These little pastries look so impressive, but the cheat’s rough puff makes them light work. They are filled with an orange-spiced cream – perfect for the desserts’ table at a festive party.
Hands-on time: 1 hour, plus chilling
Baking time: 20 minutes
Skill level: Needs skill
For the cheat’s rough puff:
100g plain flour
100g strong white bread flour
pinch of salt
35g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small dice
80g unsalted butter, frozen and grated
1 egg, beaten
caster sugar, for sprinkling
For the filling:
150ml whole milk
35g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
15g unsalted butter
100ml double cream
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange
4 pieces of crystallised stem ginger, very finely chopped
100g dark chocolate, to decorate
You will need:
Baking tray lined with baking paper
6 cream horn moulds
Large piping bag fitted with a medium, open-star nozzle
Step 1 – For the rough puff, mix the flours and salt together in a bowl. Rub in the diced, chilled butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add just enough water – about 4 or 5 tablespoons – to bind the ingredients together and form a dough.
Step 2 – Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll out the dough into a long rectangle measuring about 25 x 10cm. Turn the pastry, if necessary, so that the short end is closest to you and scatter half of the frozen butter over the bottom two thirds of the dough.
Step 3 – Fold down the top third of the dough (so that it covers half of the frozen butter) and fold up the bottom third. Turn the dough through 90 degrees.
Step 4 – Roll the dough into a rectangle again, scatter the remaining butter over the bottom two thirds and fold as before. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill it for 20 minutes.
Step 5 – For the filling, pour the milk into a pan, bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 6 – Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together in a large bowl. Pour out a little of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well combined into a custard, then return the mixture to the pan.
Step 7 – Cook the custard over a gentle heat, stirring continuously, until it becomes thick and just comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and pass the custard through a sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the butter until melted and thoroughly combined. Cover the custard with cling film, then chill until set.
Step 8 – To make the cream horns, heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4.
Step 9 – Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle measuring about 60 x 15cm. Cut the pastry into 6 long strips, each 2cm wide. Starting at the pointed end of a cream horn mould, wrap a pastry strip around the mould in a spiral, with each line overlapping slightly. Place on the baking tray. Repeat to cover all 6 moulds. Brush all the pastry horns with beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Step 10 – Bake the horns in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crisp and the pastry has risen. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, carefully remove the moulds.
Step 11 – To finish the filling, whip the cream to soft peaks using a hand-held electric whisk. Whisk the set custard to loosen it slightly, then add the whipped cream, orange zest and chopped ginger. Mix to a thick, smooth piping consistency. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag fitted with the star nozzle. Set aside.
Step 12 – To decorate, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Pour the chocolate into a ramekin, then dip the wide end of each cream horn into it. Chill the dipped horns in the freezer for 10 minutes, until set.
Step 13 – Pipe the filling into the cream horns, then serve immediately.