This has become one of the most popular foraging post i made recently… and i have to admit – one of the best creation so far. I know i know i always keep saying this – but for real. I ve just nailed it.
It will also gonna sit very proudly in my foraging cookbook for sure.
So i thought to celebrating my apetite – it has just came back from its ‘vacation’ (health issues and plenty of diets) i surprise all of my forager friends with the details of this gorgeous dessert. Nothing left but u to get out to the closest park and make a deal with the squirrels over a dozens of acorn.
- make your acorn ‘praline’
- make your craquelin ‘crunch’
- make your choux and bake your shoe :)
- make your cream mousseline
- make it pretty
1.So. Get out and fight with some squirrels over a nice amount of acorns. All types of acorns are edible – just need different way of preparation. Easy to identify what you have – check on google if you have white, dark or red oak tree etc etc. Very first you have to peel your nuts – lots of different ways you can chose from – i find the best to dry them out (oven, 50-60 degrees for couple of hours) so you can hammer off the shell pretty easy (i do use my pestle and mortal).
After there are two ways to get rid of the huge amount of tannin from acorns, – cold or hot leaching. Depending what do you want to do with your nuts after and how much time you have for this. With cold water leaching you need a couple of weeks – but u keep most of the health benefits and nutritions of the acorns by soaking and changing the water every day. This is great if you want to make acorn flour. Hot water leaching is faster – you literally cooking out the tannin in boiling water for a couple of hours – changing the water till it comes out clear and the acorns dont taste bitter. You lose lots of benefitial values but you cook it in the same time and this is the perfect way to make our praline. So we pick this way of leaching here. Your acorns likely to crumble up and break into smaller and smaller pieces so make sure you changing your water with a help of a fine sieve. Its done when it has no more bitter flavour. Get rid of all the water under and blend your cooked acorns into a fine puree. Color should be beautiful brown like chestnuts and the texture become smooth like heaven. At this pointwe have to separate some for praline and some for the crunch.
150g acorn puree, 40g maple syrup, 50g melted coconut oil, pinch of seasalt and 1 tonka bean grated with microplane. Mix all this together and taste the heaven. DONE.
2.So make the acorn craquelin. This is just for the perfection really. When i tried the choux first i just sprinkled with almond flakes – originally this is how paris brest look like. So you dont need to bother with this – however to put this crunch on the top helps to bake the pastry perfectly and increases the volume also. For this you fully dry out the rest of your acorn puree and blend it into a fine powder (flour).
80g melted cocoa butter, 40g vegan butter, 120g muscovado sugar, 100g acorn flour. Mix all of these ingredients together and roll out to a very thin layer – cut into circles with a ring (depending on the size and shape of your choux you planning to bake always cut a bit bigger discs.) Freeze it.
3.So time for choux. Its not as a monster as you might think – nothing to be afraid of to be honest. Practise makes master anyway so if it doesnt work atvfirst dont give up. Not atomphysics. First you cook and then mix. Get a non stick pan on the heat with:
250g oatmilk, 100g vegan butter, 5g salt and 5g sugar. I use oatmilk and vegan butter to keep it dairy free but originally the recipe calls for normal butter and half milk half water. Up to your preferences. So turn the heat on till the ‘fat’ will melt into the liquid. Take off from the heat and mix in 150g normal white flour. Whisk in properly and put it back on a medium-high heat. Keep whisking. Rather use a spatula and keep stirring and moving till the whole mix get together as a dough ball. Well this is the only point (after measuring out everything correctly) that you can possibly f#ck it up. This stirring time is important to evaporate some moisture what we dont need in our choux at the end – that moist would make our mix far too ‘wetty’ and would stop the proper rising. So no rules here, but (without letting it burn) lets keep playing and moving the dough from side to side of the pan and re-shape and ‘make it dance around’ not letting stick – for about 5 minutes. After this the dough ball should look nice and shiny with a very even consistency. Now its coming the second stage – the mixing. Pop the dough into your standing mixer with a paddle attachement and turn on a high speed. Time for the eggs. You need 4 whole eggs whisk into the mix but slowly, one by one waiting till each one of them incorporates fully. When its all done keep mixing on high speed till your choux cools down (like another 5 min). At this stage the mix should be ‘dry’ enough to hold its shape in the paddle attechment if you lift it up. If its runny… well – likely wont work and wont rise but you can never be sure unless you try. Choux is done – well f#ckin done YOU Champ’!!!
Time for bake. You can pick any shape you want – the classic paris brest is a round ring (like donut) but you might be more familiar with just round balls like profiteroles – totally up to you. Easier to handle and shape the mixture from a piping bag – and recommend to use a silpat (silicon mat) for perfect baking experience – if you dont have it -try double layers of parchment paper. Pipe your rings or balls to your mat (try to avoid air bubbles and better to do it from the top ‘angle’ straight down to the tray) and place the frozen crunch disks over the top. The dough is sticky but you can correct it with wet fingers if you need to. Oven is already on 180 degrees and timer is 25minutes. You need dry heat no steam or moist at all. After place your tray in the oven – do not open it till the timer goes off. Repeat – DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN – because if its very early your pastry might collapse. Wait the time out – if your pastry looks pretty golden just check the bottom with a palette knife by lifting it up from the mat – if its golden brown then its ready – wont collapse. You can also freeze them down after piping and before baking – you can bake them anytime straigh from the freezer without defrosting. Now let them cool down. Well done again.
4.So. Cream mousseline. Sounds very fancy – and it is freakin delicious i have to say. NomNom. No atompsysics – just a posh pastry cream really. The original paris brest filled up with hazelnut or almond praline cream mousseline – just supersexy like a real french lover – fingerlicking. So get your non stick deeper pan on and start with the liquids:
125g almond milk with 125g brandy. Start to warm this up while you measure the rest of the ingredients to another bowl:
50g muscovado sugar, 3 yolks and 18g cornstarch – whisk together. When the liquids are hot just pour all over the rest of the stuff in the bowl, whisk it well and get the whole mix back to the original pan and start to cook the eggs and cornstarch out. Keep stirring and let it get boiled up carefully in a medium heat. Keep stirring while get a nice thicker consistency – just dont let it burn, but boil for a couple of minutes. Done, make sure you have no lumps at all – if you do by any chance- dont panic, just blend it well with a blender. Wait till it cools down a bit – after 10 minutes approx whisk in 60g of vegan butter and then slowly the 190g acorn praline (if your pastry cream too hot might split while you adding more fat so dont be unpatient). Very done. Hmmmmm DONE. Place your beautiful cream mousseline into a piping bag and let it cool down. For a fancier piping be brave to try different nozzels.
5.So make it pretty. The choux is very airy pastry so perfect for fillings like your cream. I decorated mine with some oak tree leaves made by tempering white chocolate. Also feel free to keep it simple by sifting some icing sugar on the top; works very well. AND DONE. You did it!!! You are a STAR. Also feel free to experiment – u can fill the pastries up with anything, you can serve it with chocolate cream or icecream.
One thing matters: the JOY OF MAKING. And dont forget to thanx for the squirrels. LOL. :)