This really did test all of my will power not to eat a few before dinner. I absolutely love hazelnut praline and choux buns bring back happy memories of my younger days in college when I actually managed to make a perfect batch in my home economics exam. In my view its the perfect dessert and special enough to serve to your guests.
Hazelnut Praline Profiteroles
For the choux pastry
80g of unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
½ tsp salt
150g plain flour, sifted
4 eggs, beaten
For the Hazelnut Praline
50g caster sugar
100g hazelnuts, chopped
For the Hazelnut Cream
2.5g gelatine leaves
40ml double cream
150g hazelnut praline
300ml double cream
For the Chocolate Glaze
75g dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids)
75ml double cream
50g light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
15ml light nut oil
20g roasted chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan.
For the choux pastry, put the butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan with 250ml of water and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the sifted flour and stir until the flour is incorporated. Return the saucepan to the heat and stir vigorously for 2 – 3 minutes over a low to medium heat, until the paste becomes dry and comes away from the sides.
Transfer the pastry immediately to a food mixer or processor with a beater attachment. Add the eggs, little by little, and beat to a smooth, shiny paste. To test the consistency of the mixture, run the back of a metal spoon through the paste. It should slowly close up again. Put the mixture into a piping bag, fitted with a large round nozzle and pipe 2.5cm round dome like shapes onto a baking sheet. They should be nice and tall.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Do not open the oven door for the first 15 minutes or the buns might collapse. After 20 minutes, open the oven door briefly to allow any steam to escape, close the door and continue baking the buns for the remaining 5 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven, pierce each bun with a skewer to allow steam to escape and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the hazelnut praline, place the caster sugar into a saucepan. Heat over a medium heat and without stirring until the sugar begins to caramelise. Add the chopped nuts and continue to cook the caramel until it is a golden brown colour. Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and leave to cool. When completely cool, blitz in a food processor to a fine powder and set aside.
To make the hazelnut cream, soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 -10 minutes. Gently heat 40ml of double cream in a saucepan, then remove from the heat, add in the squeezed out gelatine and stir until dissolved. Put the hazelnut praline into a large mixing bowl and stir in the gelatine cream. In a separate bowl and with an electric hand mixer, beat the 300ml of double cream until firm. Fold the cream into the hazelnut cream. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and set aside in the fridge.
With a sharp, serrated knife cut off the top third of the choux buns. Pipe the hazelnut cream into each bun to fill, replace the tops and chill.
To make the chocolate glaze, break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a glass jug. Put the water, cream, sugar and salt into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate, leave to stand for a minute, then stir until smooth. Leave to cool a little before adding the oil.
Pour or spoon over the buns and sprinkle with the roasted chopped hazelnuts. Serve immediately.