Chef Tolu Eros’ purpose didn’t have to come calling — he let it marinate. For the past two decades the Nigerian culinary giant has been sharing his gift by creating exquisite pastries, desserts, and meals for customers around the globe. Affectionately known as “The Billionaire’s Chef” for his exclusive clientele, Eros is an acclaimed private chef and the owner of two restaurants, ILE Eros in Lagos Nigeria and ILE LA in Los Angeles, both boast his signature Nigerian fare with a modern twist.

"Holiday is a time to give thanks, acknowledging the growth and progress we’ve made over the years."

-Chef Tolu Eros

EBONY collaborated with Chef Eros during a recent episode of Beautiful Black Homes, featuring Jidenna, and the culinary artist created a custom Nigerian menu for a Friendsgiving gathering with a special treat: Nigerian puff puff and lemongrass cake infused with M&M’S®. “Lemongrass used to grow wildly in our backyard, and I’ve used lemongrass for many years to make teas, antibody beverages, and best of all cake. So, we took that lemongrass, made a syrup, infused it into the cake and added chocolate M&M’S®,” he says. “Then I made a Puff Puff Tower, which is a traditional street food that has been served in Nigeria for many years. For the event, we converted it into a croquembouche using the puff puff as the pastry, caramel, and little bits of M&M’S® for a celebratory finish.

“Holiday is a time for my family, friends, and loved ones to come together and celebrate the entire year. It’s also a time to give thanks, acknowledging the growth and progress we’ve made over the years. At my dining table, we typically share our holiday stories, and what we’ve gone through in our year and what we’re thankful for,” he adds.

One thing is certain, if you’re hosting a Friendsgiving this holiday season your guests will be thankful that you followed Chef Eros’ recipes.

Lemongrass Cake 

For Cake: 
1 1/3 cups peanut oil (320g)
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk (350g)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (3g)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (70g)
1/4 cup lemongrass syrup (80g)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate M&M’S® Milk Chocolate Candies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Whisk together the wet ingredients, then add in the dry and mix until texture is consistent.
Turn the batter into a greased and parchment-lined 9-inch springform pan.
Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until the cake is golden brown and domed in the center. 
Let the cake cool for one hour in the pan, then transfer to a platter and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.
Custard Cream 
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 plump, moist vanilla beans, cut lengthwise and with the pulp scraped out
6 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 cup whipped cream. 
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring milk, cream, and vanilla beans to boil. 
Whisk eggs with sugar  
Once milk starts to boil, gradually add it to eggs whisking as you go along. 
Return mixture to the stove over low heat stirring continuously until custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  
Let cool completely then fold in whipped cream, reserving some custard cream for serving. 
Spread custard cream over cake and decorate with M&M’S® Milk Chocolate Candies. Serve with some crushed M&M’S® Milk Chocolate Candies and any leftover custard. 

Puff Puff Tower:

750g flour 

350g sugar 

3 tsp yeast 

1/2 tsp nutmeg 

1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1/4 tsp salt 

Lukewarm Water

In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and whisk in water to form a thick liquid batter

Cover with foil or cling film, place in a warm dark and let rise for an hour. 

In a deep saucepan filled with oil over high heat, drop puff puff dough using a small ice cream scoop. Fry on both sides flipping once brown. 

Drain on a tray lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. 

For Caramel: 

3 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir and wash down any sugar crystals stuck on the sides of the pot with your fingers.

Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the caramel is light golden brown in color. Do not stir the mixture as this can cause the sugar to crystalize.

Assemble the Cone Structure:

Using aluminum foil, form a cone shaped tower.  The cone should be 18 inches high with a 6-inch base. 

Remove the caramel from the heat, then carefully dip the tops of each puff puff into the caramel and place on the side of the cone starting at the bottom. Repeat and continue to build around each layer before moving upwards. You can also do this using toothpicks. 

Drizzle tower with caramel and stick on M&M’S® Milk Chocolate Candies.

Finish with dusting of powdered sugar.

Find out more about Beautiful Black Homes.

Learn more about other holiday recipes with M&M’S®.