Anyone else watch MasterChef?? It’s one of my favorite shows and a recent episode inspired this undertaking: Profiteroles. One of the more tricky French pastries to make, profiteroles (also known as creme puffs) are made with a choux pastry, a creme patisserie filling, and dipped in a delicious and silky chocolate coating.
Though MasterChef made it difficult and had the contestants dip their profiteroles in three types of chocolate, I decided to make it easy: dark chocolate is always a winner!
Anyway, profiteroles. Choux pastry got its name because the little puffs looked like cabbage (choux means cabbage in French).
The puffs originated in the 13th century with a cheese filling, rather than anything sweet. But there’s also a legend that the infamous Catherine de Medici (any Reign fans?!), queen of France, had her cook making these sweet treats before anyone else.
Whatever the history, profiteroles (or creme puffs) are some of my favorite treats. Knowing how to make this pastry is extremely useful as well, as it’s used for many different treats, including eclairs, croquembouches, creme puffs, beignets, churros, Parisian gnocci, and more. Please let me know your favorite french pastry (or check out my last post on macarons)! And be prepared for LOTS more recipes using my new favorite dough!
Makes 24 profiteroles
1 cup water
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour
4 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously.
- Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan in a ball; this should take less than a minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time; it’ll look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.
- Add to a piping bag with whatever tip you prefer (some like to use a star tip, while others prefer a simple round tip) and pipe into small 1.5 inch circles. I liked my puffs to be a bit taller, so you can pipe them into an inch tall tower or just pipe them into a small circle for more of a circular look.
- Wet your finger with water, and then gently smooth the tips of the puffs so they don’t burn.
- Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until pastries are a medium golden brown. Don’t open the oven door while the pastries are baking.
- Remove the pastries from the oven. Poke a small hole in the bottom of each, and place them on a rack to cool.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Makes 3 cups
2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 vanilla bean (1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Place milk, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan, then scrape in vanilla seeds and add pod or vanilla extract or paste. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and granulated sugar in a medium bowl until very pale and light, about 3 minutes. Add cornstarch, whisking until no powdery dry spots remain. Whisking constantly, gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture. Transfer back to saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and holds whisk marks, about 2 minutes.
Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic, pressing directly onto surface; chill until cold, at least 2 hours.
Fit pastry bag with star tip. Transfer chilled pastry cream to bag. Working one at a time, poke a hole into the bottom of each puff with a paring knife. Gently pipe in pastry cream to fill. Puffs will begin to get soggy as soon as they are filled, so wait until just before serving to add pastry cream.
Do Ahead: Pastry cream can be made 3 days ahead. Transfer to pastry bag and chill.
Recipe from Bon Appetit
Makes 1 1/2 cups icing
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (or whatever chocolate you prefer)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat the cream in a saucepan over low heat until the cream is hot (just before boiling). When hot, pour the cream into a bowl of the chocolate and stir until smooth.
Wait to dip the puffs until the icing has cooled a bit.
Add any additional notes here.