For Pastry Base: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sift flour onto a board or into a medium bowl. Make a well in the center. Add butter and egg to well and mix them together. Mix sugar into butter and eggs. Combine with the flour, adding water as needed. Allow pastry to stand for 30 minutes before rolling. Roll into a 10-nch round. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover with a round of greased parchment paper and weigh pastry down with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes, then remove paper and weights. Bake 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool. For Choux Pastry: Bring water and butter to a boil in a saucepan. Add sifted flour to pan, all at once,and beat hard until mixture is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan. Turn out onto a plate to cool.
When cool, place the pastry in a medium bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating hard in between each addition. Add the salt.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the pastry into a piping bag with a large nozzle and pipe small nut shapes onto a greased, floured baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep pastry in oven for 20 more minutes to dry out the centers. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Pastry Cream: In medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, slowly bring milk and vanilla bean to a boil. Discard the bean.
In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolk until pale and thickened. Beat in flour. Add a little of the boiling milk to the egg mixture, and then pour all this back into the pot of milk. Bring back to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Flavor with vanilla extract and let cool. Filling: Whip cream and sugar until stiff. Place bowl in freezer for 20 minutes. Toffee: Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until it reaches 280 degrees F. Keep warm. To assemble: Place pastry cream into a piping bag with a thin, pointed nozzle. Fill each choux with pastry cream. Place a layer of choux in a circle around the edge of the pastry base and drizzle a thin coating of hot toffee on them. Layer a second round of choux over the first, like build a wall, securing with more toffee. Continue in this fashion until all the filled pastries are used. Fill the center of the "wall" with whipped cream and garnish the top with candied fruit and chocolate curls.
Available at a candy supply store
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