Breakfast ring

A recent pastry class hosted by Martjie Malan, author of Baking Secrets, made me realise yet again how well choux pastry and Gruyère cheese go together. This giant cheese puff filled with breakfast ingredients is perfect for entertaining.

Serves 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Oven temperature: 200°C


• 100 g butter, cubed

• 250 ml water

• 150 g (270 ml) cake flour, sifted

• 5 large eggs

• 125 ml very finely grated Gruyère or aged Cheddar

• a pinch of cayenne pepper

• 10 ml chopped chives


• 125 ml fried onions

• 6 small cheese grillers, cut in half lengthwise

• 200 g cherry tomatoes, halved

• 6 eggs, boiled and halved

• 200 g Black Forest ham (or fried bacon)

• 250 g (1 tub) cream cheese

1 Make the dough Preheat the oven. Melt the butter with the water in a saucepan; bring to the boil then immediately remove from the heat. Add all the flour and beat the mixture briskly with a wooden spoon until smooth. Put the pan back on the stove and beat for another half a minute over very low heat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan, forming a ball. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

2 Add 4 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (use your mixer if you have one). Then add the last egg a little at a time until the dough is shiny and soft. Once there are enough eggs in the mixture, the dough should fall off a spoon easily. Beat in the chives and cayenne pepper and spoon into a piping bag without a tip.

3 Draw a 20 cm circle on a sheet of baking paper and place on a baking tray. Pipe the choux dough in rings inside the circle. Pipe or spoon any remaining dough into small round balls on a second tray. Using the back of a teaspoon and a little milk, smooth off the top of the ring; sprinkle a layer of cheese on top.

4 Bake the ring for about 45–50 minutes (if you put everything in the oven together, remember that the small puffs will cook in 20–25 minutes).

5 Remove the big ring from the oven when it is golden-brown and has risen, cut it in half and bake the two halves open for a few more minutes to ensure that they are crispy and cooked through.

Tip Place a casserole dish with water at the bottom of the oven – the extra steam helps the pastry to puff up nicely.

6 To assemble Place the lower half of the ring on a serving platter and add the fillings in layers. Place the other half on top and cut into slices. Serve hot or at room temperature. The little puffs can also be filled with cream cheese.

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April 2023

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