Courtesan au chocolat! Je t’aime! I knew as soon as I saw these star-making pastries in Wes Anderson’s fantastical, whimsical movie Grand Budapest Hotel that I had to try making them. Plus… I’m pretty pumped about this – it’s an online baking party and you’re invited, as I’m not the only one having an OMG choux moment today! Check out my sweet fellow blogger friends rocking some amazing courtesan au chocolat: Molly’s post on My Name Is Yeh and Renee’s post on Will Frolic For Food! So FUN to see what everyone came up with!
What is courtesan au chocolat?
So what the heck are these cartoonish looking stacks?! Tall, whimsical towers of chocolate ganache-filled choux pastry dunked in the prettiest pastel glazes – I felt like a little kid creating a fantasy land of candy coloured cream puff castles. Biting into the pastry, the sugary vanilla glazed puff was airy and crisp yet it collapsed like a light, chocolate-filled cloud in my mouth. It was my first time making choux and it was pretty much this Grand Budapest Hotel courtesan au chocolat video that propelled me to get baking. Chouxper powers!
Cute details make the puff
I love the cartoon-like, fantastical feel of these – I used a piping bag fitted with a multi-prong star tip filled with pale turquoise buttercream to up the whimsy factor, creating a ruffly drop star on the top of each tower. I then topped the courtesan au chocolate with the cutest-berry shaped candies my friend Amy sent me in the mail, and a light dusting of rainbow sprinkles. They would be equally adorable with a colorful maltball or perfect fresh raspberry perched on top, or washi tape flags in corresponding colours. Serve these courtesan au chocolat on your dessert table for your next party and get ready to blow some minds with these party-making treats.
Courtesan Au Chocolat A La Grand Budapest Hotel
Choux pastry puffs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 larger pinch of sugar
- 4 beaten eggs
Milk chocolate ganache filling
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 3 cups of high quality milk chocolate, I used Lindt brand
Vanilla Cream Glaze
- 1 cup of icing sugar
- 5 teaspoons cream, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- gel colouring in pink, sky blue and green
Simple Vanilla Buttercream
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup of icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon milk
Make the choux pastry puffs
- Note: you will need three baking sheets, each lined with a piece of parchment paper. You will also need a piping bag fitted with an open circle tip.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a boil.
- Remove from heat. Slowly mix in sifted flour.
- Return to heat, stirring and cook for a minute until dough forms a buttery lump.
- Let cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs until combined.
- Stir in the egg mixture into the flour mixture, mixing until combined.
- Using a piping bag fitted with an open circle tip, pipe out the choux dough in three different sizes to form the towers – golf ball sized, walnut sized then quarter sized. Tip: if your piped dots have “tails”, fill a tiny bowl with warm water and dip a clean finger into the bowl and use your finger to press down the “tail.”
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until puffy and happily browned on the bottom; remove the quarter-sized ones after 20 or so minutes.
- Using a paring knife, cut an “X” slit into the bottom of each puff to allow steam to escape.
Make the ganache!
- In a medium saucepan, heat the cream on medium-low heat until it reaches a low boil.
- Add the chocolate; turn off the heat and let sit for ten minutes untouched.
- Whisk together to form a silky ganache.
- Power chill in the freezer for 30 minutes until ganache thickens enough to pipe into pastry puffs.
- Once puffs are cool and ganache is thick enough fill a piping bag with ganache and pipe into the bottoms of the puffs.
Make the glaze
- Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a medium bowl; whisk together until smooth.
- Pour equal amounts into three smaller bowls and tint each one a different pastel colour.
Make the buttercream
- Combine all ingredients for the buttercream in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Beat on high until fluffy and light. Add a tiny amount of sky blue gel food colouring to tint.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip with the buttercream.