Ingredients

1 batch choux pastry (see recipe), baked into 7cm (2¾ inch) buns with craquelin (see recipe)
gold lustre dust, to garnish (optional)
PASSIONFRUIT CURD
180g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
140g (5 oz) unsalted butter, melted
120ml (4 fl oz) strained passionfruit juice
6 egg yolks
grated zest of 2 lemons
pinch of citric acid, or to taste
CHEESECAKE CREAM
500g (1 lb 2 oz) cream cheese, softened
150g (5½ oz) sour cream
100g (3½ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
150ml (5 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
COOKIE CRUMBLE
150g (5½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
80g (2¾ oz) unsalted butter
50g (1¾ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
WHITE CHOCOLATE DISCS
250g (9 oz) good-quality white chocolate, chopped
CHOUX PASTRY makes about 40 small choux buns, 20 eclairs, 15 paris-brest or 20 compressed choux
100g (3½ oz) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
140g (5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
265g (9¼ oz) whole eggs (weight without shells)
1 quantity craquelin pastry (see recipe)
CRAQUELIN PASTRY
100g (3½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
100g (3½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
100g (3½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

I use this unbaked cheesecake cream in a couple of my recipes. That’s because it’s delicious, easy and versatile. I want you to look at my recipes and be bold enough to mix and match. Swap out the passionfruit curd for lemon curd, crushed raspberries, or even Morello cherry compote. The options are limitless and can be easily adapted to suit your favourite flavours.

CHOUX PASTRY

I use this base choux pastry recipe in all applications – eclairs, choux buns, Paris-Brest and compressed choux. It’s a no-fail recipe that I’ve developed over years of experimentation. Outlined below are a few key steps for achieving the perfect choux. Many recipes call for milk, but I’ve found that I get a crisper result using water in the dough. You can certainly split the water quantity and use half water and half milk, if you prefer (the milk solids will add flavour). It’s worth remembering that choux pastries are best eaten as fresh as possible.

"
"

CRAQUELIN PASTRY

This is a secondary pastry – consisting of equal quantities of sugar, butter and flour – that essentially melts over the top of your choux pastry. It insulates the pastry, giving you the perfect, symmetrical rise. It’s also delicious – a sweet, crackly coating that stays crisp even when the choux softens from its filling. The best thing about a craquelin (other than the taste)? It gives you the perfect choux, every time. Use it on choux buns, eclairs or Paris-Brest.

To get an understanding of the role of the craquelin, bake some choux with craquelin and some without – you will see the massive difference it makes.

View the recipe collection here

Instructions

1.To make the passionfruit curd, put the sugar, butter, passionfruit juice, egg yolks and lemon zest in a small saucepan and whisk to break up the yolks.
2.Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened.
3.Remove from the heat and stir in the citric acid, adding only a tiny amount at a time and tasting after each addition – everyone has different tolerances to sour so this is completely up to your taste! Strain to remove any lumps and ensure that the curd is super silky.
4.Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming, then refrigerate the curd until chilled and set – at least a couple of hours, but overnight is best.
5.For the cheesecake cream, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, icing sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
6.Whisk until completely smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl once or twice to make sure there are no lumps.
7.Add the cream and slowly whisk until the mixture has thickened to a pipeable consistency. Do not overwhisk as the cream can split.
8.Transfer the cheesecake cream to a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle and set aside in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the components.
9.For the cookie crumble, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
10.Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
11.Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together using your fingertips until the mixture is a crumbly consistency.
12.Spread over the tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
13.Allow to cool, then break it up into a rough crumble.
14.For the white chocolate discs, put half the white chocolate in a plastic microwave-safe bowl.
15.Cook on medium–low until just melted, stirring every 30 seconds to make sure the chocolate doesn’t overheat.
16.Add the remaining chocolate gradually, stirring until melted after each addition.
17.Spread the melted chocolate onto a sheet of acetate or baking paper.
18.Once the chocolate has turned matt in appearance and is semi-set, use a 3–4cm (1¼ –1½ inch) metal ring cutter to cut out the discs.
19.Place the discs in the fridge to set for 3–4 minutes, then store them at room temperature in an airtight container until you’re ready to assemble the choux buns.
20.Slice the tops off the choux buns. Fill each bun with 1 tablespoon of the passionfruit curd.
21.Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the cookie crumble over the curd, then pipe the cheesecake cream on top.
22.Replace the choux lids, pipe a teaspoon of the cheesecake cream on top and secure the white chocolate discs.
23.Sprinkle the buns with a little lustre dust, if using.
24.CHOUX PASTRY
25.CUISINE NOTE The steps below make choux buns for the Passionfruit Cheesecake Choux Buns.
26.STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
27.Line a baking tray with a perforated silicone baking mat for best results (or use an unperforated silicone baking mat or baking paper).
28.STEP 2 Pour 225ml (7½ fl oz) water into a saucepan, add the butter, sugar and salt and bring to a rapid boil.
29.Add the flour and cook this roux for 5–7 minutes or until a thick crust forms at the base of the pan (this ensures the flour is well hydrated, giving you the best and most consistent results).
30.STEP 3 Transfer the hot roux to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
31.Mix on medium speed until all of the steam dissipates – this ensures any excess moisture that could weigh down the choux evaporates and you are left with the lightest pastry.
32.STEP 4 With the mixer running, add the eggs, a little at a time, and mix until the dough comes together to a silky, shiny batter.
33.It should just fall off your scraper when you lift the batter out of the bowl – not too thick and not too thin.
34.STEP 5 Fit a piping bag with a 1–1.5cm (½-⅝ inch) round nozzle.
35.Fill the piping bag with the choux batter and pipe the buns in even rounds, roughly 3cm (1¼ inches) in diameter, leaving ample space for them to spread and rise.
36.Top each bun with a 3cm (1¼ inch) round of craquelin pastry.
37.STEP 6 Bake at 160°C (320°F) for 1 hour or until a deep golden brown.
38.Bake the choux for at least 45 minutes before opening the oven door.
39.Choux pastry rises from the build-up of steam in the oven, so if you open the door too soon, you risk the choux collapsing.
40.I often find, especially in Australia, people don’t bake their pastries for long enough.
41.We want them to be dark – this gives a caramelised, complex flavour, rather than a pale choux with flavour notes of flour.
42.STEP 7 Once the choux are a deep-golden, caramelised brown colour all over, they can be removed from the oven and left to cool at room temperature.
43.Note that if they aren’t cooked enough, they run the risk of collapsing while cooling, so please, please, pretty please cook your choux until they are a dark golden brown.
44.CRAQUELIN PASTRY
45.Mix the sugar, butter and flour together until the mixture has a paste-like consistency.
46.You can do this by hand if you’re making a small quantity, or use an electric mixer if you are making a bulk batch.
47.(The recipe has even quantities of the three ingredients, so it can be easily multiplied.)
48.Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until 2.5mm thick. Place in the freezer to set.
49.Cut the craquelin dough into the desired shapes and then return it to the freezer.
50.Place the craquelin directly from the freezer on top of the unbaked choux.

Images and text from
First, Cream the Butter
and Sugar by Emelia
Jackson, photography
by Armelle Habib.
Murdoch Books
RRP $69.99.