Mocha and Hazelnut Cream Puffs

These little choux pastry cream puffs are filled with a chocolate and coffee lightened creme patisserie, dipped in crunchy caramel and topped off with some toasted chopped hazelnuts. You can change this recipe around and adapt it to your liking, experimenting with the different types of chocolates, adding any other flavors to the custard such as orange or banana and then sprinkling on different toppings such as freeze-dried fruits. You can also dip the cream puffs in melted chocolate then leave them to set as another topping option.

Mocha and Hazelnut cream puffs

½ cup water
4 tbsp butter (60g), diced
3/4 cup plain flour, sifted
1 dessertspoon sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 200C/400F fan bake.
Place the water and butter in a medium pot and heat to a rolling boil. Once the butter is fully melted, add the flour all at once and beat over the heat with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan and starts to crust a little on the base of the pan. This should take about 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and transfer the batter to a cake mixer or large mixing bowl. Add sugar and vanilla and beat for 20 seconds before beating in the eggs one at a time. The mixture should be thick enough to drop from the spoon in clumps, rather than falling freely.

Pipe small rounds of the batter 1 and a half inches apart onto a lined baking tray. Bake at 200Cfor 12 minutes or until the puffs looks golden and feels firm when tapped. Turn off the oven, but leave the puff to sit inside for another 15 minutes.

4 large egg yolks
75g caster sugar
25g plain flour
finely grated zest of one lemon
250ml full fat milk
150g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
5 tbsp strong black coffee
100ml cream, whipped

To make the filling, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar, flour, lemon zest and one-third of the milk until smooth. Heat the rest of the milk in a medium pan until almost boiling, then pour onto the yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return to the pan and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Simmer for one minute, whisking, cooking out the flour taste and cool until lukewarm.
Meanwhile, gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of steaming hot water but not boiling water (don't let the baste of the bowl touch the water). Cool until lukewarm, then whisk the chocolate into the custard. Finally whisk in the coffee . Cover and chill for at least an hour before folding in the whipped cream.

Caramel topping

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts

place the sugar in a heavy based sauce pan and melt over a medium, not stirring, till it starts to turn a darker colour. When it starts to get darker round the edges, give it a bit of a swirl but do not stir else it may crystallize. Keep boiling tll it is a dark amber colour. Remove from the heat and immediately dip the tops on the cream puffs in the caramel and sprinkle with the chopped toasted hazelnuts. With a filling nozzle, pipe the filling into the cream puffs from the bottom and serve.

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