Serve while warm.

Ingredients

  • For the Choux Pastry:
  • 100g (3½oz) strong white or plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75g (3oz) butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • For the Pastry Cream:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
  • 25g (1oz) plain flour, sifted
  • 1 vanilla pod, with a line scored down the side, or ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 350ml (12fl oz) milk
  • For the Cinnamon Sugar:
  • 50g (2oz) caster or granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  • First, make the choux pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
  • Place 150ml (5fl oz) water and the butter in a medium-sized saucepan with high sides (not a low saute? pan) set over a medium-high heat and stir until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour and salt and beat very well with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and replace the saucepan on the heat, stirring for 1 minute until the mixture starts to 'fur' (slightly stick to the base of the pan) . Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1 minute.
  • Pour about a quarter of the beaten egg into the pan and, using the wooden spoon, beat very well. Add a little more egg and beat well again until the mixture comes back together. Continue to add the egg, beating vigorously all the time, until the mixture has softened, is nice and shiny and has a dropping consistency. You may not need to add all the egg or you may need a little extra. If the mixture is too stiff (not enough egg), then the choux pastries will be too heavy, but if the mixture is too wet (too much egg), they will not hold their shape when spooned onto greaseproof paper.
  • Although the pastry is best used right away, it can be placed in a bowl, covered and chilled for up to 12 hours, until ready to use.
  • Next, make the pastry cream. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick, then stir in the flour.
  • Place the vanilla pod, if using, in a saucepan with the milk and bring it slowly just up to the boil. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the milk onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the time. Return the mixture to the pan and stir over a low-medium heat until it comes up to a gentle boil (it must boil for it to thicken). Continue to cook, stirring all the time (or use a whisk if it looks lumpy), for 2 minutes or until it has thickened. If the mixture goes a little lumpy while cooking, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk well.
  • After 2 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat, add the vanilla extract, if using, and pour into a bowl. If it is still lumpy now cooked, push it through a sieve.
  • Cover with cling film and allow to cool. It must be covered or the surface must be rubbed with a tiny knob of butter to prevent a skin forming.
  • To make the cinnamon sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  • When you're ready to make the choux nuts, heat a deep-fat fryer to 180°C (350°F).
  • Scoop up little blobs of the choux pastry with a kitchen teaspoon, round and scoop off with a second teaspoon into the deep-fat fryer (with clean oil) and fry for 5–6 minutes, turning over a few times, until they are four times the size and golden brown.
  • Remove and toss in the cinnamon sugar, then pipe pastry cream into the centre with a small piping bag and small nozzle. Serve while warm.