wire rack.
While the choux is cooling, melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then set aside to cool. Finally, take your cream and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, then whisk to soft peaks.
To assemble, slice the doughnuts in half horizontally and fill the lower half with some cherry compote followed by a ring of piped chocolate cream. Top with the other pastry half then carefully pour some melted dark chocolate over. Repeat with the other choux rings. Decorate with leftover cherries and melted or grated white chocolate, if you like.
Thanks to Willie’s Cacao for sending me their delicious chocolate and thanks to you for reading my chocolate based recipes this week. If you want to find out more about the company and the bean to bar philosophy, click here.