Last weekend I made profiteroles for the first time in ages. I’d forgotten how quick they are to make. Eclairs, that are also made from choux pastry, mean ‘flash of lightning’ in French. Of course they are not lightning fast to make, but are a great deal quicker and easier than some other pastries.
Anyone who has every made choux pastry will be surprised to know that profiteroles often appear in cookbooks aimed at children. Yes I suppose they are quick easy to shape, but the elbow grease that goes in to them is anything but child’s play. It involves a lot of beating to get the pastry to the right consistency. You can apparently make choux pastry in a food processor but it is not something I’ve tried.
The wonderful thing about choux pastry is that can be piped in to may shapes; be it hearts, swans and even bikes if that’s your thing. If it can be piped, it can be baked but just remember the dough puffs up in the oven.
Judging by the last few blogposts you’d think I have a weakness for chocolate. I don’t, I just like playing around with it. The first batch of these were topped with a sweet chocolate sauce, but I’ve come to the conclusion that they are best with just pure, molten chocolate drizzled over them. Even better if the chocolate is allowed to set giving the profiteroles a bit of bite.
You can fill them with whipped cream or crème patisserie. I’ll happily eat them with either. If using whipped cream you can flavour it. In this recipe you could add a couple of teaspoons of cherry jam to the cream while it is being whipped. Here I have filled them with cherry compote then cream. I like the two different textures and tastes.
The key to nice dry choux pastry is to pierce or cut the pastry as soon as it comes out of the oven to release the steam, this stops it going soggy. When making profiteroles I prefer to piece them on the base partially for aesthetics but also because they then retain their shape better once filled. Try not to fill them too far in advance as they can go soggy. The unfilled choux pastry can be frozen and defrosted when needed.
This tower of profiteroles ended up in a school staffroom, I’m getting a bit of a reputation there as a teacher feeder. Never before have I seen a group of teachers fight over the last profiterole and I’m sure I saw the caretaker lick the plate clean.
Cherry & Chocolate Profiteroles
Makes about 20
A pinch of salt
100g strong white flour or plain flour
3 large eggs
Jar of morello cherries
300g whipping ( or double) cream, whipped
50g dark chocolate
1) Preheat the oven to 200°c. In a large pan melt the butter in the water.
2) Once it has started boiling turn off the heat then add in the flour and start to beat with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture comes together in a lump and comes away from the sides of the saucepan. When it reaches this stage take off the heat and allow to cool for 3 minutes.
3) In a jug whisk together the 3 eggs. Gradually add the egg to the dough a small amount at a time, beating the mixture well before adding the next amount. You want the dough to become thick and glossy but still hold its shape. Depending on the size of your eggs you may not use all of the eggs.
4) Line a baking tray with parchment. Put your pastry in a piping bag and pipe blobs of the mixture about 10cm apart on the baking tray. You need to leave a good gap to stop them joining up to make one giant choux bun.
5) Bake for 20-25 min until puffed and golden. As soon has they have baked transfer to a wire rack and puncture the bottom of each profiterole to allow steam to escape and to stop them going soggy. Allow to cool completely.
6) Pour the cherries and syrup from jar in a saucepan. Simmer until cherries have begun to break down.
7) Once the profiteroles have cooled, pipe a small amount of the cherries in to a profiterole followed by the whipped cream.
8) Melt the dark chocolate then drizzle over the profiteroles.