This very rich, impressive gateau woitld make an ideal dessert for an important dinner party. The time and trouble it takes to make Religieuse (reh-lcc-gers) is well worth the final result.


4 oz. flour

2 oz. plus

1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons sugar + m

2 egg yolks

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

5 oz. Choux Pastry

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with

1 teaspoon water



11. oz. Creme Patissiere flavoured with

2 tablespoons strong black coffee

6 fl. oz. Creme Chantilly

Sift the flour on to a board or marble slab and make a well in the centre. Put 2 ounces of the butter, the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla essence in the centre and, with your fingertips, gradually draw the flour into them.

When all the flour is incorporated, knead the dough lightly with the heel of your hand until it is smooth and will form a ball. Wrap the dough in greaseproof or waxed paper and chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to hot 425°F (Gas Mark 7, 220X). Lightly grease an 8-inch flan tin and a baking sheet with the teaspoon of butter. Set the tin and the sheet aside.

On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out into a 10-inch circle. Line the flan tin with the dough and trim the edges.

Discard the trimmings.

Place the flan tin in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. With a sharp knife, prick the bubbles that have formed in the pastry. Reduce the heat to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C) and continue baking for a further 15 minutes or until the pastry is firm to the touch and pale golden brown.

Remove the tin from the oven. Slide the pastry case carefully out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Increase the heat to hot 425’F (Gas Mark 7, 220 C).

Meanwhile, fill a large forcing bag, fitted with a J-inch nozzle, with the choux pastry. Pipe the pastry into 8 finger shapes, about 4-inches long, on to the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the choux fingers with the egg glaze.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the choux pastry for 20 minutes or until the eclairs are puffed up and light golden brown. Reduce the heat to fairly hot 375’F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C). Bake the eclairs for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and firm to the touch.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and make a }-inch slit in the side of each eclair with the point of a sharp knife. (This allows the steam to escape.) Return the eclairs to the turned-off oven for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and transfer the eclairs to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fill a forcing bag, fitted with a J,-inch nozzle, with half the creme patissiere. Pipe it into the eclairs until they are completely filled.

Place the pastry case on a serving plate and fill the case, leaving a 1-inch border, with the remaining cremc patissiere.

Arrange the eclairs around the pastry case and over the filling. The eclairs should come to a peak over the centre of the pastry case.

Fill a forcing bag, fitted with a star-shaped nozzle, with the cremc chantilly. Pipe this into the spaces between the eclairs and pipe a star shape on to the peak where the eclairs meet.

Serve immediately.

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