Sunday, 19 October 2014

Whirlwind 22 Hours in Paris Sans Gluten

A couple of weeks ago I spent an amazing 22 hours in Paris. Over the past year I have heard news that gluten free has worked its way to Paris. Not just your bog-standard chocolate brownie and long life loaf of bread either. I’m taking about a completely dedicated gluten free patisserie, gluten free bakery and an entirely gluten free restaurant! This meant gluten free cakes, pastries and desserts – what more of an incentive did I need to book my ticket to Paris!

I went with my friend E who is also coeliac. This was perfect as it meant two highly excited gluten free girls in search of as many gluten free goodies as we could lay our hands on. Due to time constraints we were only able to stay in Paris for one night, which meant getting a 6am train from Sheffield to London and then catching the Eurostar from London to Paris. We arrived at 2:30pm one day and left at 12:30pm the following day. 22 hours to see and eat as much as possible – we were up for the challenge!

Not wanting to miss a second of our time, we strode off the Eurostar in Paris and headed straight to our first destination, a gluten free patisserie called Helmut Newcake. It took us a while to find as it’s a tiny place and we only had vague directions. Plus as didn’t want to waste time going to the hotel first we were on the hunt laden down with handbags, cameras, coats and suitcases too. We got a few odd looks, but we took not notice. Move out the way we were girls on a mission.

All I can say is that it was worth the hunt. We were greeted by a display case filled with the most AMAZING looking delicate tarts, choux buns and cakes, and all gluten free!! We were greeted by a very handsome French man who enquired if we wanted something savoury to start, some soup or salad maybe? “Non merci. Nous sommes ici pour les pâtisseries” He nodded and led us to a table with a smile. We spent about 5 minutes just gazing at the range of patisserie. We couldn’t decide what to have and ended up getting 3 to share in order to get a good range of pastry types and bakes. A passion fruit tart, a slice of Opera cake and a Paris-Brest.

The passion fruit tart was almost a thick shortbread case with a layer of hazelnut frangipan and a passion fruit curd on top. The shortbread was very crumbly and I felt it was a little too thick a crust but the hazelnut flavour was lovely and I loved the passion fruit curd on top, really zingy.

The Paris-Brest is a French classic. It’s a ring of piped mini choux buns filled with a smooth nutty crème patisserie. It was divine! The crème filling was so good! The choux pastry was a little firm – but it had been kept chilled due to the filling, so this was expected. Ah, so so good.

Finally there was the Opera cake, which was thin layers of moist almond sponge sandwiched with alternating chocolate and coffee ganache and topped with a layer of crisp chocolate. WOW! This was so rich and indulgent. You could really taste the quality. I’m glad we shared it, it was so rich but so good. Nice dark bitter flavours. I expect too dark for some people but I loved it.

Sugar high and pastry filled we headed to our hotel for a rest before heading out to dinner. E wanted a nap but I decided to head out and explore the area. I spotted a green square on the map called Square Montholon, wrote down directions and set off. I got a bit lost (naturally) but found it quite easily. It was a park with a few trees and a nice statue in the middle. I then took the scenic route back to the hotel. There are so many interconnecting streets and walkways – they all look the same!

After a quick shower and change we were ready for dinner at Noglu, which is an entirely gluten free restaurant.The restaurant was hidden along a very busy main road down an alleyway that was more of an arcade, all lined with restaurants and cafes with a glass roof, which gave it an almost exciting seceret location. It was a tiny place, with kitchen downstairs and around 5 tables upstairs – thankfully we had booked weeks ago.

The menu is small with only 3 starters, 4 mains and 3 desserts to choose from, but all meant to be fresh, seasonal good quality food. While we looked at the menu we had complimentary gougers to start (cheesy choux buns) in place of the usual bread or breadsticks you often get in restaurants. These were nice. A crisp outside with a mild but flavoursome cheesy flavour.

We decided to go with just mains and desserts. I had a mixed salad selection whicb included smoked purple potato salad, beetroot marinated veg, mixed leaves, herb oil and some very fancy peeled purple and yellow carrots. It was delicious and beautifully presented. Very smoky and woodsy but not overpowering. E had lasagna which had chunks of potato instead of pasta – clever but she was a bit underwhelmed.

For dessert E chose a strawberry & plum crumble and I had a Sable with cream & fruit. I asked if they had any gateaux as I’d heard they also ran a bakery, but it turned out their bakery is only open during the day and they said they only had the dessert options on the menu. I was a bit disappointed but throught the sable sounded nice. However it was terrible. Dry and biscuity with a mountain of kiwi on top (the only fruit apart from half a raspberry) I’m actually allergic to kiwi so this wasn’t a good choice. We both had a taste but it was so dry – like eating wood shavings – that we left it and shared the crumble which was much better.

The crumble was very sweet but the fruit was chunky and full of flavour. It was a massive portion so perfect for sharing. It wasn’t really a crumble as it had an almondy pastry/cakey top layer. Nice though. Noglu was quite expensive and due to a couple of disappointing dishes we weren’t sure it was worth the money. Maybe we were just unlucky.

The following morning we headed out for breakfast at a gluten free boulangerie called Chambelland Boulangerie. It was quite a trek from our hotel and again located down a winding back alleyway, but what a wonderful place. It didn’t open until 9am which for us is quite late for breakfast but by 9:40am we were seated outside the bakery on an unusually warm sunny morning enjoying some treats. It was a lovely little café with a few tables.

The breads and pastries are all beautifully presented and laid out in rows, with the menu displayed on a large blackboard behind. They has huge paving stone sized slabs of bread which they cut chunks off, then a range of tarts and cookies. Everything looked stunning and very artisan.

We went for the breakfast special which included bread, jam, hot drink and complimentary fresh juice of the day. There was a choice of plain or seeded bread, which came in long thick batons, almost like giant thick breadsticks. You couldn’t have made a sandwich or filled them in any way, but they were great for slathering in jam. We selected one of each so we could share. These came accompanied by strawberry and apricot jam. The bread had quite a soft sticky bubbly inside texture, almost like a crumpet, but the crust was very thick and crispy. It had a fantastic chew to the crust, not something you usually see in gluten free, but so delicious. The jams were good too, sweet, but you could really taste the fruit. We had tea (mint for me) and E had coffee along with the complimentary fresh juice of the day which today was a mix of orange, mango and peach. It had a great flavour and they served it in mason jam jars which was fun.

After the bread it was pastry/dessert time again. I know it was still only breakfast time but we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to try some of the stunning selection. We couldn’t have taken them with us on the train very easily. The other French patrons sitting nearby were all happily tucking into sugared pastries and brownies so we didn’t feel out of place. We shared a lemon tart and a chocolate ganache tart. Both fantastic quality and again packed with flavour

The lemon tart was piled high with a mound of torched meringue. The pastry was thin and crisp with a lovely thick tangy lemon filling. The meringue had the merest hint of crisp outer curst and then pillowy light meringue underneath. It just dissolved on the tongue. The chocolate ganache tart again had a good crisp crust and then almost a set chocolate custard filling with a layer of glossy ganache on top. It had a good intense chocolate flavour. The French really know their chocolate.

We left feeling a little sick and sugar high but oh so worth it. We bought a slab of focaccia bread, a peach muffin and a chestnut muffin to share for lunch on the train.
The focaccia was nice but a bit disappointing. It was incredibly oily and the middle bit of my half was doughy and raw. I couldn’t stomach any more sugar at that point but when we arrived in London we split the muffins. The peach one was quite crumbly but nice enough. The peach slices were almost semi dried as they were very firm and sugary rather than soft and juicy as expected. The muffin itself was studded with fresh mint which was a nice surprisingly flavour and quite strong. The chestnut muffin was a very soft close textured sponge made with chestnut flour. It was sweet and earthy but I loved the flavour.

I ate so much sugar and desserts in 22 hours that I returned with a real craving for vegetables, I felt I needed to re-vitaminise. We arrived back in Sheffield quite late. It had been a long day and a crazy 36 hours involving 14 hours travelling and only 22 hours actually in Paris but it was so much fun.

I would highly recommend both Chambelland Boulangerie and Helmut Newcake. Both so good and you wouldn’t know everything was gluten free. The UK is certainly lagging behind in their artisan patisserie, especially gluten free!

My only purchase from Paris was a whole half a slab of bread from Chambelland Boulangerie. I spotted them slicing some that was stuffed with fruits and nuts and really wanted to try it. I got a half slab as I hoped I would like it and knew I couldn’t exactly go back and buy more. I had some for tea when I got back home and it was fantastic. A slightly sour tasting bread absolutely packed with whole hazelnuts, juicy raisins and large chunks of dried fig. The crust was so thick and chewy I could hardly slice it with the bread knife. It was amazing!


Was an amazing sugar overloaded, gluten free pastry filled, long whirlwind of a trip to Paris. I was actually in Paris less than 24 hours but think I managed to consume 10 different pastries/desserts in that time! I’d love to go back and see some more of the traditional Paris sites, (I didn’t even manage to spot the Eiffel tower) and eat more patisserie! J'adore pâtisseries françaises!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

River Cottage Light & Easy Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win a copy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new Wheat & Dairy Free cookbook, River Cottage Light & Easy.

I have used a random number generator to pick the winner from the entries and can reveal that... comment number 2 is the winner! Congratulations Kate!
Kate said for her own take on Oat-otto (savoury oat porridge/risotto) she would "pop in cubes honey-roasted butternut squash, fresh from the garden and some roasted pumpkin seeds all herbed up with a little fresh chopped oregano or basil."

Sounds delicious Kate. I hope you enjoy the book.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Mushroom Oat-otto: Savoury Porridge from River Cottage Light & Easy: and a Giveaway!

I was recently sent a copy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book: River Cottage Light & Easy. From the title it sounds like a regular, traditional style cookbook from a much loved chef – yes? However, there is a twist to this cookbook. Every recipe is both wheat and dairy free!

Now, from any other chef I would probably have rolled my eyes and mumbled something about jumping on the ‘special diet band-wagon’, but not from Hugh, instead I was intrigued and excited. Hugh has done a great deal to raise food awareness in recent years, both with battery farmed chickens and sustainable fish. He also did a recent series where he went veggie for a few months in order to highlight the gloriousness and versatility of vegetables. I have always loved his recipes and tv programmes which focus on local, seasonal, fresh produce and so was excited to see what his new book would bring to the table.

While every recipe in the book is wheat and dairy free, they are not always guaranteed to be gluten free, as quite a few of them do use rye flour, or ingredients containing gluten such as Worchester sauce. That said I should think 85-90% are also gluten free which is fantastic. The approach to the book is recipes that are ‘Light’ and ‘Easy.’ This by no means this is a low fat or weight loss book. Instead the term ‘light’ is used to represent food that is fresh and light on the digestion. You know if you eat a lunch of soup and salad compared to a heavy stodgy pie and mash, you feel more light, alert and full of energy. This is the premises behind this book, food that is delicious, fresh and energy boosting. Again, why wheat and dairy free? In the intro in the front of the book, Hugh reveals why he has chosen to go down this route. A few years ago he was diagnosed with high cholesterol and rather than go on statins, he decided to control his cholesterol through diet, by reducing the amount of dairy he ate. He still wanted to enjoy the wide range of foods and recipes he loved and so began experimenting with alternative non-dairy ingredients and found a whole new set of ingredients and flavours opened up to him, almond milk and rapeseed oil etc. At the same time he began looking more into ancient grains and alternative cereals to wheat which opened up ingredients such as buckwheat, quinoa and rye. He says he never excluded wheat and dairy from his diet and does not encourage people to do that either, merely to open your eyes and your tastes buds to the range of different alternatives out there, and discover some new delicious, nutritious recipes along the way. This is something I agree with wholeheartedly and was so excited to try out a few recipes!

The book is filled with recipes for all occasions, from breakfast, main meals including meats, fish, veggie and not forgetting desserts. Each recipe is beautifully laid out and is accompanied by a tempting looking photo. The recipe that caught my eye was for a savoury porridge with baked onions. Hugh described this as a lighter version of risotto and as porridge is one of my favourite comfort foods I was intrigued to try it myself. White rice is high on the glycemic index and quite low in fibre meaning you will have a quick rise in energy followed by a crash in energy soon afterwards. Oats on the other hand are high in fibre and low on the glycemic index meaning they will keep you feeling fuller for longer with more sustained energy. Oats have also been shown to help lower cholesterol so it’s a win-win.

As the weather last weekend was rather wet and dismal, I decided a big bowl of comforting savoury porridge was just what was called for. I didn’t have any large onions for roasting, but I did have plenty of mushrooms and so decided to use those instead.

I love the woodsy earthy flavour mushrooms bring, and they worked so well with the porridge/risotto. Both risotto rice and oats contain starch that are released during cooking, while help thicken up the surrounding liquid to create a thick, creamy and comforting dish. The other bonus with oats is that unlike rice, they are ready in just a few minutes meaning the whole recipe only took me about 15 minutes from start to finish. Perfect!

I fried the mushrooms off first, before adding the oats and giving them a gentle toast in the pan before adding veg stock. This created a fabulous dark earthy flavour and colour to the porridge. It looked so autumnal and comforting. I added garlic and thyme which always enhance the flavour of mushrooms.

I know lots of people serve risotto with a grating of parmesan, but of course that was off the menu here. Instead grate over a few toasted nuts (I chose almonds) for a nice visual appearance and subtle nutty undertone which went so brilliantly with the woodsy mushrooms. I also added a dried sage leaf at the end, which also enhanced the savoury comforting flavour of the oats and mushrooms.

This was such a delight of a meal. Warming, comforting, creamy, thick oaty risotto with a slight bite to the oats and intense woodsy mushrooms with their strong savoury umami flavour. It was fabulous. I enjoyed it so much I would have no qualms serving this up to friends and the fact it was ready in a mere 15 minutes means its perfect mid week meal food. Hugh calls it a savoury porridge, which it is, but I think Oat-otto sounds more fun.

Fresh, light, easy, comforting, nutritious and delicious. What more could you want from meal!? I enjoyed it so much I’m not sure I’ll ever make risotto with rice again. I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes.

Giveaway!
Now if you weren’t excited enough to try the recipe below, then I am thrilled to be able to give you the chance to win a copy of the book for yourself! To enter just leave a comment below and tell me how you would flavour your own Oat-otto – keeping to the wheat and dairy free theme.
Only 1 entry per person. The giveaway will close at midnight Friday 17th October with the winner picked at random. Entrants must be a UK resident and must leave me a way to contact you, within your comment, should you win. Best of luck.

I’ve given you my version of Hugh’s recipe below. For his Baked Onion version, you’ll have to buy the book (or win a copy)!

Mushroom Oat-otto: Savoury Porridge
(Recipe adapted from River Cottage Light & Easy by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Ingredients
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
250g chestnut or white capped mushrooms
1 red onion
3 springs fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
350ml vegetable stock
80g porridge oats (I used gluten free oats)
10 skin on hazelnuts or almonds
Salt & pepper
Thyme or dried sage to serve (optional)

Method
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Slice the mushrooms and red onion and add to the pan. Strip the thyme leaves off their stalk and sprinkle over the mushrooms along with the garlic. Cook until the mushrooms and softened and are a light golden brown colour around the edges.
Heat your stock in a jug and have close to hand.
Add the oats to the pan and stir to mix them through the mushrooms, allowing them to absorb any of the juices.
Add a third of the stock and allow to simmer, stirring often until the stock is absorbed. Pour over half the remaining stock and again cook until the liquid is absorbed. Add the rest of the stock and allow to simmer until the oats are softened and have broken down to create a thick creamy textured porridge/risotto. Season generously with freshly milled pepper and a pinch of salt to taste. (Add a little extra water if you want a thinner texture).
Set aside 2 of the nuts before chopping the rest and stirring into the oat-otto.
Spoon into warm bowls and grate the 2 reserved nuts over the top using a very fine grater, this gives a parmesan cheese appearance and provides a lovely nutty aroma and taste.
Garnish with some extra sprigs of thyme or sage leaves.
Eat and enjoy
Serves 2

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Veronica’s Gluten Free Baked Crisps: A Review

I was recently sent some gluten free baked crisps by an entirely gluten free brand called Veronica’s. All their crisps are gluten free, and come in a range of interesting flavours. No plain or salt & vinegar standard flavours here. I was really pleased about this as it’s always nice to discover brands offering more exciting flavour combos that are suitable for those of us on a gluten free diet. ‘Normal’ crisps often have the flavours combined with wheat flour, so I’m often left with a limited range I can choose from. Not that ‘normal’ people wouldn’t happily devour bags of these crisps too. They are also 60% lower in fat than regular crisps, mostly because they are baked rather than fried and they also claim to be lower in salt. Bonus. I was sent three big sharing bags and one smaller bag aimed at children.

Baked Potato Sour Cream, Herb & Onion Crisps
I was initially surprised when opening the bag to find perfectly uniform shaped crinkle crisps. I was expected slices of actual potato but they turned out to be reformed potato flakes with corn rather than potato slices. After the initial surprise I suppose this makes sense as this is how they are able to make them lighter and ‘healthier’ than normal crisps. They crisps were very light in both weight and texture. Crisp and almost airy in texture, and when bitten into you could see all the tiny air bubbles inside. I liked how you could see the specks of herbs. Thicker than a normal crisp but much lighter. A cross between a crisp and those corn crispbreads you see in the cracker aisle. They had a very clean aroma, nothing artificial smelling. You could really taste the sour cream flavour with just a subtle hint of onion giving a garlicky flavour. I liked the ridged shape and this also added texture.

Baked Potato Barbeque Crisps
These had a lovely smoky BBQ aroma on opening the bag. They were quite a bright orange-red colour which turned out to be from paprika. This gave them a subtle sweetness and great smoky earthy flavour. Again they were nicely light and crisp with the characteristic ridges. The aroma was stronger than the actual taste of paprika. It was quite subtle at first although did build up as you ate. The flavour lingered nicely after eating them too, giving a wonderful smoky woodsy paprika flavour. There was also a hint of onion. I’m not sure it was quite BBQ, I think smoked paprika might have been a better name, but very tasty all the same. Of the two baked potato crisps, this was the flavour I kept going back to.

Baked Veggie Crisps – Roast Tomato & Spanish Paprika
These were a mix of potato flakes combined with carrot, beetroot, broccoli and spinach in a tomato, garlic and paprika seasoning. Another paprika offering, this time with veggies. I was expecting either slices of the actual vegetable or shaped crisps combining all of the veggie ingredients in one, but I was again surprised, in a good way, on opening the bag to find there were 3 different shades of crinkle crisps within the bag. I think there was a carrot one, a beetroot one and broccoli & spinach all on a potato base. I liked how you got a range of veggie flavours within the same bag, rather than them all being mingled into one crisp. It made them much more fun to eat, as well as looking quite attractive. It was a sort of crisp lucky dip.
The plainer looking one I suspect was carrot; it had a subtle sweetness and a slight smokiness form the paprika seasoning. The darker orange one I think was beetroot. This too was faintly sweet with a lingering flavour that reminded me of something I couldn’t quite remember. The mild green hued one was my favourite. It had a definite broccoli ‘green’ flavour to it. I was surprised, and loved, how strongly the flavour came through. It was subtle, but you could definitely detect a hint of green about it. I suspect this one had the spinach mixed in too, which probably helped the green element.
I loved the mix of flavours but did find the crisps to be a little too salty for me. I know they are crisps but I only ate a few and did go hunting for water afterwards.

Crunchy Creatures – Cheese
Unlike the other bags this one was a single serve bag and definitely aimed at children with its bright yellow packet and fun bubble writing. The pack had a cartoon dinosaur on the front and I was delighted to open the bag and find the corn puffs were all dinosaur shaped too. Not just cut outs either, but whole puffed almost 3D dinosaurs and all of them where whole – no broken limbs or crumbled away tails to be seen. I was impressed.
The bag had a pleasant cheese aroma and a mix of light and well coated cheesy powdered dino’s. I found the flavour to be almost that of a toned down wotsit (those cheesy brightly orange coloured puffed corn snacks). Not too strongly flavoured with a lovely crisp initial bite and texture that somehow seemed to dissolved, soften and disappeared within seconds of biting, almost like magic. Bite, huge crunch and then poof…gone. I can imagine little children loving these, and what a fun shape! My only gripe with these was that again I found them overly salty. I was also surprised to find they had the same salt level as all the other crisps. I would have expected crisps directly aimed at children to have a much lower salt level compared to the adult orientated ones.

Overall I enjoyed all the crisps. It was nice to see some different, interesting flavours being offered to the gluten free market. I found them all to be a little too salty for my tastes, despite the packs saying they are lower in salt than regular crisps. I feel the children’s ones in particular could do with being less salty. I don’t think it would affect the quality. Despite the saltiness, I enjoyed the smoky BBQ flavour and loved the veggie ones. So unique both in flavour and texture, I’d buy the veggie ones again. I was also impressed that practically all of the crisps were intact, despite being sent through the post. They have got the balance of lightness, crispness and texture just right. It’s great to see some more tasty and original gluten free choices enter the gluten free market.

After tasting them myself I then took the bags into work to see what my colleagues thought. All the crisps disappeared very quickly, but the veggie ones, were the ones that disappeared first.


Note: I was sent the samples for free, but all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Gluten Free Profiteroles with Peanut Butter Cream & Chocolate Ganache

Today marks 4 years since my coeliac diagnosis. It’s funny how the knowledge and awareness of coeliac disease and gluten free diets has grown so much in just the 4 years I have been actively conscious of it. This has had both a positive and negative effect. The positive is that more people are aware of it and there are becoming a lot more options for food when eating out and choices in the shops. On the negative, people now consider it a fad, which means some people think you are being picky when you say you need a gluten free diet, I’ve seen many a waiter eye roll or else people start a gluten free diet who are simply jumping on band wagon and loudly proclaim they too are eating gluten free but then tuck into the office birthday cake or enjoy a few beers down the pub. This gives a confusing message to people who don’t really understand and lessens the actual severity of ensuring foods are gluten free. On the whole it’s a positive progression though.

What better way to celebrate 4 years gluten free than with some delicious profiteroles inspired by my gluten free pastry course fromLeiths. I tweaked the recipe a bit from the one they gave us on the course, as the flour mix they used was a bought brand and I wanted to make my own. Also the recipe we used on the course were for super cheesy Gougères and I wanted a cheesless profiterole.

I have tried making gluten free choux pastry once before and it was a bit of a disaster, but fresh from my training I was willing to give them another go. I am so pleased I did as they turned out brilliantly (even if I do say so myself)!

To save on some arm muscles, I used a food mixer for part of the mixing method, but I think it may have been simpler to do it by hand – not to mention less washing up. I was worried my choux would either be doughy in the middle, or else not puff up, but they puffed and hollowed just as they should. They were very light and airy little puffs.

I am not a fan of plain cream, to me it’s just tasteless and a little greasy tasting, but flavour that cream with some creamy peanut butter and you are on to a winner. Top it off with some warm chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of peanut brittle and I quite happily devoured 5 in one sitting – don’t judge me, it was my first gluten free profiterole in 4 years!

The mix of light choux pastry, airy but creamy peanut butter filling and warm bitter chocolate ganache was divine. Peanut butter and dark chocolate are a match made in heaven and to have it all wrapped up within little treat of a dessert was delicious. I used a mix of ricotta and double cream for the filling, which resulted in a wonderful thick, almost moussy peanut butter cream. I can see many more profiteroles on the horizon!

Profiteroles with Peanut Butter Cream & Chocolate Ganache
Choux Pastry
50g rice flour
20g cornflour
10g tapioca starch
¼ tsp xanthan gum
120ml water
50g butter
3 eggs

Peanut Butter Cream
150g ricotta cheese
150g double cream
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

Chocolate Ganache
100g dark chocolate
80g double cream
1 tbsp golden syrup

Decoration
Peanut brittle

Method
Combine the 3 flours and xanthan gum together in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
Place the water and butter into a medium sized pan and heat until the butter is melted. Bring the mixture to a simmer then remove from the heat and quickly add your flour mix in one go. Immediately start to beat the flour into the butter mixture, you need to work quickly and stir vigorously. Continue to beat it until the mix comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick dough. Keep beating until all lumps of flour are mixed in.
Then tip the dough out onto a plate and smooth out into an even layer. This helps cool it down quickly. (At this stage the dough is known as a ‘Panade’ a paste mixture of a soft dough).
Leave it to cool slightly for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C and line a tray with silicone paper.
Once the mix has cooled slightly, return it to the pan. Whisk the eggs together in a jug and pour this into the choux dough, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. The mix will go sloppy, greasy and slimy looking at each addition of egg – this is normal. Keep beating until it absorbs the egg and then add a little bit more. Continue this until you have a batter that reluctantly drops from the spatula when lifted. If it’s too thick and sticky to fall off without shaking, then you need to add a little more egg. You also don’t want it too sloppy and runny as you need to pipe it, so if you have particularly large eggs, you may not need all of it.
It’s a hard arm workout, but keep beating until you have a smooth sticky batter.
Scoop the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tube nozzle.
Pipe rounds of batter onto the baking tray, leaving an inch between each one. You want them to be about the size of a large walnut.
Dip your finger in water and dab the tops of the piped choux to flatten out any peaks formed from the piping bag.
Sprinkle a few drops of water all over the baking tray, as this will create steam in the oven which will help them rise.
Bake in the oven at 220C for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven to 150C and bake for a further 8-12 minutes until they are puffed, golden brown and lightly crisp to the touch.
Remove the choux buns from the oven, remove them from the baking tray and make a little hole in the base of each one to let the steam out. Cool them upside down so the steam can escape up out of the hole (or else they go soggy)

Make the cream by beating the peanut butter into the ricotta until smooth and well combined. Lightly whip the cream until its just beginning to thicken, then stir this through the ricotta mixture to make a mousse-like texture.

For the chocolate ganache, heat the chocolate, cream and golden syrup together in a small pan. Stir gradually until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Do not let it boil. Remove it from the heat and set aside to cool and thicken slightly.

To serve, either pipe or spoon the peanut butter cream into the choux buns (I like to pipe it in using the hole created in the bottom so they stay hole.) Then dip the top of each profiterole into the warm chocolate sauce and arrange on a plate. Roughly chop up some peanut brittle and sprinkle a little over the top of the profiteroles.
Best eaten on day of baking. Assemble just before eating as they will go soft if left to stand for too long.
Eat and enjoy.

Makes 16-18 profiteroles