I made these last week with the intention of using them for a Mother’s Day post. I thought they would make a nice afternoon tea treat for all of the lovely mammies out there. But then when it came to it I just couldn’t bring myself to type it up. I didn’t quite feel like celebrating mammies when I don’t have my own here with me. Selfish I know. My heart grew increasingly heavy with each passing day last week, and it wasn’t until Thursday arrived that I realised why. Mother’s Day doesn’t normally affect me in the same way that birthdays and anniversaries do, but this year it seemed to taunt me. Shops, TV ads and social media were in Mother’s Day overdrive, and the reality of the day for me was to my mind being rubbed in my face.
This week, with the day behind me, I have cast aside my selfish behaviour and felt able to sit down and blog. Religieuse are little morsels of Choux pastry nunny deliciousness. A Choux bun, filled with cream, dipped in chocolate and topped with a smaller Choux bun. Just in case the one is not enough like. I recently received some Áine Hand Made Chocolate and decided to try their Dark Zesty Lime bar for the topping. I had a sneaky little taste of it before I melted it down and love how the silky smoothness of the chocolate is punctuated with nuggets of crystallised lime zest. To further accentuate the lime flavour I added some lime zest to the Chantilly cream filling. I used the Choux pastry recipe from my book for these but increased the quantities slightly. These were a big hit here, so much so that the police have opened a file on the case of the missing nun *glances sideways at Mr. LMUTB*. Enjoy!
For the pastry:
75g Unsalted Butter
100g Plain Flour
3 Large Eggs, beaten
For the filling:
2tbsp icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lime, optional
For the chocolate topping:
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
25g unsalted butter
2tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper on the reverse of which you have drawn 6 circles 5cm in diameter, and 6 that are 3.5cm in diameter.
Melt the butter with the water in a saucepan set over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then beat in the flour.
Return the saucepan to a low heat and continue to beat the mixture until it leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Add the eggs a little at a time beating continuously until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle. Pipe into each of the circles on the parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, reduce the heat or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke a small hole in the top of the larger buns, turn the smaller buns over and poke a small hole in the bottom of each, leave them upside down on the baking sheet. This will allow steam to escape from inside the buns so that they can crisp up. Return to the oven for 3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the Chantilly cream add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whip just until it holds peaks. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain or star-shaped nozzle. Once the buns have cooled fill with the cream through the hole that you made in each one earlier. Reserve some of the cream to pipe the ‘collar’ onto the assembled religieuse.
To make the chocolate topping melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not make contact with the water. Once melted remove the bowl from the pot and mix in the icing sugar. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the chocolate on top of each bun. Then sit one small bun on top of each large bun, pressing down gently to secure. Once the chocolate has set pipe a ‘collar’ around each nun.