Courtesan Au Chocolat Recipe

May 16, 2014

Courtesan Au Chocolat Recipe

Courtesan Au Chocolat Recipe

In March, I broke my long streak of not watching movies in theatres when I plopped myself down on the seats of cinemas to catch The Grand Budapest Hotel; I didn't know what I was in for. Right from the opening title of the film, I was enthralled by the finesse and quirky charm of this Wes Anderson movie. 

My eyes were in for a treat with absolutely stunning cinematography. I would have sat through the whole movie even if it were a silent movie, because each frame is so beautifully captured. Just the colours, the landscape, the people, and the symmetry in almost every shot is enough to keep me entertained.

So imagine what it was like with the film in it's full glory - talented actors, Alexandre Desplat's bouncy musical scores and amazing cinematography, all tied together by a brilliant and witty script. Undoubtedly, The Grand Budapest hotel has won its spot in my heart for being one of my most favourite films ever.

With great love for the movie, I was inspired to try my hand at making the film's Courtesan Au Chocolat pastry after coming across a recipe online! The picture above features Agatha, the baker and love interest of Zero, assembling the yummy pastries.

Courtesan Au Chocolat Recipe

I made the puff pastry before by following Laduree's recipe. The only difference to the recipe is to ensure that you pipe three different sizes of puffs - small, medium, and large. Once you have your puffs of three different sizes, all you're left with is the decoration and assembling!

I can't stop raving about this film. I think I've been infected with Wes Anderson's obsession with symmetry, as shown in the video below. This film is highly recommended!

"You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant… oh, fuck it."— M. Gustave - Grand Budapest Hotel 


Adapted from Ladurée

[For Cream Puffs]
Makes dough for about 20 cream puffs of various sizes
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

[For Chocolate Pastry Cream]
Makes 5 cups (600g of pastry cream)
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

[For Decorating]
200g of white chocolate
Food colouring
Icing sprinkles

[For Cream Puffs]
120g Cake Flour
100ml Whole Milk
100ml Water
10g Granulated Sugar
1 Pinch of salt
80g Butter
4 Eggs

[For Chocolate Pastry Cream]
1 Vanilla bean
400ml Whole milk
4 Egg yolks
80g Granulated sugar
30g Cornstarch
100g Dark Chocolate
2 Spoons of Cocoa powder
25g Butter

[For Cream Puffs]
1. Sift the flour. In a saucepan, bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Incorporate the sifted flour into the hot liquid, mixing energetically with a spatula until homogenous. (okay, I did not really understand what they meant by mixing energetically. When I incorporated the flour, the mixture started to thicken up and got pretty sticky, thus it took quite a bit of effort to mix energetically.)
2. Return the saucepan to low heat and stir vigorously for 1 minute to pull out the moisture from the batter, so that it forms a mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan. (Once again, it seemed almost impossible to stir vigorously. Thus, I used more of a mixing and pressing down motion instead of stirring.)
3. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and allow to cool. Add the eggs one at a time, carefully incorporating each into the batter with a spatula. (I think it's best to beat the eggs first before incorporation as it makes it easier to mix evenly)
4. When homogenous, transfer it into a pastry bag and pipe them into circles. Bake them at a pre-heated oven of 180 degrees celsius. After 8-10 minutes, when they have started to puff up, open the oven door slightly and bake for another 30 minutes. You can keep the oven door open with a wooden chopstick/spoon/spatula. 
(The main thing to note is not to over-bake the puffs! I made the mistake of over cooking the first batch that went into the oven, resulting in puffs that were slightly too hard and crispy. The rest of the batches turned out much better when they were in the oven for just the right length of time. As every oven is slightly different, it is highly recommended to keep an eye on the puffs during the last few minutes of baking in the oven. Once they start to turn golden, remove them from the oven! Don't repeat my mistake!)
5. Allow the puffs to cool before piping in the filling.

[For Chocolate Pastry Cream]
1. With a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the tip, scrape the interior to remove the seeds. (You can replace this step and use vanilla flavouring instead). Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover immediately and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until slightly pale. Incorporate the cornstarch. 
3. Remove the vanilla pod from the saucepan and reheat the milk. Add in the dark chocolate and allow it to melt, bringing the mixture to a simmer. 
4. Pour a third of the mixture over the egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch mixture (to temper the yolks). Whisk together and pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan. 
5. Bring to a boil while stirring with a whisk, making sure to scrape down the sides of the pan with a spatula.
6. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for ten minutes so that it is still hot but not boiling. Add in the butter while stirring. Transfer to piping bag with a small tip and pipe them into the choux puffs. (Pipe them by piercing the puffs from the bottom with the piping bag tip and squeezing in the filling)
7. Allow them to chill in the fridge before serving.

[For Decorating]
1. Melt white chocolate and colour them pink, blue and green in three separate bowls.
2. Dip the puffs into the white chocolate to cover the upper half.
3. Stack the puffs together. (You can use buttercream or other icing to hold the puffs and prevent them from toppling).
4. Decorate with toppings and anything of your desire.

So what do you think? Ain't it pretty close to the original?

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