Peach Bellini Pate Choux

These pate choux, in a lot of ways, are an homage to my Masterchef bestie, Bri. Peaches just because her family has a peach orchard in Texas, prosecco because I know she loves her sparkling wines(fun fact, a bellini is a drink made from peaches and prosecco), and the usage of molecular caviar as it is one of her signature techniques. I wanted to make sure that the prosecco was highlighted in a few different ways(not so many to the point where this recipe requires an entire bottle of it, as that would be really expensive just for 6 cream puffs), but enough so that you can enjoy the puffs with maybe an actual bellini on the side! For those unfamiliar, prosecco is a type of sparkling wine, like a poor man’s champagne, with very similar flavor profiles to champagne itself. There is a pleasant tartness to it that pairs beautifully with fruit, so mixing it with peaches makes perfect sense beyond just the fact that the two already come together to make the classic bellini cocktail! What I appreciate about the prosecco in this recipe is that it tones down any overt sweetness in the dessert, keeping everything balanced. With the peaches, they can range from super sweet to super tart, so the prosecco locks in the more tart notes, and with the sugar and the white chocolate in this recipe, that guarantees that regardless of how ripe or unripe the peaches are, this recipe will work in any case, and any time of year!

For the components, we have a choux bun(cream puff) with a craquelin(thin cookie that bakes around the puffs), a prosecco namelaka, peach curd, prosecco syrup-tossed peaches, and prosecco molecular caviar. With pate choux, it is important you bake it through, as any residual moisture will cause the puffs to collapse, which will not only ruin the final presentation, but also affect any fill-ability of the puffs themselves – you are piping both the curd and the namelaka into these buns, so they need to be relatively puffed up and hollow to do so. When in doubt, you can always lower the temperature of the oven to about 300 degrees F and bake the buns for an additional 5 minutes just to guarantee that they are baked through enough. For the namelaka, that is a whipped white chocolate mousse that is set up with gelatin. It is super silky and quite similar in texture to whipped cream but more stable, and when paired with the prosecco, it has a pleasant tang to it. We are also making a prosecco syrup, which will be used to sweeten a peach curd with, to glaze the fresh peaches, and as the base of the prosecco caviar. The caviar is made by melting agar into the prosecco syrup and dripping dots of that into super-cold oil to form these cute little spheres of prosecco gelee that resemble pearls or caviar! In a way, they are an homage to the bubbles you would see in prosecco! Overall, these choux were a ton of fun to make and assemble, and they really do taste like a bellini!

Makes 6 cream puffs:
For the craquelin:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
a pinch of salt

Mix together until everything barely comes together into a dough – overmixing will result in a tough craquelin that will not spread in the oven! Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Then roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/16-inch thickness. Cut out 2-inch disks and transfer those to the freezer. Re-chill and re-roll any remaining craquelin until you have 8 disks still in the freezer – freeze these disks for at least 20 minutes for optimal results.

For the choux:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup water or milk(you can use prosecco here too, but that might be a waste)
1 tsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs

In a pot, bring butter, water/milk, sugar, and salt to a boil. Once the butter is fully melted, add in the flour first, and stir until combined. Take off heat and allow the dough to cool for 2 minutes, then add in the eggs, one at a time to form your dough. Transfer to a piping bag. On a lined sheet tray, pipe the dough into 1 1/2-inch mounds, keeping each 2 inches apart. Place on top of each a piece of craquelin. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven down to 325 degrees F and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Transfer the choux into the freezer, as the colder you get them, the cleaner they cut.

For the prosecco syrup:
1 cup prosecco
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Bring everything to a simmer and reduce to roughly 2/3 cups of liquid.

For the peach curd:
1 and 3/4s of a peach, pitted – reserve 1/4 of the peach for the garnish!
1/4 cup prosecco syrup
2 tbsp cornstarch
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter

In a blender, puree the peaches with prosecco syrup and cornstarch. Pour through a sieve into a pot and whisk over medium heat with salt until the mixture has thickened and is beginning to cling to the sides of your whisk. Take off heat and whisk in the butter until incorporated. Chill down and transfer into a piping bag.

For the prosecco caviar:
1/3 cup prosecco syrup
a pinch of salt
1 tsp agar agar
1 1/2 cups canola oil, kept cold(freeze for at least 1 hour!)

In a pot, cook down the prosecco syrup with salt and agar until they are dissolved together. Transfer into either a syringe or a squeeze bottle and gently drip small dots of the liquid into cold oil, letting them float all the way to the bottom of the container. Pour through a sieve to retrieve the caviar from the oil(I funnel the oil back into whatever container I was storing it in, as it is still perfectly re-usable!), and rinse the caviar until cold water. Store in cold water in an airtight container until intending to use.

For the prosecco namelaka
1/3 cup prosecco
1 1/2 tsps gelatin powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Reduce the prosecco with gelatin by about half. Once the gelatin is dissolved fully, pour the white chocolate chips into the liquid and stir until combined. Take off heat and stir in the salt. Once everything is melted together, allow the mixture to chill down in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until soft, then fold in the heavy cream, stirring until everything is combined and velvety in texture. Transfer into a piping bag with a star tip.

For assembly:
1/4 of a peach, pitted and cut into medium dice
Remaining prosecco syrup

Toss the peach cubes in the prosecco syrup. Pipe the curd then the namelaka into the puffs. Then swirl the top with more namelaka and scoop out a small well in the cream with a spoon. Pipe into the hole the curd and garnish the top with a cube of peach and the caviar.

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