Cronuts (a combination of a croissant and a doughnut) are all the rage in bakeries across the country, but I’ve come up with a fun alternative that you can make at home. I call it a chouxnut – a combination of a doughnut and a choux bun – easy to make and deliciously decadent, the perfect gift that'll make anyone's day.
Ingredients: Makes 10
1 cup/ 250ml water
140g Sasko cake flour
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter OR 3 Tbsp Chocolate spread OR 3 Tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread
80g dark chocolate (chopped)
½ cup icing sugar
Preheat oven to 200*C and grease and line 2 baking trays.
Sift the flour.
Put the water and butter into a saucepan on medium heat and once the butter has melted and the water is just boiling, add the flour in one shot and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 2-3 minutes until the pastry comes away from the sides and forms a ball.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. (The choux needs to be cool enough to touch with your naked hand.)
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with the spoon/electric beaters until completely incorporated - this requires quite a lot of arm strength if using a spoon.
The choux should now be sticky and rich but should still be able to hold its shape.
Using a piping bag and large nozzle, create 10 equally sized circles of choux on the baking trays, with at least 4cm between each of them, as they will double in size.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crisp. (Timing will depend on the size.)
When you take them out of the oven, remove from the baking paper and prick each of the chouxnuts with a skewer/knife to release any excess steam and allow to cool on a wire cooling wrack.
Once the chouxnuts have cooled completely:
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form then add the flavouring of your choice (peanut butter/chocolate spread/chocolate hazelnut spread) and fold through until incorporated.
Make two holes, opposite one another, on the underside of each chouxnut.
Spoon the cream into a large piping bag and pipe enough cream into each hole to fill the chouxnuts.
For the icing: heat the milk in a bowl in the microwave then add the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted (if it doesn’t melt completely at first, pop it back into the microwave on lowest heat for 10-15 seconds, stir and repeat as necessary until it has melted completely).
Add the sifted icing sugar and whisk until you have a smooth chocolate icing.
Dip the top half of each of the chouxnuts into the chocolate icing, as you would with a doughnut, and allow to dry completely on the wire wracks before serving.
Tip 1: It is important to use the correct size egg – this recipe calls for 4 large eggs but if you only have extra large eggs you will need to use 3 ½ eggs.
Tip 2: If your choux buns are browning too quickly at 15 minutes turn the oven temperature down to 180*C for the remaining cooking time – oven temperatures differ and often the temperature displayed is a little higher or lower than the actual temperature.
Tip 3: Make sure to peal your chouxnuts off the baking paper immediately after bringing them out of the oven as they can stick to the paper if you leave them on – if this happens, put them back in the oven for a minute or two and they should come off easily.