Introduction: Mendl's Courtesan Au Chocolat

About: I'm a self taught polymer clay artist / sculptor making figurines, dolls and accessories. I sell my artworks in pop culture conventions and in my Etsy shop. I also make crafting and sculpting video tutorials…

After watching the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, I fell in love with Mendl's Courtesan Au Chocolat and wanted to recreate it. If you haven't watched it, watch it and see why it's so special. To me, it looks like something you would see at Mad Hatter's tea party. It's colorful, dainty and it looks like it's about to tip over.

This recipe makes about 14 pieces. You could halve the recipe if it's way too much. I would suggest that you make the cream puff and chocolate custard first then decorate the next day unless you want to spend your whole day in the kitchen.

This is a rich and decadent treat. It's something I would make for a very special occasion or anniversary. Anybody who would receive this would certainly feel the love.

Step 1: Ingredients

Chocolate Custard

  • 2 1/2 cups full cream milk
  • 80 dark chocolate bar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cream Puffs

  • 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs

White Chocolate Frosting

  • 375 grams white chocolate ( I used a pack of Nestle melts)
  • Food colour gel (red, green, purple) (I used blue since I can't find purple in my supermarket)

Butter Cream Frosting

  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Chocolate Covered Almonds

  • 14 pcs Almonds
  • Dark chocolate bar

Filligree Design

  • White chocolate writing icing tube

Step 2: Chocolate Custard (Filling)

  • Separate the whites and yolk from 5 eggs. For the custard we will only be using the yolks. Place them in a bowl and add the sugar. Whisk the mixture.
  • Sift the all purpose flour and cocoa powder and add that to the egg mixture and whisk until it is well combined.
  • In a saucepan, heat the milk and dark chocolate in moderate heat. When the chocolate is melted and bubbles appear on the edge of the pan, add this to the egg and flour mixture in a bowl and whisk. When it is mixed well, place it back to the saucepan in moderate heat mixing constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens.
  • When the custard has thickened, remove from the heat and add in the butter and vanilla extract and mix well. Then place the custard in a container and place a saran wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from developing. Then cool it in the refrigerator.

Step 3: Cream Puffs

  • For the cream puff, sift the flour and set it aside. In a sauce pan, boil a cup of water with butter and salt. Once it's boiling, add in the flour all at once and mix with a wooden spoon. When the mixture pulls from the sides of the pan and has formed into a ball, remove from the heat.
  • Add one egg at a time mixing the mixture until the egg is incorporated well before adding in another egg. After the fourth egg, you can see in the 4th image that it has become glossy and the consistency is similar to thick custard. Let this cool for 5 minutes.
  • On a parchment covered tray, pipe the mixture using a round tip to 3 sizes (large, medium, small). I just eyeballed mine from the largest one about golf ball sized and the smallest one approximately marble sized. I baked the large and medium ones in the same tray while the small puffs in another tray since they will come out of the oven sooner.
  • Bake them in a pre-heated oven 200 degrees celsius for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 160 degrees then let it cool in the oven to make sure they don't sink. For the small puffs, they will also bake for 200 degrees for 15 minutes but only 10 minutes for 160 degrees and you can remove them immediately from the oven.
  • Once removed from the oven, place them on a wire rack and make holes under the puffs using a small knife to make sure the moisture comes out.

Step 4: White Chocolate Frosting

  • When the puffs are cooled, pipe in the chocolate custard in the hole and set aside.
  • For the frosting, melt the white chocolate on a double boiler. Place them in 3 bowls and add food color for each. (red, green, blue) In the movie, the largest puff is purple but I can't find it in the supermarket so I used blue.
  • Dip the small puffs in red, the medium puffs in green and the large puffs in blue.

Step 5: Chocolate Covered Almonds and Butter Cream Frosting

  • Melt some dark chocolate on a double boiler then dip the almonds and let it set on parchment paper.
  • For the butter cream frosting, use a mixer and mix until the butter is light and fluffy then add the sifted powdered sugar a little at a time while mixing plus the milk. (Instead of using butter cream frosting, you can use whipped cream. I think whipped cream is better so that it isn't too sweet.) Take some butter cream frosting and color it blue. Since my frosting is yellow due to the butter , it turned out green.

Step 6: Assembling and Decorating

  • Instead of placing some butter cream frosting on top of each cream puff, I recommend that you use melted white chocolate to make the bond between each puff stronger because mine kept on slipping.
  • Using a white chocolate piping tube, make some filligree designs for each puff.
  • Add a collar of green dots in between cream puffs.
  • Use a star tip, pipe the butter cream frosting design along the base of the pastry.
  • Add some frosting to the top and place the chocolate covered almond.
  • Then, 13 more to go. ^_^

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