Weddings, posh Sunday lunch in a hotel, parties, birthdays – profiteroles were always on celebration menus in the 80s, in my neck of the woods at least. In nostalgia terms, they’re right up there with baked alaska, black forest gateau, and coffee and walnut cake for me.
I’ve not made choux pastry often. In fact, my one and only experience of making it was in a home economics class when I was in school. We lobbed tablespoons of the finished dough into muffin tins, and the result was actually tasty, though it was less a little elegant round puff of pastry and more the lovechild of a yorkshire pudding and a deformed eclair.
Given that we’re back in level 5 lockdown, I decided not to go whole hog and make a croquembouche, purely because we’d never get through it between us even if we really, really tried. Also in this miserable early winter weather the thought of something involving warm chocolate sauce is really comforting and appealing – especially if the adult’s portions are spiked with some rum.
The fresh cream vs creme pat debate took up a couple of car journeys. Whipped cream seemed a little simple, but then it’s a classic for a reason. Then again, I’ve not made proper creme pat before and this is all about levelling up, technically. Decisions, decisions…
We start with butter and water in a pot, to melt and then bring to the boil.
Sifted flour is added and then has the living daylights beaten out of it over heat. There doesn’t seem to be much going on by weight of ingredients here, but then again these little puffs are mostly air.
Into the stand mixer, for further beating and the addition of eggs. Then piping bag, and on to sheets and into a hot oven.
20 minutes later, these cuties are done! My second sheet was on the lower shelf and isn’t quite as cute. They’ll all be grand with cream and chocolate though.
For the filling, I added some caramel praline to the cream as it’s been knocking around the fridge. For the topping, I’m using part milk and part dark chocolate, as dark is generally too bitter for tiny tastebuds and there is no way that Boy Wonder is not going to dig into one of these.
Honestly, this was really straightforward to make, but I’d do one tray at a time in the oven if I was to do over. I also had to cover them when I was leaving the house in case of CAT-astrophe, and they did soften slightly as a result. A couple of minutes in the oven before filling perked them up though.
These are great, but are a bit more eclair-y than my memory of profiteroles which traditionally have a more liquid chocolate sauce dribbled over. Still excellent though. Will make again.