Nougat Glacé Choux Buns with Orange Caramel

As you may have gathered, I’m not just mad about macarons, but also rather crazy about choux buns and so these Nougat Glacé Choux Buns are a must for the festive season! My last ‘choux carnival’ was festive French chouquettes, which looked like the mini choux were wearing red and green knitted sweaters for Christmas. Here’s a more sophisticated choux bun version for a holiday dessert: after all, this was for a guest post over at Nami’s blog, Just One Cookbook.

One of the first classic desserts I discovered in France was the nougat glacé. It may perhaps sound posh but there’s no nougat in it; it’s essentially just fancy honey ice cream containing a mixture of predominantly orange candied fruits and toasted nuts, then traditionally served surrounded by a pool of tart, red berry coulis.

Much that I love the classic version, I’ve never appreciated the red fruit sauce that accompanies it. When Nami explained that the Japanese adore choux buns, I could just see it for her readers: why not prepare a light nougat glacé ice cream, fill it in a choux bun and replace the red berry coulis with a sticky, seductive orange caramel for a simple yet festive dessert for the holidays?

Don’t be put off by the long recipe. This is ridiculously easy to put together quickly and without fuss – my kind of stress-free recipe for a holiday menu. Each of the 3 parts can be made in advance: the caramel can keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks; the ice cream can be made a week or two in advance and the choux pastry can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days (so handy to have in that piping bag!) What’s more, the ice cream doesn’t even need an ice cream maker!

On the day itself, just pipe out the buns, wham them in the oven for 20 minutes, and when ready to serve simply fill them with a dollop of the ice cream and dribble on the warmed caramel. Decorate with the nuts and candied fruit and serve with a chilled glass of Muscat and let the toes curl in front of the fire.

choux puffs with orange caramel filled with honey nougat ice cream

A pair of choux for Christmas

Christmas Profiteroles with Orange Caramel

ORANGE NOUGAT AND HONEY ICE CREAM

Serves 8

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Freezing Time: Minimum 12 hours

60g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
50g pecan nuts or walnuts, roughly chopped
100g candied fruit, preferably orange peel and candied kumquats, roughly chopped
4 egg whites
3 tbsp runny honey (I used a strong pine honey)
300ml whipping cream, chilled

1. Put a glass bowl in the freezer in preparation for whipping the cream.

2. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

3. Heat the honey in a pan until it starts to bubble. Pour it hot onto the egg whites then whisk for another minute or two.

4.  Whip the cream in the chilled bowl until it’s stiff. Add the nuts and fruit (but keep some aside for the decoration) and fold the mixture gently into the beaten egg whites.

5. Pour into mini muffin molds (I used silicone), or simply into a sealed container and freeze.

Adapted from a recipe by Trish Deseine.

CHOUX BUNS

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

140g water
100g milk
1 tbsp orange flower water
pinch salt
1 tbsp sugar
90g unsalted butter
150g flour
4 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Boil the water, milk, orange flower water, salt, sugar and butter in a large saucepan.

2. Once boiling, quickly add the flour and whisk until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan.

3. Transfer to a mixing bowl (or electric mixer) and gradually add the eggs. Whisk until you have a lovely smooth, sticky paste.  At this point, you can transfer the pastry to a piping bag and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

4.  Using a piping bag, pipe out small heaps on baking trays covered in greaseproof/baking paper (or Silpat) Leave a good space between each mound, as they will spread out during baking.

5.  Brush with a glaze of one egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon of water.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

ORANGE CARAMEL SAUCE

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

160g sugar
120g salted butter
200g whipping cream, slightly warmed
grated rind of an orange, or 3 kumquats
1 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional)

1. Put the sugar with a few drops of water into a small saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir it now and again over a medium heat until a golden syrupy caramel forms.  This should take about 10 minutes.

2.  Stir in the butter, still over the gentle heat and keep stirring for about 10 minutes until thickened. Don’t worry if it looks like too much butter at this point: when you add the cream it will all come together.

3. Turn down the heat and add the warm cream, zest (and liqueur if using) gradually. It will look runny but that’s good.  Keep it bubbling away for another 5 minutes then cool.

The caramel can last up to 3 weeks if stored in a sealed jar in the fridge. As the caramel cools it will thicken.

Presentation: When the choux buns are cool, cut them in half and fill with a scoop or mini mold of nougat ice cream. Warm the orange caramel in the microwave just for a few seconds and dribble over the buns (sorry, I can’t help laughing on that one: you don’t dribble but the sauce should be dribbled…). Decorate with candied fruits and the extra toasted nuts. Enjoy!

nougat-filled choux puffs with orange caramel

 

This recipe was shared as a guest post over at Nami’s blog, Just One Cookbook.

Wishing you all a cosy Christmas, filled with fun and laughter – and plenty of macarons!

Update: Don’t forget that there are many choux and éclair recipes (in much more detail), along with tarts, millefeuilles and French cakes in my new book, Teatime in Paris!, a great gift for the bakers in your life…

Happy Holidays! Bonnes Fêtes !

21 replies
  1. Amalia
    Amalia says:

    This looks ridiculously good! Not to mention really sophisticated, which I love! This reminds me of a little cafe I often go to, they have the most beautiful, sophisticated desserts ever. This however, looks better than any of them! Happy Holidays 🙂

    Reply
  2. Claudia
    Claudia says:

    I had caramel in the fridge – for 24 hours… I love this, Jill – I am thinking such splashy fun for New Year’s Eve (you know the day before I resort to carrot sticks for a month). Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas. May your days be merry and bright.

    Reply
  3. Parsley Sage
    Parsley Sage says:

    See, you make it SOUND easy…I’m not convinced. Ever since the great battle of Puff Pastridom in my kitchen back in June with that vol au vent recipe, I’ve been terrified to attempt any pastry-like dishes. This looks so good though! Worth the potential tears? I think so!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Och, Carlsey – it IS! No tears assured. If I can do it… Does this mean I may just have to get on a plane to Cayman and we can have fun making them together? I’m dying for an excuse to witness your Caribbean paradise! Happy holidays.

      Reply
  4. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    OMG
    Sheer unadulterated torture!
    I love yr comment,
    ‘the caramel can keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks’
    Ha!
    Not in my fridge.
    Is that a Scottish expression,
    ‘Let your toes curl with…’
    ???
    I think my toes may be curled

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      You’re too funny, Carol. Perhaps it is a Scottish expression but I find that the toes curl quite often on things like this and rose macarons with Champagne for a bit of decadence! Aha – the caramel trick is to hide it behind the yogurts at the back and pretend it’s finished. Make more with a different flavour and we constantly have some surprises… Happy holidays!

      Reply

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