125g unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup strong bread flour
2-3 free-range eggs
1/4 cup skinless hazelnuts, finely chopped, plus extra 1/4 cup skinless, toasted, finely chopped, to sprinkle
11/2 cups thickened cream
2 Tbsp icing sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 red, black or blood plums, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp caster sugar
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 Tbsp water
Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional). Mark 1 piece of baking paper with 2 x 10cm circles and another with 1 x 10cm circle and put on 2 oven trays, marked-side down. Space circles so pastry does not touch while baking.
To make choux pastry, put butter, water and milk in a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat until melted and mixture is just starting to simmer. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring vigorously until fully incorporated. Return to low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Empty dough into a large heatproof bowl and smooth dough up sides of bowl (this allows dough to cool and extra moisture to evaporate).
Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk the remaining eggs in another small bowl, then add to the flour mixture, beating well with a wooden spoon. Gradually add a little of the reserved egg and beat until the mixture just falls from the spoon but still holds its shape. Put dough in a large piping bag, fitted with a closed star piping tip (see Cook’s tip).
Using circles on baking paper as a guide, pipe a ring of dough just inside lines. Pipe another ring inside first and a third on top, using the gap between the first 2 rings as a guide.
Use wet fingers to gently even out peaks or uneven patches. Sprinkle top of each ring with skinless chopped hazelnuts and put in oven.
Bake for 35-40 minutes (without opening the oven door, as the pastry will deflate if it’s opened too soon) until rings are an even golden brown all over. Turn off the oven and leave to dry out for 10-15 minutes before removing from oven. Immediately slice each ring through middle with a serrated knife. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For macerated plums, put plums, sugar, juice, zest and vanilla in a bowl and mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
For mascarpone cream, in a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream and icing sugar until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk mascarpone, honey and vanilla until smooth. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone until fully incorporated. Put in a large piping bag fitted with a closed star piping tip.
For spun sugar, line an oven tray with baking paper. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir to combine until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high and cook for 5 minutes, without stirring, or until sugar turns amber, brushing down pan with cold water if sugar crystals start to form. Remove from heat. Plunge pan base into a bowl of iced water for 5 seconds to stop spun sugar going darker. Set aside for 1 minute, or until it has cooled enough to run in a steady stream off a teaspoon, like honey, and doesn’t drip. Dip a fork in hot spun sugar and flick in a circular motion onto lined tray to make 3 round piles of spun sugar. Set aside until firm.
To assemble, pipe a generous amount of mascarpone cream into bottom half of each paris-brest, then sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts. Top with plums, then pastry top and finish with spun sugar piles. Serve.