profiteroles

mainpictureStrange admission: Between the ages of approximately 6 and 22, I didn't like cake. At all. Refused to eat it. Even passed on my own birthday cake on several occasions. And so, when time came for my 21st birthday my mother sat me down and looked me squarely in the eye. "Are we" she said firmly "or are we not, having cake?" And I thought "Not" because I didn't want to have one that I wouldn't eat. But then, oh! My 21st. And the candles! And the singing! So, "yes, I guess". And right about now you are wondering what this all has to do with profiteroles. Well I ended up having a croquembouche, you see, in lieu of cake. And it was delicious. And fantastic. And oh-so-different (which was oh-so-me).

I have long since wanted to make one of my own, but am still fighting my fear of hot sugar. A fear that has not-at-all been aided by the sight of Julie & Poh's multiply-bandaged fingers on Masterchef and the news that "if you wipe the hot sugar off your fingers, the skin will come with it". Hmm.

I have, however, become quite adept at churning out the chocolate-covered variety, and made these for the Bean's 21st as well as a bake-sale some weeks later. Now I'll admit, it is a bit of work. But the looks of appreciation that follow when someone bites into that lovely soft chocolate followed by fluffy, crisp (but not biscuitty) choux and then (oh! and then!) into that gooey, vanilla flecked creme patisserie... Well you'll know what I'm talking about if you try it. Yes?


chocolate topped profiteroles

ingredients for the choux pastry:

60g butter
180ml (3/4C) water
105g (3/4C) plain flour

3 eggs

ingredients for the creme patissiere:

300ml thickened cream
250ml milk
110g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean (I used 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
90g butter, chopped

ingredients for the chocolate top:

200g dark chocolate
3tbsp vegetable oil

ingredients for profiteroles
ingredients for the choux pastry

method:

1. We're going to start with the creme patissiere. To do this, we're going to follow steps 12 through to 15 on this recipe for a roasted nectarine tart. It's not hard at all. Promise.

2. Let your creme patissiere cool while you make the choux pastry. Best way to do this is to stick a piece of glad wrap over the top of the pot (touching the surface of the creme patissiere) before sticking the lot in a bowl of iced water and then the fridge. Doing this means you won't get that horrible skin-like layer on the top when you go to use it later.

butter and water
melt the butter in the water

3. Next up, the choux puffs. Start by flinging your cubed butter into a little saucepan with some water. Leave it be until the butter is all melted and you have a yellowy slick on the top of some hot, cloudy water. Tasty no? (Err.. at this stage? No.)

add flour to butter and water
add flour and cook it down

4. Toss your flour in and beat with a wooden spoon like one possessed. You want to keep going until the mix has come away from the sides of the pot in a ball and is looking uniform in colour and texture.

beat in the eggs
beat in the eggs

5. Next up, toss it all into an electric mixer (or you can use a whisk - I lost mine so I used the mixer) with the three eggs and whisk away until it is lovely and uniform and glossy. (Don't worry if it looks a little separate to start with. Keep beating and it will come together eventually.)

6. Here is where I'd line and lightly grease a couple of baking trays. You could be organised and do it beforehand, but I am not so great at that bit. Now pre-heat your oven to 200C.

pipe out the choux
pipe out the choux

7. Spoon your glossy, yellow, uniform pastry into a piping bag and pipe out lovely dollops of choux onto you sheet. You want them to be about 5cm in diameter. Leave some room between them too. They will be quite stiff, so if you can't quite pull the piping bag away, use a wet finger to "cut off" the flow. You should have about 30 puffs.

8. Toss them in the oven for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to 180C. Bake for an additional 15 minutes and then remove from the oven. They should be lovely and golden and puffed up.

baked choux puffs
baked choux puffs

9. Let them cool to a touch-able heat and then lift them from the paper before leaving them to cool completely. It's important you do this, lest they stick. And if they do stick, and are still hot, sprinkle some water under the paper and leave them in the still-warm oven for a couple of minutes. They'll lift right off after that.

10. Poke a hole in the bottom of each puff and use a piping bag to fill them up with your creme patissiere. (This step was messy, and also fiddly, so no photos. Sorry.)

coat in chocolate
coat in chocolate

11. Now melt your chocolate and stir in the oil. It will be lovely and glossy. Spoon it over the puffs with a spoon (duh) and leave it to set. If the chocolate starts to stiffen, reheat slightly and keep going. If you let the chocolate wait too long, it won't set with that lovely smooth glazed look you see on the profiteroles in the cake shops. And don't worry, it will set.

[And yes, that is a Michel's Patisserie box in the background. I didn't have anything else to transport the profiteroles in. And oh, you will make about 30 of them with this recipe. I say about 30 because there is a high chance you will eat a couple without even knowing it and not know exactly how many you made...]

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10 bites more:

Stephcookie said...

Your choux pastry looks so light and fluffy! This post (and masterchef last night) is making me crave profiteroles even though they usually aren't my thing! Do you still not like cake or have you changed your mind? :)

billy@atablefortwo said...

but you didn't spun sugar all around it!!!! Thanks for the recipe, can't wait to try it myself... :P

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Yum, they look beautifully golden and puffed! The vanilla filling sounds lovely too.

Forager said...

I think that Masterchef episode might have led to a profiterole explosion across Australia! Yours look delicious and I'm inspired to make some for the boy. He loves profiteroles :)

Ellie said...

Your profiteroles look so good! Honestly, better than those shown on masterchef ;-) Thanks for sharing the recipe, can't wait to try it this weekend.

FFichiban said...

You should have been a guest along with Zoomba :P Mannn you are not helping with the craving hee hee yummm XD

Betty said...

i love the burst of custard that oozes out of profiteroles! these look so cute! can't believe you never liked cake. weird.

shez said...

stephcookie: I've definitely changed my mind. Fantastic choice by the tastebuds (though rumor has it my hips aren't so happy about it)...

billy: Oh I've been dreaming of spinning sugar - and in dreams none of my fingers get burnt. Maybe one day I'll work up the courage!

Arwen: Thank you!

Forager: It's worth the effort on a quiet weekend. They're just so tasty when you make them fresh with good ingredients.

Ellie: Thank you! Hope you enjoy them. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

FFichiban: Oh you! I'm craving them myself now. New batch this weekend I think!

Betty: It is a bit, isn't it. I did for a while then out of nowhere, I just didn't. Glad I'm over that phase :)

Y said...

Uh weird. But okay, what happened after 22? :)
(Profiteroles look great by the way!)

shez said...

Y: Oh. After 22 I discovered cake again :) And thankyou!

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