Difficulty: Difficult Preparation: 90 Minutes Cooking: 90 Minutes Portion: 10 people
Ingredients for 30 to 40 Bigne':
Eggs 200 g 00 flour 130 g Butter 100 g Water 200 g Sugar 5 g Salt up to a pinch
For the Pastry cream:
Whole milk 600 ml Fresh liquid cream 150 ml Sugar 200 g Corn starch (cornstarch) 70 g Yolks 6 Vanilla bean (large) 1 or Vanilla liquid drops 10
For the Caramel:
Sugar 250 g Water 50 g
Start making the pastry, cut the butter into cubes and place it in a pan, then add the water, sugar and salt. Bring everything to a boil over low heat and, as soon as it starts to boil, remove the mixture from the heat and add the flour sieving it directly inside the pan. Stir immediately with a whisk quite vigorously, put the pan back on a low heat and continue stirring with a wooden spoon. The dough will be ready when detaching from the walls it will form a ball and a white patina will be present on the bottom of the pan.
You will obtain a soft and consistent mixture: then transfer it to the bowl of a planetary mixer and work it with the leaf hook at low speed to a few minutes, in order to make it cool quickly. Only when no more smoke comes out of the mixer can you add the eggs, one at a time, paying attention to adding the next only when the previous one is completely absorbed. Continue in this way until the eggs are finished and you will obtain a smooth and creamy mixture. If you do not have a planetary mixer, you can safely carry out this step with a wooden spoon. Transfer the mixture to a sac-à-poche with a 1 cm smooth nozzle and use it to form piles of dough on a dripping pan lined with parchment paper.
With this dough you will need to obtain about 30, then try to make rather large piles and evenly spacing them. Once all the dough is finished, soften the tip of the puffs by gently lowering them with a brush soaked slightly in water. Bake the puffs in a preheated static oven for 15 minutes at 220 °, avoiding to open the oven during cooking.
After the first 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 190 ° and cook the pastry for another 10 minutes. At this point, turn off the oven and leave the cream puffs inside for another 30 minutes with the door slightly open (put a wooden spoon between the door and the oven); this will serve to dry the interior well.
Remove your cream puffs from oven and let them cool completely.
For the Pastry cream
While the cream puffs are cooking, take care of preparing the cream.
First pour both the milk and the cream into a pan, then remove the seeds from a vanilla bean or vanilla liquid drops and keep them aside for a moment.
Add the now empty pod inside the pan and bring it to touch the boil . Instead, transfer the vanilla seeds into a bowl where you will have placed the yolks and quickly beating with a whisk add the sugar. Once you have obtained a homogeneous mixture, sift the corn starch by adding it directly into bowl. Stir again and, as soon as the milk has touched the boil, remove the vanilla bean and add a couple of ladles to the mixture of the yolks, stirring to dilute the mixture.
Transfer the mixture back to pot and, continuing to mix with a whisk, cook your custard until it has thickened. Transfer it immediately to an oven dish, cover with contact film and allow to cool completely.
Once cold, beat it with a whisk or a mixer and transfer it to a sac-à-poche with a smooth nozzle. To assembly the Bigne': In the meantime that the cream cools, prepare the cone that will be the backbone of your Bigne'. Using an paper sheet create a cone: bring it, folding it on itself, an angle towards the midpoint of the opposite length and roll up the rest of the paper to form a cone.
Block with adhesive tape and with scissors trim the bottom of the cone, thus obtaining a flat base of about 10 cm in diameter. Cover the cone with parchment paper and cut out the tip so as to obtain a cone trunk about 25 cm long. Place it on a paper tray lined with parchment paper. Take the sac-à-poche and press lightly with the tip on the bottom of each cream puff so as to fill them one by one with the custard. Put the stuffed puffs in the refrigerator and move on to the preparation of the caramel. Pour the water into a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to the boil over medium-low heat without ever stirring. As soon as it has reached an amber color, turn off the heat and immerse the bottom of the saucepan in cold water for a few seconds in order to block cooking. Dip each cream puff in the caramel (being careful not to burn yourself) and place it around the paper cylinder.
The caramel will act as a glue so try to position it in the part of the cream bigne' that will stick to the one already placed. Let it solidify and in the meantime take care of preparing the caramel threads. Place two identical bowls and on top of them put two wooden spoons with the handle facing you, spacing them about 20-25 cm apart.
Wait for the caramel to cool down a bit, it will be ready when pulling out the spoon will make some resistance and the threads will form. Making a movement from right to left and from left to right create the threads. Storage:
The cooked and empty cream Bigne' can also be kept closed for 2-3 weeks in a tin box. Once stuffed, they can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 days. Once made, the Bigne' should be consumed as quickly as possible, keeping it away from moisture.
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