Additional kitchen equipment
For the pastry cream
1/2 l milk
1/2 vanilla pod
2 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
For the meringue
125g egg white
2 doyenné pears
50g clarified butter
50g caster sugar
puff pastry (the number of sheets used depends on the size of the larger pastry cutter)
1 egg, beaten
Additional kitchen equipment
food processor with a whisk
round pastry cutter (6 to 7cm diameter)
round pastry cutter (+/- 2cm diameter)
two baking trays
Bring the milk to the boil, together with the butter and half the vanilla pod. Add the 2 whole eggs and the 2 egg yolks to a food processor mixing bowl, together with the sugar and the cornflour, and whisk until you get a smooth pale paste (ruban). Now pour the boiling milk, to which you had added the butter and the vanilla pod, onto the ruban while you keep stirring.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and leave on a medium heat to thicken into a pastry cream. Pour the cream into a dish and immediately cover with a piece of cling film. Leave the preparation to cool and firm in the fridge.
Using the larger of the two pastry cutters cut circles out of the puff pastry. You need 8 circles for 4 people. With the small pastry cutter, cut out a circle in the middle of every large circle (dough-nut shape). Brush all the circles with the beaten egg. Stack the larger ones on top of each other, two by two. Put the pastry circles (large and small) on a lined baking tray and put another piece of baking parchment on top. Put a second baking tray on top of the first but leave some room (2 to 3cm) allowing for the pastry to rise during baking. Put the puff pastry circles in an oven at 180C for 12 minutes.
Peel the apple and scoop out small balls using a melon baller. Melt a lump of clarified butter and shallow-fry the apple balls, sprinkle with 50g caster sugar and leave to caramelise gently. Tip the caramelised apple balls into a lined dish and leave to cool.
Peel, quarter and core the pears and cut into very thin slices. Pour the champagne in a bowl, put in the slices of pear and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
Bring the water, together with the sugar for the meringue, to the boil at a precise 118C. Check this with the sugar thermometer. Check to see whether the food processor mixing bowl and whisk were cleaned thoroughly after the previous use, with not a single trace of grease left. Then whisk the egg whites in the food processor mixing bowl at high speed. When the whites are whisked half-way, trickle in the sugar that has been boiling at 118C. Continue whisking until the sugar syrup is completely absorbed and the mixture has cooled to room temperature.
Give the pastry cream a good stir and combine with the champagne and half of the meringue. This mixture is called a chiboust cream. Transfer the cream into a piping bag.
Put a large circle of puff pastry on a plate and garnish with a caramelised apple ball and some chiboust cream alternately. Carefully place a second large circle on top of the apple and cream layer and garnish with a slice of marinated pear and some meringue alternately. Crown the dish with the smaller circle of puff pastry. Feel fry to brown the meringue with a kitchen torch.