A gift of rose petals necessitates a gesture. Not just anything will do. I’ve made mere rose jelly ~ (crystalline blushing winesap pink), rose cupcakes ~ (vegan, pistachi-O’d and almondy), rose vodka ~ (hello!)…… but I needed to speak in a full sentence this time, and the 14th of February loomed pain-free and celebratory on the horizon. I’d always wanted to try it, and I guess it was time, to wizard up some sugarbombs in a flavour combo courtesy of the french wizard Pierre Herme himself, a trifecta of rose, raspberry and lychee – an Ispahan dessert.
St Valentine’s must have met nuns, and if he did, they would probably be made of cream puffs and be called religieuses. A religieuse, besides being terrifically delicious and kind of freaky looking, is a snowman creation of a fat cream puff (pate a choux) filled with pastry cream, a smaller filled cream puff on top, iced in crisp fondant and streaked with streaks of buttercream. Verily, I couldn’t help but pop a cube of lychee gelee and fresh whole raspberries inside, and flavour the pastry cream and fondant with rose essence. The buttercream is spiked with a bittersweet milk/dark ganache and piped using the only tool I had around for the job…. a freezer bag.
All hail cleverness and frugality and the heart-willing faith that nozzle-less, one’s art-piece will still have itself adorned with those silly little stripes that I love so much!!!
For the heart of my life, for all the ones I love. <3 <3 Here is to you, and I hope every day forthward is a religious experience. At least when it comes time to eat dessert. ;)
Raspberry, Rose & Lychee Religieuses
Pate a Choux
makes 20-24 Puffs
1/2 cup (125g) whole milk
1/2 cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
- In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
- Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
- and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.
- Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
- The dough should be still warm. On a greased tray, pipe out or scoop out 12-14 puffs about the size of a mandarin orange, and 12-14 puffs the size of walnuts, and bake in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and golden brown all over. Try not to open the oven door while they’re still rising, or they may lose steam and flatten. After taking them out of the oven, pierce them with a knife to allow steam to escape.
Notes:Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
Raspberry Pastry Cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/4 cup raspberry puree
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk with the vanilla seeds and pod and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
2. While the milk is heating, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch. When the milk has come to a simmer, whisk a small amount of milk in with the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then pour the egg mixture in the saucepan with the milk. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture has thickened to form a thick custard. Remove from heat and strain into a medium bowl.
3. Immediately stir in the butter and raspberry puree, then cool the mixture by placing the bowl over a larger bowl of ice water and stirring until the custard is chilled. This makes about 2 1/2 cups pastry cream.
4. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Compote de Lychee
- 6 g gelatine leaves
- 16 g lemon juice
- 40 g of lychee juice
- 97 g of mineral water
- 64 g caster sugar
- 177 g of mashed lychee pulp
1. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for about 2-3 minutes until soft
2. In a saucepan, pour the lemon juice, lychee juice, mineral water and sugar. Bring to a boil ( until the sugar dissolved ) and remove from heat
3. Stir in the softened gelatin that was previously drained to the juice mixture and add in the pureed lychee.
4. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 or 3 drops red food coloring (for pink icing)
1. In a bowl, combine the water and corn syrup. Place the powdered sugar in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan. Add the water and corn syrup mixture to the sugar and stir until well mixed. Place over low heat until melted (but don’t allow the temperature to exceed 100 degrees).
2. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and the food coloring. This makes 1 1/4 cups fondant. It should be warm when coating the choux buns.
- Pastry cream
- Choux buns
- About 1 cup fondant, for frosting
- Fresh raspberries, for garnish
- Lychee gelee cubes
- Buttercream (chocolate or vanilla)
1. Fit a large pastry bag with a small tip suitable for piping a filling. Fill the bag with the chilled pastry cream.
2. Pierce a small hole in the bottom of the choux buns and fill each of the buns with the pastry cream until you can feel the weight of the cream inside – almost but not quite full. Cut pieces of lychee gelee small enough to fit inside and carefully insert, along with a few raspberries. Set the filled buns aside.
3. Coat the tops of the buns by dipping them in warm fondant, shaking off the excess. Hold the buns upside down for a minute to give the fondant a chance to set, then gently invert and allow the fondant to dry. While the fondant is still a little tacky, assemble the religieuse by placing a smaller bun on top of a larger. Allow the fondant to dry completely.
5. Pipe stripes of buttercream all up the sides of the pastry. Then eat!