1.Make strawberries & cream custard. Bring milk and sugar to the boil in medium saucepan. Meanwhile, combine cornflour and egg yolks in medium heatproof bowl, gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to pan, stir over heat until custard boils and thickens. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap; cool 20 minutes. Refrigerate 4 hours. Meanwhile, combine strawberries and icing sugar in small bowl. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour. Fold strawberry mixture, into custard.
2.Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan forced) .Grease oven trays.
3.To make choux pastry, combine the water, butter and sugar in medium saucepan, bring to the boil Add flour, beat with wooden spoon over heat until mixture comes away from base of pan. Transfer pastry to medium bowl, beat in eggs, one at a time, until pastry becomes glossy.
4.Spoon pastry into piping bag fitted with 1cm (½-inch) plain tube. Pipe 2cm (¾-inch) rounds onto trays.
5.Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced), bake 10 minutes. Cut small opening in base of each puff; bake further 10 minutes or until puffs are dry. Cool on trays.
6.Spoon custard into piping bag fitted with 5mm (¼-inch) plain tube; pipe through cuts into puffs.
7.Make toffee, then make chocolate fondue. To make toffee, Stir sugar and the water in small saucepan over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, boil, uncovered, without stirring, until golden brown.
8.To make chocolate fondue, bring cream to the boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate, stir until smooth.
9.To assemble croquembouche, carefully dip puffs, one at a time, into toffee, arrange 10 puffs on serving plate in ring shape. Fill centre of ring with more puffs. Continue dipping and stacking puffs to make a cone shape.
10.Working quickly, dip fork into remaining toffee and lightly drizzle toffee all over croquembouche. Serve croquembouche with chocolate fondue and sprinkle with rose petals, if you like.
You might have a few puffs left over; freeze them, unfilled. Valentine’s croquembouche Fit a large piping bag with a plain tube (or without a tube); three-quarters fill the bag with pastry mixture. Hold the bag upright, pipe the pastry into 2cm (¾ inch) rounds. Working quickly, use tongs or forks to dip the puffs one at a time into the toffee. The toffee is very hot and will conduct heat through metal, use heat resistant gloves or a cloth to protect your hands. After one puff is toffee- dipped, place it onto a serving plate, add enough toffee-dipped puffs to make a circle; fill in the circle with more puffs. Stack more dipped puffs, one at a time, to form a cone shape. Using two forks, dip the tines, up to about one- third of the length of the tines, into the remaining toffee. Quickly touch the tines of both forks together, then pull them apart to make fine strands of toffee over the puffs. Gateau st honore page 23 Grease and line an oven tray with baking paper. Place round of puff pastry on tray. Fit a large piping bag with a large plain piping tube, fill bag with choux pastry. Pipe around edge of puff pastry. Use remaining choux pastry to make puffs. Have crème patissiere at room temperature, spread or pipe crème patissiere evenly into baked pastry shape. Secure puffs to edge of pastry with a little toffee. Fill centre of the gateau with strawberries – or any fresh fruit, drizzle with melted white chocolate. Dip the tines of two forks into toffee, quickly touch the tines together, pull them apart quickly, several times to make spun toffee Lemon curd & blueberry mille feuille page 41 Whisk egg yolks and sugar in heatproof bowl over pan of simmering water until pale; whisk in rind and juice until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, gradually whisk in butter