Courtesan au Chocolat – Grand Budapest Hotel

The Film:

The Dish:

The Reason:

“From the far away land of Zubrowka there lived a legendary pâtissier: Herr Mendl. He created a pastry that would captivate Zubrowka’s people for generations. Upon his passing his will stated that the recipe was never to be revealed. This recipe came from a 1963 recipe left lying on the floor in the kitchen of the Grand Budapest Hotel.”

This is almost that famed dish. It requires persistence, cunning and grace to construct; fitting for the favoured treat of a concierge as legendary as Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) at an establishment as revered as The Grand Budapest Hotel in Nebelsbad. The chocolate centre of the profiteroles is as dark as the forces swirling outside the borders of the nation of  Zubrowka. The glaze is as sweet as the promise of young love between Agatha (the apprentice chef) and Zero (the lobby boy). The tottering visual effect is as endearing as the shared adventures of the troupe.  Be sure to share it with a dear friend. And tidy up after you’re done. A job worth doing is worth doing spotlessly.

The Way:

Courtesan au Chocolat

Makes approximately 10 Courtesan au Chocolats


Choux Pastry

150 g plain flour
250 ml water
100 g unsalted butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
pinch of salt

Chocolate Creme Patisserie Filling
40 g dark chocolate (70 % cocoa solids)
375 ml milk
3 egg yolks
1 egg
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp corn starch

Powdered sugar, milk and blue, pink and green food colouring

1/2 cup of pink buttercream or cream cheese frosting

10 coffee beans.


1) Preheat oven to 220C/450F.  To make the choux pastry batter combine the water and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted. Bring the emulsification up to the boil. Remove from the heat and quickly dump in all of the flour and salt. Return to the heat and stir until it comes together into a single ball of dough and no longer clings to the side of the pan. Take the pan off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool (spreading the mix out into a thin layer across the base of the pan will help cool it quicker).   Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well  before adding the next.

2) Line two baking trays with baking paper. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fixed with a 10-12 mm plain spout. You need three sizes of balls; one the size of a golf ball, one the size of a gumball and one the size of a hazelnut. Pipe the larger two onto one tray and the smallest on a separate tray. You should have enough batter to make ten of each size.

3) Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the smallest and prick the bottom to allow the steam to escape and leave on the bench. Turn the oven down to 180C/350 F and prick the bottoms of the remaining profiteroles. Turn upside down and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes until golden and dry.  Allow them to cool on a rack at room temperature.

4) To make the custard filling place the chocolate and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and warm until the chocolate has melted and the milk is simmering. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, egg, sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch/cornflour until you have a smooth slurry.

5) Pour some of the chocolate milk into the egg and sugar slurry and whisk to combine. This will help to temper the eggs and prevent them from scrambling when they come into contact with the warm milk. Pour everything into the saucepan and stir continuously over a medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir for 5-6 minutes until the mixture thickens.  Transfer to a wide bowl or tray and cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.

6) To assemble the courtesans transfer the chilled and thick chocolate creme patisserie into a piping bag. Insert the nozzle of the piping bag into the slits you made in the bottom of the choux buns and fill them. Set aside.

7) To make the glazes set out three bowls, each with 3/4  cup of powdered sugar/ icing sugar in them. Add half a drop of the colouring to each bowl (you can always add more colouring, but you can’t take it away. You want very subtle pastel shades). Add a drop of milk and whisk until you have a smooth glaze. If it is too tight, add another drop of milk.

8) Dunk the large balls in the lavender glaze, the medium in the mint green and the small in the pink. Set aside so the glazes can set.

9) Clean the piping bag and fit with a fluted nozzle. Fill with the pink buttercream or cream cheese frosting. Pipe a circle on the top of the lavender balls. Attach the green balls. Pipe another circle on the top of the green balls and attach the pink.  Pipe one more circle and affix a coffee bean to the top of each. Place on a doily. Admire. Eat.


{ 1 Comment }
  1. Ah-may-zing! Spellbound and salivating! What a tribute to a film I loved.

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