Choux pastry is fairly quick and easy, and leaves you with lovely puffed up hollow shapes for filling with tasty stuff. A quick poll of my French colleagues at work taught me that the traditional filling for profiteroles is ice cream (with hot choc sauce on top). I’d heard of this before but didn’t realise it was the ‘proper’ filling. Not wishing to disappear off into the kitchen to do last minute ice cream filling after the main course when Eris and Iain were here, I decided to opt for a crème patissiere filling instead which can be made in advance. It’s a good carrier for other flavours too, and this time I made this batch with 2tbsp strong coffee.
5 egg yolks
80g sifted plain flour
knob of butter
Extra flavourings can be included once cooked for example vanilla, coffee essence, liqueurs, lemon, orange etc etc
Bring the milk to the boil in a pan. Beat the sugar and yolks for 2-3mins until pale and slightly thickened. Beat in the flour, and then pour on the milk gradually to incorporate it. Return to a clean pan and bring to the boil, whisking constantly for a few minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, beat in the butter and transfer to a clean bowl. Allow to cool with the surface in contact with a sheet of cling film to prevent a skin forming.
This mixture will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Choux pastry (serves 5-6 generously):
100g Plain flour
200g dark chocolate
250ml double cream
Heat the water, salt and butter in a pan until butter is melted. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Immediately beat in the flour until the mixture is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool for a few minutes then gradually beat in the eggs bit by bit. The mixture should remain stiff enough to hold its shape when piped onto a baking sheet so you might not need absolutely all the egg.
Run the greased baking trays briefly under the tap so that they have small drips of water on them – the steam helps the pastry to crisp up in the oven. Spoon the dough into a piping bag and pipe into blobs for profiteroles (about the size of a walnut), or sausage shapes for éclairs. Leave plenty of space between them for expansion. Bake at 200 for 10 minutes and then turn up the temperature to 220 for another 15 minutes or so, until the profiteroles are crisp and golden brown. Slit them open whilst still hot in order to let the steam out otherwise they’ll go soggy as they cool.
Just before serving fill the profiteroles with crème patissiere and make the chocolate sauce: Heat the cream until it reaches boiling point and pour it over the chocolate broken into small pieces in a bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes while the profiteroles are being filled. Whisk the chocolate and cream vigorously until smooth and glossy. Arrange the filled profiteroles on a serving dish and cover with warm chocolate sauce. Serve immediately!