Caramel and coffee choux buns
These decadent, creamy éclairs mix rich toffee with aromatic coffee for an elegant sugar hit.
Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/½in plain nozzle.
For the choux pastry
For the filling
- 280ml/9¾fl oz milk
- 3 free-range egg yolks
- 60g/2¼oz caster sugar
- 2 tbsp instant coffee granules
- 30g/1oz plain flour
- 1 x 397g/14oz tin caramel condensed milk
For the coffee whipped cream
For the glaze
- 200g/7oz soft light brown sugar
- 60ml/2¼fl oz full-fat milk
- 75g/2½oz butter
- 75g/2½oz plain flour
- 8g whole edible coffee beans, roughly chopped
For the sugared pecans
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
For the choux pastry, bring 110ml/4fl oz water to the boil in a saucepan with the butter.
Add the flour all at once and, using a wooden spoon, immediately beat it into the water until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and continue to beat the mixture until it has cooled slightly.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one into the mixture, until the eggs are fully incorporated and the mixture is glossy. Set aside to cool slightly.
Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag. Pipe balls or short lines of the choux pastry onto the prepared baking tray, leaving a generous gap between each.
Bake the choux buns in the oven for 10-15 minutes until risen, then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and bake for a further 30-35 minutes, or until golden-brown (keep checking towards the end of the cooking time. If your oven has hot spots you may need to move the buns around to ensure they all cook evenly). Prop the oven door open a little (wedge the handle of a wooden spoon into it) and turn off the heat. Leave the choux buns in the oven to ‘dry’ out.
For the filling, bring the milk just to the boil in a saucepan.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar and coffee granules until pale and fluffy. Add the flour to the egg mixture and whisk again until well combined.
Pour the warm milk over the egg mixture and whisk well to combine, then return the filling mixture to the saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.
Strain the filling mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside to cool, then chill the mixture in the fridge until completely cold.
Whisk the caramel condensed milk into the cold filling mixture until well combined. Chill in the fridge until needed.
For the coffee whipped cream, whisk together the double cream, icing sugar and coffee liqueur until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and chill in the fridge until needed.
For the glaze, melt the sugar, milk, butter and flour together in a saucepan, stir well, then bring the mixture to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes to cool, then stir well; it should have the consistency of honey.
Spread a little of the glaze on the top of each choux bun, then sprinkle some of the chopped coffee beans over each. Leave to set.
For the sugared pecans, heat the sugar in a frying pan over a low to medium heat until it melts and turns light golden-brown (do not stir the sugar at all). Add the pecans and stir to completely coat them in the syrup.
Scrape the sugared pecans onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, then set aside to cool and harden. Once hardened, roughly chop the sugared nuts.
To assemble the choux buns, cut the choux buns in half horizontally and spread some of the caramel filling mixture and then the coffee whipped cream over the bases. Sprinkle over a few of the sugared pecans, then top with the glazed part of the choux buns. Serve immediately.
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