For the choux pastry
Place the butter, milk and water in a pan on a low heat to melt and bring to the boil
Once boiling rapidly, add the flour and quickly beat until the mix forms a ball.
Continue to work the mixture over a low heat for a minute to remove excess steam
Add half of the beaten egg to the pan and incorporate with the wooden spoon until the mix is smooth
Add the other half of the egg except a little bit (for the egg wash) and mix until smooth but do not over mix. When you insert a finger into the mix and put your finger upright the point of the mix should just bend over. If the point stays upright then add a little more egg.
Pipe the mixture whilst still hot into a circle about 20-25 cm in diameter.
Pipe another circle outside the first one, then pipe another circle on top.
Sprinkle with almond flakes
Bake for about 15 mins at 200°C then lower the oven to 180°C and bake for a further 15 minutes or so until golden brown.
Slice the ring in half horizontally to let the steam escape. If the interior is still tacky, return to the oven for a few minutes to crisp it up.
Allow to cool
For the creme patisierre
Place the cream in a pan with the vanilla pod (scrape out the seeds and add as well)
Mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together
When the cream boils, add to the egg mixture whisking straight away
Quickly pour back into the pan and whisk over the full heat for 10 seconds. It is important that the mixture does not boil or the result is sweet vanilla scrambled eggs!
Pour the thickened mixture onto a flat tray, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to chill. It is important to chill quickly in this way to prevent bacteria, and the cling film prevents a skin from forming.
For the praline
Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan on a high heat to melt
Add the nuts and cook until the sugar has caramelised and turned a rich dark colour. Be careful not to over cook the caramel or it will become bitter.
Pour out onto a greased tray and allow to harden.
Break the praline up once set with a rolling pin then blitz in a food processor until a fine paste is formed.
Add the praline paste to the creme patisierre and whisk well together. You might not need all of the praline, add enough to your own personal taste. To make a lighter creme patisierre, a little whipped cream may also be added.
Pipe the creme generously into the bottom half of the ring and place on the top.
Dust with icing sugar.
Throw over the head of the nearest cyclist or simply enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey…
Variations can be made using coffee or pistachio flavoured creme patisierre.