Effort: Difficult (Only because there are alot of steps)
Before I write the ingredients, I think it's important to understand the various steps involved in making this amazingly delicious cake. The first steps are to have puff pastry on hand, I rarely make my own, but you can if you want. Then one has to make the "Choux" pastry and set it aside to cool. Meanwhile you need to roll the puff pastry into a 1/8" round, about 10" in diameter and prick all around with a fork (you can use a plate or a cake pan as a template)...heat your oven to 400oF, place the pastry round on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, then using a pastry or icing bag, without a tip or a large tip, pipe a thick circle of choux pastry along the edge of the pastry circle. On another cookie sheet lined with parchment, pipe out approximately 20-25 little mounds of the choux pastry (approx. 3/4" each). Bake the base (puff pastry round) and the little mounds until puffed and quite browned...this takes about 15-20 minutes..set aside to cool thoroughly. Meanwhile make the pastry cream, which also needs to cool. Once all is cooled, using a pastry bag with a fine tip, filled with pastry cream, insert the tip into each choux round (or little ball) and fill with cream..Then you need to make the toffee....and the whipped cream... The toffee is used as a glue to hold the little balls of choux onto the base of the pastry and to make a double wall around it, then you drizzle the rest all around and fill the center of the cake with mounds of whipped cream. I also used chocolate to decorate the sides, and with the extra toffee made some decorations to put in the center. So, you see it's not that difficult to make, just takes a lot of time and patience ! So, here we go with the recipe:
1. Choux Pastry
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
3 1/2 oz butter
5 1/2 oz sifted flour
In a medium saucepan heat the milk, water and butter until the butter is melted. Sift in the flour and stir constantly over the heat (on medium) until it forms a smooth ball and is no longer sticking on the sides. Remove from heat, and add the eggs, one at a time, blending well each time. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool. (Note, choux pastry keeps for several days in the fridge, so if you have extra, keep it to make profiteroles!)
2. Other Ingredients
150 gm puff pastry
2 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp fine sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Whip the cream with sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Set aside to cool.
3. Pastry Cream
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 egg yolks
2 oz sifted flour
3-4 oz fine sugar
In a medium saucepan combine the eggs with the sugar, then gradually add in the milk until well incorporated. Add the vanilla essence and the flour then on low heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Set aside to cool - stirring from time to time so that it doesn't form a film on the top.
8 oz cane sugar
4 oz water
Candy thermometer if you have one
In a small saucepan, melt the sugar with the water on medium/high heat. Once bubbling, allow it to bubble until it reaches 280o on the candy thermometer. If you don't have one, this should take about 15-20 minutes or until it's a dark amber colour and when you take a metal spoon it coats the spoon almost without dripping off. Turn the heat to very low, just enough to keep warm.
So now you need to follow the steps in the first paragraph, carefully ! Assembling it all at the end using the toffee as your glue.
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