Tiramisu and choux buns: two festive twists on a classic dessert – recipe

A mountain of choux buns smothered in chocolate sauce and pistachio spread, topped with a festive panettone tiramisu, from baking guru Big Mamma

two stunning Christmas desserts. The first is the spectacular choco-pistachio choux buns: three per head makes for a generous portion, and, if you have more guests, make more buns and build a taller tower. The second is to enjoy Big Mamma's exuberant signature tiramisu, and is a great way to use leftovers or old panettone (or to add a fruity, spiced twist to a traditional classic). Bear in mind, too, that I always measure liquid for baking – it's much more accurate – so I suggest you do the same.

All I want for Christmas is choux (top image)

  • Preparation 20 min
  • Cook 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Serves 4 (and easy to upgrade)
  • For the choux (makes 12 patties)
  • 60g whole milk
  • 60g water
  • 3 grams of sugar
  • A little fine salt
  • 50 gr unsalted butter, cut into small squares
  • 60g all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, beat briefly

For the pudding filling

  • 70g whole milk
  • 70g of double cream
  • ¼ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 2 yolks
  • 20g sugar
  • 10g cornstarch
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 120g cold whipped cream

For the chocolate sauce

  • 80g of water
  • 120g sugar
  • 40g of good cocoa powder – for example, Green & Black's or another sugar free version
  • A little fine salt
  • For the pistachio spread
  • 100 grams of white chocolate
  • ⅓ tsp vegetable oil
  • 60g pistachio paste – we like Pariani or Anthap

Preheat oven to 190C (fan 170C)/375F/gas 5. For the choux, place the milk, water, sugar, salt, and diced butter in a medium saucepan, and heat gently until the butter melts (should be before the mixture starts to boil). When the butter has melted, bring to a gentle boil, then remove from heat, add all the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to slide away from the sides of the pan.

If you have a stand mixer, place the dough in the bowl and, with the flat beater, start mixing. Add the beaten eggs little by little, and continue to beat until glossy and smooth. If you don't have a stand mixer, place the mixture in a bowl and add the eggs little by little with a spatula. Once the dough is ready, put it in a piping bag.

Line a large oven tray (or tray) with a sheet of parchment paper. Cut 1cm from the end of the piping bag, then, one at a time, pipe the choux dough onto the trays, leaving 3cm between each tray, so it has room to rise in the oven. Lower oven heat to 185C (165C fan)/360F/gas 4½, place in tray and bake for about 20 minutes. Turn the oven down again, this time to 170C (150C fan)/340F/gas 3½, open the door slightly, to allow steam to escape, and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the choux buns and allow them to cool.

Now for the pudding. Gently heat the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan. Meanwhile, mix egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. When the milk mixture boils, remove the vanilla pod, then pour half the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture and stir until smooth. Add this to the remaining milk in the pan, cook, stirring, over low heat until just simmering, then take the heat off. Whisk in the diced butter, until combined (alternatively, mash it to make a more homogeneous custard), set aside to cool, then refrigerate.

When the pudding has cooled, stir it with a whisk, just to soften it a bit. In a bowl, beat the chilled whipping cream to the texture of shaving cream, then fold it into the custard and transfer to a second piping bag.

Now make the chocolate sauce. In a saucepan, make the syrup with the water and sugar and, once the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is boiling, stir in the cocoa powder and salt (or blitz in a blender) and leave on one side to cool (if you like, strain the sauce through a sieve).

Finally, make the pistachio spread. Melt the white chocolate gently in a bain-marie or microwave (take care not to burn it), stir in the oil and pistachio paste, and allow it to cool.

To assemble the pudding, carefully pierce the flat side of each choux bun with a small knife. One at a time, add the custard cream - the filling should pop up a bit, which will help when you stack the buns.

Arrange the filled choux buns on a platter in the shape of a tall, beautiful tower, mountain or pile, and bring them to the table. At the last moment, pour the cooled chocolate sauce over the top, drizzle over the pistachio spread and serve.


Collect this the day before you want to serve it.

  • Preparation 10 min
  • Install 20 min
  • Chill Overnight
  • Serving 4

For the Tiramisu Cream

  • 170g whipped cream
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 50 grams of caster sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks (63g)

For coffee

  • 270g of freshly brewed coffee, as strong as you like
  • 80g of water
  • 40g marshmallows
  • For base
  • 3 good slices of panettone
  • Cocoa powder, or chocolate chips, for finishing

In a bowl (a cold one, ideally, as it will help increase the volume of the cream), use an electric mixer to combine all the ingredients for the tiramisu cream, until the mixture looks like shaving cream; it should be shiny and slightly away from the sides of the bowl. Don't over-mix, or it will taste like butter.

Dilute the warm coffee with water, stir in the marsala and set aside to cool. If the panettone is old and very dry, make the tiramisu while the coffee is still warm; if it's fresh, make it with cold coffee mix.

Place a piece of panettone in the bottom of a deep serving dish (a rectangular gratin plate or similar would be ideal) and brush over with the weak coffee, to marinate. Top with a layer of Tiramisu cream, then repeat the operation a second time; if your dish is deep enough, add a third layer each of panettone and cream. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, sprinkle with cocoa powder or sprinkle it over the chocolate chips, and serve.

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