Profiteroles look so tricky, don’t they?
Not to eat, of course – as digesting goes, they probably couldn’t be easier – but to create with your own fair hands.
Not only must you make your own Pastry, but then you have to fill it with Cream and smear it with Sauce to boot.
Better to buy them from the supermaket, right?
As it happens, they’re one of the easiest pastry-based treats you can make. You just need the right instructions – and, thanks to a book I got last week, I’m delighted to say I have them.
The recipe came from a nifty new publication called A Little Course in Baking, which breaks down various bakeables into pretty easy steps.
Today, I am delighted – and excited – to report that the good people of Dorling Kindersley have allowed me to share this wisdom with all of you Ogglers too (thanks, DK)!
So. All you need to get in on the action is an oven, a saucepan, a piping bag and a few fairly basic ingredients.
Within 45 minutes you’ll have a trayful of beautiful-smelling, professional-standard Choux Pastry Balls, to fill with whatever your heart desires.
Double Cream doesn’t do it for you? Then cram them with Crème Pâtissière instead.
Be sure to experiment with toppings too, if you fancy it.
With just the one batch, the Man and I made Chocolate Sauce from scratch, used dollops of Salt Caramel, and, for a particularly lazy option, squeezed out the Sauce we had left from our Stay-at-Home Ice Cream Parlour.
Next time I might even try the next recipe in the book: a version with booze and Chocolate Orange.
Ach – who am I kidding? There’s really no ‘might’ about it…
Easy Peasy Profiteroles (makes approximately 30)
For Cream-filled Profiteroles:
- 60g (2 oz) plain flour
- 50g (1 ¾ oz) unsalted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 300ml (10 ½ fl oz) double cream
For (optional, yet delicious) Chocolate Sauce:
- 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) double cream
- 200g (7 oz) dark chocolate (good-quality, if you can afford it), broken into pieces
- 25g (scant 1 oz) butter
- 2tbsp golden syrup
You will also need a piping bag, as well as a 1cm plain nozzle and a 5mm star nozzle
For the Profiteroles:
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (gas mark 7). Line two baking trays with baking parchment. Sieve the flour into a bowl, then over a low heat, melt the butter and 150ml (5fl oz) of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from heat, and ‘shoot’ in the flour all at once [NB: to ‘shoot’ the flour, transfer to a sheet of parchment after sifting into the bowl, then tip it into the saucepan all in one go]
- Beat the mixture together with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and forms a ball. Then leave it to cool for about 10 minutes. Careful: don’t be impatient and go on to the next step before the dough has had time to cool or you will start to cook the eggs instead of incorporating them…
- Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition until the eggs are fully incorporated. The more you beat the mixture, the more you develop the gluten and the more air you will get into it, helping the dough to puff up
- Continue to beat until you end up with a very smooth and shiny dough. Use a wooden spoon so you don’t cut into the mixture, as this would break up the developing gluten and result in the profiteroles not setting or rising well
- Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with the plain nozzle [ACE TIP: if you find this part difficult, place the piping bag in a jug or tall glass to make it easier to fill]. Pipe small rounds (roughly an inch across and half an inch tall), set well apart, onto the sheets. Flatten the tops by pressing down lightly with a dampened finger. Bake for 20 minutes until well risen – and don’t be tempted to open the oven too early or the buns may deflate. While waiting, wash out and dry your piping bag in preparation for the filling…
- Remove the choux buns from the oven, then make a slit of roughly one inch in the side of each one, allowing the steam to escape [warning: you may get hot fingers]. Work as quickly as you can. If you don’t, the steam will make them soggy. Return them to the oven and bake for another two minutes until golden brown and firm. Cool on a wire rack. If planning to serve with homemade sauce, start preparing this now
- Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. It’s ready if it holds its shape when the beaters are removed. Spoon the cream into the piping bag with the star nozzle
- Squeeze the cream into the centre of the choux, making sure you don’t overfill the buns (but don’t underfill them either). Widening the existing slits with a sharp knife will make this process easier
- Serve with whatever sauce you fancy and dig in…
For Chocolate Sauce:
- Place cream, chocolate, butter and syrup into a saucepan and heat over a low heat until melted and smooth. Stir frequently to speed up the melting process
- When ready, spoon it over the profiteroles
WARNING: these Profiteroles are exceedingly addictive, so if you think you might want to prolong their destruction, you can freeze them, pre-filled, in an airtight container. Then whenever you’re ready for more, leave them out to defrost and continue from Step 7.
Alternatively, you can keep them, post-filling, sealed tightly in your fridge. They’ll lost their crispness but stay gosh-darn tasty. Just make sure you eat them while the cream stays fresh…
Recipe taken and lightly adapted from ‘A Little Course in Baking’, published with prior permission from Dorling Kindersley, January 2013