- 1 x 20cm circular disc puff pastry - shop-bought is fine, or you can make your own if you like, try this recipe
For the white chocolate pastry cream:
- 1 vanilla pod
- 300ml milk, or 200ml milk and 100ml cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 25g plain flour
- 50g white chocolate, chopped
- 50g caster sugar
- 250ml whipped cream
For the choux pastry:
- 50g butter
- 125ml cold water
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 75g strong flour
- 2 large eggs
For the spun sugar:
- 150g granulated sugar
- Cold water
- To make the pastry cream, split the vanilla pod lengthways and put it into a large saucepan with the milk or the milk and cream mixture. Bring these almost to the boil.
- In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, flour, chopped white chocolate and sugar together with a whisk until pale in colour.
- Pour the scalded milk onto the egg and sugar mix, then return this mixture to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir over a low heat for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Pour this into a clean bowl, immediately cover it with clingfilm to prevent the formation of a skin and allow to cool. When it is completely cool, mix it with the whipped cream.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and lightly grease two flat baking trays.
- To make the choux pastry, put the butter, water, salt and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. It is important that the mixture comes to the boil – if you just melt it and do not allow it to come to the boil the mixture will go dramatically wrong. Take the saucepan off the heat.
- Sift the flour and add it to the boiling liquid. Stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Return to heat and beat continuously until the mixture comes clean away from the sides of the saucepan. You are cooking the flour at this stage. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for about five minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together.
- Slowly beat the eggs into the cooked paste. I tend to use an electric whisk as the mixture can be quite stiff. Add the eggs little by little, beating thoroughly between each addition.
- Spoon or pipe 9-12 small profiteroles onto one of the prepared trays. Lay the circular piece of puff pastry onto the second tray and pipe the remaining mixture in a circle around the edge of the puff pastry. Bake both trays for approximately 30-35 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped underneath. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
- To make the caramel for the spun sugar, use a couple of tablespoons of water to dissolve the sugar and bring the mixture to the boil in a saucepan. Boil, without stirring, but rather swirl the mixture slightly for even colouring of the caramel. Continue to cook until the mixture turns a light nut-brown colour. Plunge the base of the saucepan in cold water to halt the cooking process.
- Fill the profiteroles with the white chocolate pastry cream. Dip the profiteroles in caramel and use this as a glue to stick them around the edge of the band of the puff pastry ring. Fill the centre of the cake with the remaining pastry cream.
- Using the remainder of the caramel, dip two forks into the caramel and swirl them across two or three wooden spoons handles that have been placed on the edge of your worktop, working back and forth to create thin threads of caramel. Form the spun sugar into a ball and place on top of the cake and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Edward Hayden.
Click here for more recipes from Edward.
When making the spun sugar, ensure you put some newspaper on the floor to catch the excess as it can make quite a sticky mess.