The Croquant Bush, a dessert that spells grandeur, recently graced television screens on MasterChef. This French confection is as delightful to the palate as it is a feast for the eyes. With a crunchy exterior, a soft creamy heart, and a glistening caramel cloak, it’s the ultimate sweet indulgence. Here’s how you can recreate the MasterChef Croquant Bush at home.
Croquant Bush Ingredients
For the Choux Pastry:
- 450 grams water
- 200 grams butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 10 eggs
- 310 grams all-purpose flour
For the Pastry Cream:
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 grams vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 500 grams milk
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 100 grams sugar
For the Caramel:
- 600 grams sugar
- 120 grams water
Crafting the Croquant Bush
The Choux Pastry:
- Start by making the choux pastry. Combine water, butter, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a rolling boil.
- Add the flour all at once, reduce the heat to low, and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove from heat and let the dough cool for a few minutes. Then, beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next. The dough should be smooth and shiny.
- Preheat your oven to 190°C (374°F).
- Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe the dough into small, even-sized mounds onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the pastries puff up and are golden brown.
The Pastry Cream:
- For the pastry cream, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the milk, continuing to whisk.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and reaches a custard-like consistency.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and vanilla, and allow it to cool. Once cooled, it can be transferred to a piping bag.
- To make the caramel, dissolve the sugar in water over medium heat. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture achieves a deep amber color. Be cautious not to burn the caramel.
- Once ready, remove from heat and use immediately for assembly.
Assembling the Croquant Bush
- Using a small knife, gently make a hole at the bottom of each cooled choux pastry puff.
- Fill each puff with the vanilla pastry cream by piping it into the hole you’ve created.
- Dip the top of each filled puff into the caramel, carefully coating it with a thin layer. Be mindful as the caramel will be hot.
- To assemble the bush, dip the side of each puff into the caramel and start building a tower on a serving plate, sticking them together with the caramel.
Tips for Mastering the Croquant Bush:
- Pastry Precision: Choux pastry demands precision. Measure your ingredients carefully, and don’t rush the process.
- Egg Integration: When adding eggs to the choux pastry dough, ensure each is fully incorporated to create a smooth dough.
- Caramel Caution: Caramel can go from perfect to burnt very quickly. Keep a close eye on it and use a candy thermometer if needed.
- Assemble Quickly: Once your caramel is ready, work quickly to assemble the bush. Caramel hardens as it cools, which can make assembly challenging.
With these ingredients and steps, you’re well on your way to creating a Croquant Bush that could very well earn a nod from the toughest of culinary critics. Bon appétit!