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Milk Chocolate Mixed Nut Wreaths

Pastry Chef Wally Hewak,
Goodies Bake Shop

Choux paste is completely different from other types of pastry. When cooked, the dough rises and forms a crisp outer shell, leaving the centre hollow and ready to be filled.

Choux Paste
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp bread flour
6 eggs

Milk Chocolate Chestnut Mousse
3 cups whipping cream
5 oz milk chocolate (to cover)
1 1/3 cups chestnut purée
4 egg yolks

Praline Pastry Cream
2 cups less 2 Tbsp whole milk
1/4 cup sugar, divided
3 Tbsp cornstarch
6 eggs
4  Tbsp crushed Skor bars
4 Tbsp crushed, roasted hazelnuts
3 Tbsp hazelnut paste

48 whole roasted hazelnuts
6 oz melted milk chocolate
1 1/4 cups toasted sliced almonds
6 oz melted dark chocolate
Icing sugar, to dust

Choux Paste
1.   Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2.   Cut a sheet of parchment to fit a cookie sheet. With a pencil, draw 16 circles, 2 1/4-inches in diameter. Flip parchment over, so pencil markings are facing down.
3.   In a medium saucepan, bring milk, butter, sugar and salt to a boil.
4.   Mix in flour until incorporated. The dough will form a thick paste or ball. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
5.   Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add eggs one at a time with electric mixer on medium speed. Mix for 4-5 minutes after the last egg is added and mixture cools slightly.
6.   Using a medium star tip, fill a pastry bag with the dough, and pipe rings on the parchment paper, using the pencil lines as guides.
7.   Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and there is no moisture showing.

Milk Chocolate Chestnut Mousse
1.   In a large bowl, whip cream to medium stiff peaks. Set aside.
2.   In a saucepan, melt chocolate. Set aside.
3.   Whisk yolks into chestnut purée until smooth.
4.   Quickly whisk purée mixture into the melted chocolate.
5.   Add a small amount of whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to loosen it.
6.   Fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining whipped cream.
7.   Chill until set.

Praline Pastry Cream
1.   Bring milk and half the sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan.
2.   In a bowl, sift together remaining sugar and cornstarch.
3.   Whisk eggs into sugar mixture.
4.   Add a bit of the boiling milk mixture to the eggs. Stir well, then add entire mixture back into the pan.
5.   Cook for 2-3 minutes until it thickens, to remove any starchy taste.
6.   Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin.
7.   Pass pastry cream through a sieve to remove any lumps. Fold in remaining ingredients.

Chocolate Leaves
1.   Brush melted dark chocolate on one side of clean, non-toxic leaves to coat. Let set.
2.   Brush on a second coat. Let set, then peel off leaf.

1.   Dip the top of each ring into the melted milk chocolate, then press into the almonds. Let chocolate set.
2.   Cut the top 1/3 off the ring and hollow out the bottom.
3.   Pipe the praline cream into the bottom of the shell using a pastry bag with no tip.
4.   Using a medium star tip, pipe a ring of chestnut mousse on top of the pastry cream.
5.   Place the ‘lid’ on top and decorate with the chocolate leaves and nuts.
6.   Dust with icing sugar.

Yield  16 servings

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