In the Netherlands we’re not really well known for our haute cuisine, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have good food. We have some amazing stews, soups, stamppots, seasonal dishes, seafood, sweets and snacks in our repertoire.
Brabant, which is a province in the south of The Netherlands, is pretty well known for their worstenbroodjes (sausage rolls) and their Bossche Bollen, they’re similar to chocolate eclairs, but round and bigger. Both not really that healthy, but super tasty. (FYI ‘Bossche’ is short for: ‘from Den Bosch’ a city in Brabant).
The Bossche Bollen turned out to be monsters. Tasty monsters, sure, but absolutely ridiculous in every way. The pastry expanded in all directions (so the shapes are all different and wobbly), but man oh man, the combination with the whipped cream and chocolate fondant… Absolutely delicious. I’m not sure if I’m ever making these again, way too dangerous. I’ll buy them next time when I’m in Den Bosch, like normal people do. But just in case you want to try then, here is the recipe!
Recipe from Rudolph’s Bakery.
Bossche Bollen (Chocolate Eclairs)
- 100 ml water
- 100 ml milk
- 100 g butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- 100 g all purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 90 g water
- 225 g sugar
- 190 g dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp cacao powder (optional)
- 500 ml whipped cream
- 3 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 210°C.
In a pan add the water, milk, butter and salt and bring to the boil.
Stir through the flour and cook it for 5 minutes (it's important to do it this long, this will make the pastry puff up better and be stronger).
Remove pan from the heat, and while whisking vigorously add 1 egg and mix through until it's all been absorbed (you need to keep whisking so the egg doesn't set due to the residual heat).
Repeat this with the other 3 eggs.
Add the mixture to a piping bag with a round nozzle (see notes) and divide 6-8 balls (depending on what size you want them) over a lined baking tray. Leave about 5-6 cm between them so the don't touch when expanding.
Bake the puffs for 25 minutes until golden and brown. Don't open the oven in between or they'll collapse!
After 25 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack, they need to be completely cooled before you fill with the cream.
Beat the cream until starting to thicken and then add the sugar spoon by spoon, making sure it has mixed through before adding the next spoon. Taste and add more if you prefer.
Beat until light and fluffy and firm peaks are forming.
Add the mixture to a piping bag with a small nozzle.
Make a small hole in the bottom of one of the eclairs and fill it slowly with the cream, they will puff up a bit.
Repeat with the rest.
The Fondant & Dipping
Add the water and sugar in a small saucepan and on medium heat keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat and stir through the chocolate pieces, they will melt pretty quickly.
Now comes the messy part, while the fondant is still warm and runny, use tongs or your hands to dip in the eclairs. First the sides, then the top. Then place them on a cooling rack to set.
If you feel that the fondant is setting a bit in the pan, reheat it for a few seconds to make it runnier again. Not too long!
Keep them in a cool and dry place to set.
When the chocolate is set they're ready to eat!
- For more perfectly round spheres the nozzle in the pastry piping bag need to be round. I used one with a jagged edge (because that's all I had), so they pastry came out a bit jagged as well. That doesn't influence the taste though, they're still devilishly good 😉
- Best eaten within 2 days and kept in a cool place. I placed them in the fridge so I could take them to work the next day. Although the pastry goes a little bit softer, they're still delicious!