Eggnog chouquette wreath

By Giselle Courteau
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This lovely Christmas wreath is so fun to serve around  the holidays. Not only is it made of pâte à choux, one of my favourite doughs, it also features whipped ganache, an excellent base recipe I often use in desserts. The whipped cream gives the ganache lightness, and the white chocolate adds stability and makes it easy to pipe. I love the combination of eggnog and dark chocolate, but feel free to change the flavour of the whipped ganache to your taste (peppermint, gingerbread, cranberry...).

This recipe may seem like a lot of steps, but almost everything can be made in advance. The exception is the pâte à choux, which must be piped as soon as it is made. The eggnog whipped ganache needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight for the chocolate to crystallize and whip up properly.

SERVES
10

Ingredients

Pâte à Choux and assembly:

  • 1 batch Pâte à Choux, just made
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • Pearl sugar, for garnish

Eggnog whipped ganache:

  • 160 grams (1-1/4 cups) white chocolate chunks
  • 270 grams (1-1/4 cups) whipping cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) whipping cream, cold
  • 1 tablespoon rum

Dark chocolate ganache:

  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) dark chocolate chunks
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup) whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon white corn syrup

Directions

Pâte à choux:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Take a piece of parchment paper and trace the template for chouquettes given on page 187. Flip the template over onto the baking sheet so that the lines are face down.
  2. As soon as your pâte à choux is made, use a small amount to glue down the corners of the template to the baking sheet. This will prevent the template from slipping around while you’re piping your chouquettes.
  3. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip. Fill the bag with the pâte à choux.
  4. Position your piping tip a few centimetres above the template over the centre of a circle. Pipe out dough until it reaches the edge of the circle. Moving around clockwise, pipe the remaining circles. The dough circles will be touching. If you have any dough left after filling all the circles, pipe a few extra chouquettes similar in size in the corners of the parchment paper.
  5. Use your finger to gently run egg yolk over the top of each chouquette, smoothing down any bumps as you go. Sprinkle the chouquettes generously with pearl sugar.
  6. Immediately bake the chouquettes for 30 minutes.
  7. Do not open the oven door during baking. After 30 minutes, open the oven door for five to ten seconds to let the built-up steam escape and slightly dry out the dough. Bake for about another eight to ten minutes, until you can feel that the outside of the dough has crisped up. It should be a dark golden brown in colour.
  8. Once baked, the choux ring should be filled and served over the next two days. If you didn’t fill it right away and the choux has gone soft, re-crisp it in the oven for four to six minutes at 350°F (180°C). The baked ring can also be frozen for up to two months: in that case, place it frozen in a 350°F (180°C) oven until warmed through and crispy (six to eight minutes).

Eggnog whipped ganache:

  1. Slowly melt the white chocolate over a double boiler or on half power in a microwave. In a saucepan, heat the first measure of whipping cream and the spices until scalding (just before boiling).
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in three parts, mixing vigorously with a spatula between each addition until smooth. Slowly whisk in the second measure of cream (cold) and rum. The mixture will be liquid.
  3. Let the ganache set in the refrigerator at least four hours or overnight. It will have thickened slightly but still be quite liquid.

Dark chocolate ganache:

  1. Slowly melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler or on half power in a microwave. In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream and corn syrup until scalding.
  2. Pour the hot cream over the melted chocolate in three parts, mixing vigorously with a spatula between each addition until smooth. Refrigerate for about two hours, until set.

Assembly:

  1. Make sure the choux ring is completely cool before proceeding. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the ring in half horizontally. If any of the chouquettes break apart, don’t worry about it: once the ring is filled, it’s easy to nicely set them back into place. Place the bottom half of the ring on a serving dish or platter.
  2. Gently warm the dark chocolate ganache in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds to soften it up. Spread it in a thin layer over the bottom of the shell, leaving about one centimeter of room around the edge. I find it easiest to use a piping bag with the tip cut off.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attach- ment, whip up the eggnog ganache until soft peaks form. Keep a close eye on it—if it overwhips it will start to separate and end up grainy.
  4. Fit a piping bag with a large plain round tip and fill it with eggnog whipped ganache. Pipe a large dollop of ganache onto the bottom of each chouquette. Position the other half of the ring on top and press down gently.

 

Excerpted from Duchess at Home by Giselle Courteau. Text copyright © 2019 Giselle Courteau. Design and Photography © 2019 Sarah Hervieux. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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