Half an hour drive away is the city of Den Bosch. Their regional speciality is Bossche Bollen, a choux filled with heavy whipped cream and coated with chocolate. They are also called ‘chocoladebollen’ (‘chocolate balls’) or, phonetically, sjekladebollen.
All throughout my teenage years, I rode horses at a pony club tucked away in the village where I lived, and they had a rule: if you fell off the pony, you had to treat everyone in your lesson the next week. The ‘default’ treat was a Bossche Bol (though very few people actually brought them, because they are expensive for a teenage budget — often it was just a bag of mixed candy). Many a time, in that split second between feeling you lost contact with the saddle and actually landing on the ground — in that moment of airtime — you’d hear people shout “Chocoladebollen!” in celebration of the treat they’d get next week! (Also to make it more lighthearted: you don’t want your pupils to fall and be afraid of horses afterwards!)
We got discount tickets for a workshop to make these, and yesterday was the day! We met up with babarage, gertvr and xaviar_nl, and after catching up for a bit, it was time for the workshop.
The whole room was filled, but we had the best seats in the house. A little downer was that we didn’t get to make the choux ourselves — it would take too long and the process is too finnicky. In fact, the baker told us that the four bakeries that make the real thing get their choux made together in a central bakery! So we would make the chocolate layer — on the way there, I had speculated with xaviar_nl whether the chocolate would be tempered or not, but it turned out that we were both wrong. It’s fondant: chocolate molten in sugar syrup, so it sticks well to the pastry and still has that shine. We mixed those together and dipped the choux into the chocolate, after which they were put in the cooler. (Normally you’d let them harden out for at least half a day at room temperature so they’d get that shiny gloss, but again, in the interest of time, they were put in the cooler.)
Melting the chocolate into the hot syrup.
Done! You present them with the chocolate side up, of course, but you eat them upside down, because otherwise every bite would force out the whipped cream down the underside, and that just makes a mess.
Everyone had two: one we ate there, and one to take home. They’re delicious, and I think we might make them at home every once in a while, for special occasions…