‘Potato’ Cakes

I cannot claim full credit for this amazing dessert (don’t let the name fool you – these are more profiterole than potato and only claim that name because they look like muddy potatoes when they’re finished), but I have added in a couple of twists of my own to the recipe I was given – and honestly, I think it makes these choux wonders even better.

Makes 8-12 depending on how large you want them.

 

Ingredients – for the pastry

  • 100g soft unsalted butter (with a little more for the tray)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • Pinch of salt.

Ingredients – for the creme patisserie

  • 6 egg yolks (medium-large eggs)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 40g cornflour
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 2tsp of good-quality vanilla extract/paste)
  • 500ml whole milk

Ingredients – for the potato part

  • 400g marzipan
  • 100g cocoa powder

Method

Heat the oven to 200°C (or 180°C fan-forced)

Put butter in a saucepan with 200ml of water and let it melt over a gentle heat. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and sift in the flour, sugar and salt.

Beat the mixture until it forms a smooth paste and forms a ball (coming away from the edges of the pan). Leave to cool for 10-12 minutes.

Once cooled, put the dough into a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle (snipping the corner of a freezer bag also works if need be) and pipe a 5-8cm line of pastry onto the baking-paper lined tray. Pipe a second line immediately beside (and touching) the first, then one on top in between the other two. Leave a large gap between buns and repeat the process to make your buns.

Bake for 20-30 minutes – as this is pastry, DO NOT open the door for at least the first 10 minutes or the pastry will fall. The pastries will be done when they’re golden brown and firm.

To make the crème patisserie, whisk your egg yolks with the caster sugar until light and thick, then whisk in the cornflour.

Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise (or if using extract or paste, just follow from here) and combine with milk in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. If using a vanilla pod, take this out now, then add the sugar mixture to the milk and whisk vigorously.

Return the mixture to the heat and continually whisk until the mixture starts to thicken (you will know it’s ready when it releases a bubble or two) and remove from the heat.

Pour the crème into a clean bowl and cover with cling film (making sure the film makes a seal directly on the crème to prevent a skin forming). Refrigerate for at least an hour before use.

Once the crème has cooled, pour it into a piping bag with a small plain nozzle and cut a small hole in the side of your choux buns to pipe the crème in (the best rule here is to hold the bun gently as you pipe and when you feel a little resistance after the bun has swelled slightly, stop piping). If you don’t have a piping bag, cut the choux buns in half and spoon the crème onto the bottom half of the buns instead.

Roll out the marzipan and cut into oval shapes to drape over the filled buns. Sift cocoa powder liberally over the top and serve.

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