I have been making Profiteroles ever since I was in fourth year high school, I find the complexity and temperament of the dessert alluring to make, such a challenge. I find the end results worth it too. They're pretty and pretty damn good. Wouldn't you agree?
The biggest challenge with this is the choux pastry. The what, now? I'm sorry, would you prefer its real name, pâte à choux? Anyway, it's this french pastry that's really light as it puffs up, almost making the middle hollow, perfect for filling it with custard or cream. Ready?
3/4 cup water
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate, broken to pieces
2 tsp butter
makes 16 (or more, depending on size)
For the pastry, in a medium sauce pan, bring the water and the butter to a boil. When the butter's melted, remove from the heat and stir in the flour quickly. Bring back to the heat and stir until the dough comes together, peeling away from the sides. Transfer to a bowl to cool and continue to beat to let the steam come out.
Add the eggs slowly, about 3-4 tbsp at a time and thoroughly incorporate it to the pastry. Your spoon or spatula should stand on its own in the pastry; this will take a little more elbow grease, so be patient.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon the mixture on the sheet, about 1 tbsp and 1 inch apart. Sprinkle water with your hands on the sheet before placing inside the oven, as this will help the pastry rise and puff up. Bake in a 210 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.
For the filling, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until it boils. Add the milk to the egg yolk mixture and stir. In another saucepan (or wash your previous one), bring the egg and milk mixture back on the heat, constantly stirring.
The filling will start to come together, forming a thick cream. When it fully coats the back of the spoon without dripping, transfer to a bowl and add the vanilla. Let the filling cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a crust forming on top.
Double boil the chocolate and butter. What is double boiling, you ask? Simply place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place in a large saucepan with water. As the water boils, carefully mix the chocolate until it becomes smooth. Don't fill the saucepan with too much water, but don't let the bowl touch the bottom of the pan either. Be careful not to let the water mix in with the chocolate when mixing.
When the choux pastry's baked, let it cool a bit so you can slice it in half just enough to put the filling. If you wouldn't like to cut it in half, you can poke a hole at the bottom of the pastry, but I always find this messy, so I opt to slice it. Place the filling and top the pastry with the chocolate.
I alternated in making them into circular pieces, and elongated ones, similar to an éclair, just for fun really. I suggest making them small and circle, so they can feed more, unless you're eating them all by yourself which is not sad, but just a tad greedy. Sharing is caring, you guys!
Eat them warm or cold, up to you. I would say to let them cool for the chocolate to set and stop being runny, but good luck getting these delicious bites to the fridge before your mouth does.
That was a long and tricky post, eh? I say take a whack at it. It's always fun creating something new in the kitchen, and help is always welcome. Baking together is a great way to bond and catch up. I remember making these back in high school and my friends and I ended with a chocolate fight, barely having enough chocolate to top the profiteroles with! What a mess that was, but it was well worth it. ;]