Cacti Courtesan-au-white chocolat garden

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I am terrible at recall. In this world there are two types of people; people who are BBF with list and others who  “guarantee” their memory is good enough to last for hours on end. I am the second type of person. While the constant theme of organisation articles have tried to glorify the list as the main precursor to a fulfilling day; I fail miserably because of one key flaw.

“Where did i put that list?”

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Yep I notorious for losing things. Phones, keys, shoes; you name it I have most likely lost it even in my own house only to find it two-weeks later when I have either bought a new one or cursed that I am so forgetful. Currently I am on a roll with misplacing really important items; namely my keys and my SD card. Not just any ordinary SD card, it was the one where I have the raw photographs of the food I taken in the past well few months. On this day I  would be valuable volunteer to test out the effectiveness of any antiperspirants from the sweat I was breaking out in from the searching (aka Panic chicken head running) and the language that was coming out my mouth. Mostly cursing the SD card and my brain again. Thankfully I did get back the card, it was in my back pocket after shooting…  *Insert the curse words!*

Of course after this experience I made a list. not just for organisation but one for everyday activities. So proud of myself, I was walking the foot steps of  to become of those organised inspiration house holds. One that we drool over on the internet and house magazines.  It did work for a few days before once again the monster strikes and I am turn in to anxiety girl. I lost the list of where I keep things. Press repeat on what happened next.

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Even the best of us have lost something at one time and the terrible anxiety that comes along with it is not pleasant for anyone. I do not think your family enjoys the  house being turn upside down. It gets even worse if you’re looking for something trivial. I am always thing about how to make new desserts and cakes however with my flaw they go just as easily. Call it an unhealthy obsession with food but it is hard not to think about it when you run a blog like this and your dreams are all about creating delicious sweets. No matter where drawing inspiration from any environment is what I do best.

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This one I had in my mind for a while. After I started to become green thumb this year.  My herb garden is now flourishing and my mother has done a gorgeous job on the garden with the flora and vegetables. We even grew own pumpkin at one stage! however this dessert came from a different part of the garden. It is now cool to garden heaps of succulents and cacti. The plants are require minimal effort to flourish and have become centre piece for many homes. I blame the turn towards alternative, hipster lifestyles. I many not love succulents as much as real flowers, I have always had an obsession with cacti. I was not allowed to have one as a child because my parents said they were dangerous. Good parenting from them on their part as I am clumsy.

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Oh well while I can not have the real thing I can at least create one in the form of dessert. Base on the choux puff with pastry cream, this is the fancy Germany cousin. I think you have mostly pinned the ones which are delicately placed on a round plate with pretty pink and purple royal icing and perfect white details. Courtesan-au-chocolat is the normally one that have a dark chocolate cream with a detail pastry puff, stacked on top of each other. It was the first time I had a chance to create something like this after watching the movie this week.

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Fair to say I inspired by the creation of pastry, sugar and art. Also It being summer in Australia, I wanted to create a summer inspired dessert. This is my Cacti Courtesan garden! Yes I think you have stretch your imagination a bit to see it but they are meant to  round ones with the flower on the top. Please tell me you see it.

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Lovely puffs of butter pastry with  a royal icing glaze dyed with Pandan essence and filled with a white chocolate cream. I used a cookie crumble cover under the royal icing to reflect the natural texture you can get on the cacti.

Also I used a white royal icing, done to the thickness of toothpaste with egg white and pure icing sugar.  I placed them on a piece of chocolate brownie bark I made but the recipe is for another post. ;D. However you can get the recipes for brownie bark from many places on the internet.  You can prepare a lot of ingredients a head of time and get the royal icing ready when you want to serve. This is really out there idea I had but it turn out better than expected.

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I used combination of stacked puff, while the traditional Courtesan is three puffs I think it looks nicer and cuter it varies. Of course you can make this tomorrow too! It used all those thing you need to rid yourself of before Lent. Fat Tuesday is normally for pancakes but this dessert also uses milk, butter, flour and  hell of lot of eggs. It also meant to be if the colours I have chosen are also bright colourful and feature purple, green and yellow? Yep I only discovered Mardi Gars celebration food last year and I wanted it so badly in Southern Hemisphere. Oh well, will you accept this as my tribute America?

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Cacti Courtesan-au-white chocolat garden

Adapted from my caramaelia eclairs

  • 120 ml milk
  • 120ml water
  • 110 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 150 gm plain flour, sieved
  • 250 ml lightly beaten egg (about 5-6)
Almond cookie paste
  • 45 gm demerara sugar
  • 40 gm softened unsalted butter
  • 50 gm  plain flour
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
White chocolate cream
  • 400g whipping cream, chilled
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 400ml full fat milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 50g flour
  • 120 gm Vanilla bean white chocolate
  • A batch of Royal, green and one white.
  • Royal icing flowers
  • Brownie bark or another rough textured edible surface ( short crust base is good too)
  • One batch of puff
  • One batch of cream

Pastry puffs
  • Line 3 trays with baking paper. Pre heat oven to 200C.
  • In a large pot bring milk, butter, sugar, water and salt to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat.
  • Beat in flour with a wooden spoon. Return to heat and continue mixing for 5 minutes
  • Transfer to an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beating continuously on medium speed, gradually add egg and beat until well combined (1 minute). Continue to beat until ti remove temperature
  • Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle, pipe three different sized puffs (big, small and middle) on each tray lined with baking paper and freeze until needed.
Almond crust
  • In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, flour and almond meal in an electric mixer until well combined (1-2 minutes). Roll out between two pieces of baking paper to a rough 14cm x 22cm rectangle and freeze 20 mintues. Once semi hard, but 3 circles from the crust with cookie cutters. They should be slighter bigger than the raw choux puff. Refrigerate until required.
  • Remove choux pastry from freezer. Top each with the correct sized almond paste circle and bake until starting to turn golden (12-15 minutes). Reduce oven to 170C and bake until golden, risen and crisp (25 minutes). Cool on a wire rack.
White chocolate cream
  •  Bring 300ml milk to the boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. You can place the white chocolate over this pan of steaming milk to melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In another medium bowl whisk the egg yolks, 100ml milk sugar and flour until no lump remain. Pour 1/3 of the milk over the yolk mixture while whisking constantly. Add chocolate, stir until smooth. Transfer back in to the pan and cook it over low heat until it very thick. Transfer to the fridge to cool. (NOTE: you can do this 24hrs ahead of making the puffs)
  • Whisk remaining cream in a separate bowl until soft peaks form, fold into chocolate mixture in three batches, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm-diameter nozzle.
  • Poke a hole in the bottom of the choux puff. Pipe cream into tube. Repeat to as many as you like to fill you base ( brownie bark or short curst). Place on lined tray  and fridge for 30 mintues. Make your royal icing, in a medium bowl mix pure icing with a tsp of egg white. Continue to add egg white until desired thickness is achieve for piping. Remove 1/3 of it to remain white. Tint the 2/3 royal icing with pandan essence,  continue to add tsp of egg white until a coating thickness is achieved.
  • Dip each puff in green royal icing. Make stacks of two and three tower puffs. Place white icing in a bag and pipe details on the side of the puffs. stack them immediately on top each other. Place flowers and crystal sprinkles on the top. Dot white icing sugar on brownie base and place the stack on top to glue it in place.  Serve!

'Cacti Courtesan-au-white chocolat garden' have 12 comments

  1. February 16, 2015 @ 5:43 pm Thalia @ butter and brioche

    Hands down the best courtesan I have ever seen.. Perfecting the art of choux is such a tricky business and you have managed to do so and make it seem so easy . Just incredible Belinda!


    • February 16, 2015 @ 7:03 pm themoonblushbaker

      Thank you Thalia especially since you know so much about French cooking! I am more impressed they did not spilt in the middle. I when though phase when they all were cracking.


  2. February 16, 2015 @ 7:45 pm

    LOVE! This is so incredibly adorable! Pinning!


  3. February 17, 2015 @ 1:36 am Michelle @ Hummingbird High

    Holy cow, this is so freaking cute! That brownie bark is the perfect touch too! This actually looks like a prettier version of the dying terrarium I have on my coffee table at the moment, lol.


    • February 18, 2015 @ 12:24 am themoonblushbaker

      The same reason why I do not keep indoor plants, they always turn out worse and eventually in the bin. Thanks Michelle!


  4. February 17, 2015 @ 3:24 am Beauty Follower

    Wow splendid!


  5. February 18, 2015 @ 5:26 pm George in Quito

    Good work on the choux, Belinda! And, as always, great pix. (Reminds me, I have to do a batch of these for a friend.) I’m always inspired by your blog.


  6. February 22, 2015 @ 1:14 am Jerrelle | Chocolate For Basil

    This is so impressive, Belinda. And I love that you transformed it into such a beautiful work of art. Its almost too pretty to eat!


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