Sunday, March 30, 2014

Courtesan au Chocolate

I'm sure by now you've heard about Wes Anderson's new film The Grand Budapest Hotel. I've been watching trailers for months and I'm finally going to see it tomorrow, but in the mean time I thought I would bring a bit of grandeur to my life in the form of a Courtesan au Chocolate, the curvy pastry featured in the movie, a somewhat loose, and I use that term loosely, version of the French 'religieuse'. 

I was helped along by this marvelous tutorial from Wes and the actual baker for the movie, Anemone Muller-Grossmann.  Yes, they took two days to make but in the words of my dear husband "...they're worth it!" Now all I have to do is look like Saoise Ronan while I'm baking and my life will be complete. 

courtesan au chocolate (adapted from Anemone Muller-Grossmann)

chocolate pastry cream

1 &1/2 cups milk
2 ounces good quality dark chocolate broken into pieces
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon good quality cocoa
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat the milk in a medium, heavy bottomed pot, stir in chocolate and bring mixture to just before a boil.  In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks, cocoa, flour and cornstarch.  Pour in half of the milk mixture and stir well.  Pour that back into the pot and heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.  Whisk in butter and vanilla.  Strain into a clean bowl, cover and chill.
pate a choux

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup unbleached AP flour
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Set aside 3 parchment lined sheet pans and a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4 inch round tip.  Bring the water, salt, sugar and butter to a raising boil in a medium, heavy bottomed pot.  Add the flour and turn off the heat.  Stir in the flour until a stiff dough forms.  Beat in the eggs one at a time making sure they are fully incorporated.

Pipe 10 large, 10 medium and 10 small (on different pans as they will take varying times to bake).  Bake for 15-25 minutes or until puffed up and golden.  After removing from the oven poke a small vent into the bottom of each.

Fill large and medium puffs with chocolate pastry cream.


3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup of milk more or less
pink, green and pale violet food color

In a large bowl whisk milk into sugar to desired consistency.  Divide into 3 bowls, one for each color.  Dip large puffs into violet color, medium into green and small into pink.

butter cream

1 egg white
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
blue food color

Whisk egg white and sugar until smooth.  Add butter a little at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary.  Whisk until smooth.  Add vanilla.  Color half a pale blue.


butter cream
cocoa beans  (or raisinettes)

Using a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip pipe a decorative filigree around each puff with white butter cream.  Stack the medium puffs on top of the large with dollop of blue butter cream, and top with the small puff.  Pipe a small rosette of blue butter cream and top with cocoa bean.  Place each pastry on a small doily and pipe a small shell boarder around the bottom of each.  

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  1. Wow, they turned out so good! I love these things, they totally represent the Wes Anderson universe. Now I'm tempted to make them too... Also while wishing to look like Saoirse Ronan :P

    1. Thanks! Yes they do, and really rather scrumptious!

  2. Very nicely done! I made these for Easter (also took me two days to make). Funny, I also improvised some changes: adding butter and vanilla to the chocolate cream, which I see you did as well. And I substituted a sugar violet (store-bought) for the cocoa bean.
    Here's a photo:

    1. Thanks Lisa. Yours look perfect, love the violet on top! I think Wes really started something here!

  3. They look very impressive! :)