Chouxnuts 2: chocolate & cherry flavour

I made a savoury version of these deep-fried choux pastry doughnuts a while ago (here) but this time I felt like going down the sweet route. I always have jars of dried cherries, some macerating in Amaretto and some in other liqueurs, and there is always chocolate to be found around the kitchen(!!), so a chocolate-cherry version was called for.

The trick with these is to err on the side of smaller amounts of the choux pastry before frying: the choux pastry puffs up significantly around the cherry and chocolate filling. So less than a teaspoon of mixture is needed for each one. The effect is a light doughnut with a thin, crisp outer shell and soft interior, carrying a wonderfully gooey chocolate-cherry kick.

You can pipe some chocolate and cherry ganache into the the fried balls if you prefer but I don’t think these chouxnuts need it!

Chocolate & cherry chouxnuts (makes about 30)

  • 65ml water
  • 55ml full-fat milk
  • 50g butter, unsalted, cut into cubes
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 75g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
  • about 60g dark chocolate, in small chunks
  • a few dried cherries that have been soaked in rum, Amaretto or Kirsch for at least several days…
  • caster sugar for dusting

(1) Heat the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan gently until the butter is melted. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.

(2) Once the water has come to the boil add the flour and mix well until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Turn down the heat and keep beating for another minute or two. Remove from heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

(3) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. You can use a wooden spoon or a hand-mixer. The paste will look unsightly to begin (slippery and it might seem as if it will not come together) with but with beating it will become smooth. You can use it now or else cover with clingfilm and refrigerate – but use within 3 days. The mixture also freezes beautifully.

(4) Scoop out about half a teaspoon of the choux paste and push a cherry and a chunk of chocolate into it, before spooning over a little more of the choux pastry to seal them. These handle very easily but if you find it is too sticky, use floured hands. Place on greaseproof while you make up as many as you need.

(5) Place into hot oil heated to 180C for 7-8 minutes until very well puffed up and golden brown. You might need to turn them from time to time to check they cook evenly.

(6) Drain on kitchen paper and roll in caster sugar. Serve warm (not hot)

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