How to Make a French Religieuse or a Scottish Mac Snowman

I have a confession to make. I should have made something more typically Scottish as it’s Burn’s Night this Friday. Patriotism is kicking in as the bagpipes, Stornoway black pudding and haggis are suddenly sorely missed. Don’t ask me to make the latter myself, though. You’re talking to an ex-vegetarian.

With a first mere dusting of snow last week, our lucky Scottish heather was then well and truly tucked in with a thick, snowy blanket this weekend outside Paris. We had more snow than in Scotland!

Lucie was itching to build a snowman and managed to convince her sister that it was still cool to play in the snow by repeating renditions of the Snowman’s ‘I’m Walking in the Air’ on the piano. What’s with the hat? A TGV cap was all we could find.

With a couple of lollies pour les yeux, they reminded me of the sugar eyes I’d bought at the NY Cake supply shop on my trip last summer to NYC.

Am I a Scottish or French snowman woman person with a hat like this?

More macaron madness struck. I’d just made a batch of choux dough to make les Réligieuses: that’s one small choux bun stuck on a larger bun and dribbled with fondant.

Hm. Sugar eyes…  put them together with macarons (I had some left from my freezer ‘bank’) and what have you got?

A Snowman built indoors! OK, so I’m not too old to kid around too, right? He’s a Religieuse Snowman. Hm. In French that doesn’t work since a Religieuse is feminine.

Somehow a Mrs Snow-woman doesn’t sound right, so apologies to my French friends for the Religieuse recipe title – I’d love to hear your ideas for a more fitting title. No surprise why Mrs Snowman looks a bit grumpy: I didn’t wait for the fondant to slightly set before dipping in the choux buns and so she’s dribbling fondant down her cheek. Next time I’ll be more patient.

Does this fondant coat make my bun look big?

Snowman Religieuse Recipe (Choux Buns with Pastry Cream)

Makes 20

CHOUX DOUGH

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Follow the recipe for choux buns. Using a piping bag with a plain tip (about 10mm), pipe out large heaps on baking trays covered in greaseproof/baking paper (or Silpat mat.) Leave a good space between each mound, as they will spread out during baking. No need to glaze. Bake in a 180°C oven for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile make a second batch of choux buns but pipe out much smaller heaps (as you would for chouquettes) and bake in the oven for only 15 minutes.

VANILLA PASTRY CREAM (Crème Pâtissière)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

500ml full milk
1 vanilla pod (split down the middle)
4 egg yolks
50g cornflour
80g sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Boil the milk with the vanilla pod in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Remove the pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar and gradually add the cornflour. Whisk until light and creamy. Gradually add the milk and extract, whisking continuously until thickened.

3. Leave to cool, whisking now and again, then transfer to a piping bag with a thin, plain tip (8mm) so that you can pierce the buns without too much leakage!

4. Pipe the cream into the buns by piercing a hole at the bottom of each bun and squeeze in the vanilla cream.

DECORATION

Gently melt the fondant in a bowl (white fondant is available from many speciality baking stores but if you can’t find it just make a classic icing using icing/confectioners sugar and some water.)  Once the fondant starts to cool, dip the buns upside down into the bowl until there’s no excess on the buns. Leave to set on a wire rack but first stick on the eyes (you could use smarties), pierce Mikado sticks for arms and stick on a macaron.

If I’m a snow-woman I’ll eat my hat!

I forgot to take a photo of the vanilla cream inside. It was too good. You’ll just have to make them for yourselves! Here’s another reason why it’s handy to keep some macarons in your freezer. And now you’ve used up 4 egg yolks you have a good supply of whites for your macarons!

Perhaps this is a Scottish post after all: could we call it a MacSnowman?

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26 Responses to How to Make a French Religieuse or a Scottish Mac Snowman

  1. Pudding Pie Lane January 31, 2013 at 01:04 #

    Maybe it should be that you have ‘a confession to bake!’ :p

    How are you anyway Jill? You look like you had a great time with the snow! I think the snowman woman’s cap is very ‘different’ – in a good way! :)

    • Jill January 31, 2013 at 13:45 #

      Confession to bake! Love it. Sounds like you’ve got a cold, lol.

  2. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 28, 2013 at 09:03 #

    Hi Jill! That’s a lot of snow! SF doesn’t get any snow so we have to drive up for 4 hours, and my kids have been waiting for us to take them. :D That is a lovely snowman and your MacSnowomen are fantastic! They are way too cute to eat… well, of course I’d love to eat them all! :)

    • Jill January 31, 2013 at 13:44 #

      Another reason why moving to SF wouldn’t be a bad idea, Nami! Still wish we were neighbours!

  3. Lora January 28, 2013 at 05:08 #

    These are so fun and the macaron hats are killing me. LOL

    • Jill January 31, 2013 at 13:43 #

      Bang! Thanks, Lora.

  4. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen January 27, 2013 at 00:00 #

    Too cute, Jill! These little characters look like they are doing a gallic shrug! I love your imagination. Hope you are enjoying the snow while it lasts. I try to look upon this inconvenient frozen water as a message to say “slow down for a few days and just enjoy life”.

    • Jill January 31, 2013 at 13:43 #

      Yep, Hester. Think my brain froze too, that’s why I was doing all sorts of crazy things in the kitchen. Agree with you slowing down and enjoying life! Cheers to that.

  5. Jamie January 25, 2013 at 19:19 #

    Oh ho ho I love these réligieuse! Hysterical! And love the macaron hat! Yes, you guys have snow in paris, lucky you! Still waiting for it in Nantes but meanwhile I have actually been craving pastry cream filled choux. Now I need to turn them into religieuses! Love the Chupa Chupa eyes!

    • Jill January 31, 2013 at 13:42 #

      I love turning things religieuses, Jamie ;-) The Chupa Chupa eyes ended up being a bit creepy at night as they twinkled in the dark!

  6. Liz January 25, 2013 at 15:37 #

    LOL…you and I DO think alike! I either make my mushrooms BIG so Bill can pick them out or TEENSY so he doesn’t know what he’s eating :)

    • Jill January 31, 2013 at 13:40 #

      Sneeky. Love it, Liz.

  7. Christie January 25, 2013 at 13:40 #

    The pics are too cute and so is the name, MacSnowoman.

    • Jill January 25, 2013 at 14:16 #

      MacSnowoman. Just realised it. Thanks to Vicki and Christie – love it!

  8. Vicki Bensinger January 24, 2013 at 15:04 #

    Your MacSnowomen are darling and Lucie looks quite happy with her little snowman that she’s given him a peck on the cheek.

    I think the dripping fondant or icing rather adds character to these little men. Very cute!!

    Thank you for stopping by today and tweeting. I need to learn how to do that properly. Have a great day!

    • Jill January 25, 2013 at 14:15 #

      Thanks, Vicki.
      Tweeting? I’m still a twit at it, believe me and don’t do it much. How can so many people tweet most of the day without going tweetie-pie?

  9. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write) January 24, 2013 at 13:19 #

    I LOVE your Mac Snowmen Jill – they are just too adorable for words! I love seeing Lucie on the blog (and in the comments now too it seems!!)

    • Jill January 25, 2013 at 14:13 #

      Thanks, Mardi. Yes, Lucie is the real adorable one here. I love it too!

  10. Parisbreakfast January 24, 2013 at 11:18 #

    Absolutely adorable!! The cutest I’ve seen yet!
    They are usually so boring….
    Cheers Carolg

    • Jill January 25, 2013 at 14:11 #

      thanks, Carol – normally they should be around Christmas but it wasn’t snowing here!

  11. Liz January 24, 2013 at 04:17 #

    Aw, cute picture of Lucie! And your snowpeople are darling :) So I shouldn’t expect to find any haggis filled macarons in an upcoming post?

    • Jill January 25, 2013 at 14:11 #

      Snowpeople! That’s it, Liz :-)
      Haggis filled? Waverley Books wanted me to do these. Would people eat them?

  12. Lucie January 23, 2013 at 19:12 #

    Mum,
    I didn’t realise that you caught me with the snowman! :-o
    Your Religieuses were delicious and I had fun learning how to make them… :-)
    Lucie ;-)

    • Jill January 25, 2013 at 14:10 #

      Love how you say something on le blog, sweetie. We’re making them again soon whilst Mr Real Creepy snowman is still not leaving us outside even when the rest of the snow has melted!

  13. Gerry @Foodness Gracious January 23, 2013 at 16:14 #

    Awesome, I miss the good stuff too. I don’t miss the snow though :)

    • Jill January 25, 2013 at 14:09 #

      Ah, Gerry. A true Scot ;-)

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