Grand Budapest Hotel – Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolat
The Grand Budapest Hotel is easily one of the Betty team’s favourite films of the year. More importantly our desire to ride in the pink Mendl’s delivery truck and sink our teeth into one of their Courtesan au Chocolat treats has not died down. Luckily for us our food editor Alana has been busy in the kitchen showing us how to make our very own Wes Anderson inspired choux bun feast:
Makes approx. 8
60g plain flour
½ tsp icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, cubed
150ml cold water
2 large eggs
300ml whole milk
100g chocolate – 70% cocoa minimum, broken into pieces
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
2tbsp cocoa powder
Heat the milk and chocolate in a saucepan over a medium heat until the chocolate has melted. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder, flour and cornflour to create a paste. Pour in half the chocolate milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Pour that mixture into the pan with the other half of the chocolate milk and stir over a medium heat to thicken – stir until you have a thick custard. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally to avoid a skin forming. Set to one side.
Up to 500g icing sugar
Lilac, green and pink food colouring
In three separate bowls, mix icing sugar with a little milk and stir. Adjust quantities until you have a thick paste that doesn’t run from a spoon when held up. Test the consistency by dipping a choux bun in the icing – if it runs down the sides quickly then it is too thin and you need to add more icing sugar. Each bowl need to have enough icing in it so it covers half of each of the choux bun sizes. Add a tiny amount of colour to each bowl – you are aiming for pastel shades. Set to one side.
Method – can be made the day before
Combine the flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl. Heat the butter and water over a medium heat. As soon as the butter has melted, remove from the heat and tip in the flour mixture all at once. Stir vigorously and return to the heat. Continue to stir until the mixture is smooth, glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan– this should take no longer than 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 210C and place a roasting tray on the bottom shelf.
Once the choux is tepid, add the eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon, bringing the mixture together to form a glossy paste that drops from the wooden spoon in 3s.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Spoon the choux into a piping bag with a plain 1cm nozzle. Pipe in 3 sizes – tablespoon, teaspoon and hazelnut. All three sizes can go on the same tray but make sure the smallest sits at the front of the oven. Wet a finger with water and use it to lightly press down the peaks to stop them from burning.
Tip a glass of water into the roasting tray to create steam. Place the choux on the top shelf and close the door quickly to avoid the temperature dropping. Turn the temperature down to 200C and bake for 40 minutes. Check at 20minutes, but not before, and rotate the tray if necessary. After 40 minutes, remove one of each size and break open – the inside should be fairly dry and hollow. The larger ones may need 5 minutes longer.
Make a hole in the bottom of each roll using a knife and cool on a wire rack.