Ugly choux buns with cream and poached pears

These ugly choux buns filled with diplomat cream and poached pears are here to impress, and are deceptively easy to create.








Choux paste

  • 60g Westgold butter, sliced (206168192872)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5g sugar
  • 120ml water
  • 120g strong flour, sieved
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Crumble topping

  • 900g Westgold butter (206168192872)
  • 110g sugar
  • 110g soft flour
  • Pinch of salt

Vanilla diplomat cream

  • 400ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
  • 80g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 20g flour 
  • 15g cornflour 
  • 2 gelatine sheets, soaked in cold water, drained
  • 200g Westgold cream, lightly whipped (210270

Poached pears

  • 5 pears, peel, halved, cored
  • 500g sugar
  • 450ml water
  • 50ml white wine
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ lemon, juice & peel zest


Choux paste

  1. Melt butter, salt, and sugar in the water, bringing it to a rapid boil.
  2. Immediately remove from heat and beat in flour all at once.
  3. Return to heat and cook out panada until it comes away from sides of pot to form a ball.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before slowly beating in the eggs a little at a time making sure to mix well. Reduce the amount of egg added as the mixture gets close to the correct consistency to avoid adding too much and making the mix too soft. 
  5. The mixture should be smooth, glossy and correct piping consistency i.e. very slow dropping consistency off a wooden spoon.
  6. Pipe into bulbs for choux buns topping with a disc of crumble and bake at 200°C until cooked rich golden brown (approx. 20mins), lower to 175°C to dry out.
  7. Cool slightly and pierce a small hole into the bottom of each bun to release steam and assist drying out.
  8. When ready to serve, cut in half and fill.

Crumble topping

  1. Rub butter into whisked dry ingredients to form a paste.
  2. Roll out to 3mm thickness between greaseproof paper and place in fridge to firm up.
  3. Use plain pastry cutter (6cm) to cut out discs.
  4. Place on choux paste.

Vanilla diplomat cream

  1. Bring milk and vanilla pod/seeds to boil.
  2. Lightly whisk sugar and yolks until pale, add flour and mix until smooth.
  3. Strain the milk into the egg mixture, whisk well then return to the heat.
  4. Bring back to boiling point whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  5. Turn heat down to simmer and cook out (until can’t taste uncooked flour), stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat. Add gelatine whisking to dissolve it.
  7. Pour into bowl and cover directly with clingfilm, pressing clingfilm onto surface of custard, to prevent a skin forming.
  8. When cool, whisk custard, temper in a little cream to soften the mix, then fold in remaining cream.

Poached pears

  1. Boil sugar, white wine, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, lemon juice and zest for poaching syrup and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse.
  2. Add pear, cover with cartouche (with hole in middle) making sure pears are submerged.
  3. Simmer until cooked, depending on pear ripeness until they are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and leave to cool in syrup.


Pipe or spoon diplomat cream into base of choux bun, add half poached pear, add another small amount of diplomat cream, add lid and lightly dust with icing sugar.