Profiteroles, ice cream filled choux puffs, are a favorite all over the world. Though you might think these fancy desserts are difficult to make, profiteroles are relatively simple to prepare. Vanilla is the usual ice cream used, but no one says that you can’t use any flavor you like. I particularly like coffee ice cream. If you want to make this dessert extra special, decorate it with chocolate shavings or, better yet, a chocolate fan or two.–Jacques Torres
Hands-On Time: 45 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, not including cooling | Serves 4
- For the chocolate sauce
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- For the profiteroles
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 5 or 6 large eggs
- 4 large scoops vanilla ice cream
- Chocolate sauce, warmed
- Make the chocolate sauce
- 1. Place the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat. Whisk in the chocolate, making sure that you scrape along the sides and bottom to incorporate the chocolate completely. Set aside.
- 2. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, and butter over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk the hot cream mixture into the chocolate mixture.
- 3. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken slightly.
- 4. Remove from the heat and, using a rubber spatula, scrape the sauce into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic film, pressing it directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature. It will be thick enough to scoop up with a spoon.
- 5. Transfer to a tightly covered container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Reheat when ready to use. If reheating in a microwave oven, place in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on medium-high power for 20 seconds, then check and repeat until the sauce liquefies.
- Make the profiteroles
- 6. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- 7. To make the choux paste for the puffs, combine the water, butter, sugar, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter has melted.
- 8. Remove from the heat and immediately add the flour and cocoa powder all at once, beating well with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring vigorously with the spoon, for about 3 minutes, or until some of the liquid has evaporated and the paste has dried out somewhat. The dough is sufficiently dry when it leaves a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
- 9. Transfer the choux paste to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes to release some of the moist heat. Then, with the mixer still on low speed, begin adding the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated. The number of eggs added will depend on how dry the paste was before the additions began. The drier the mix, the more eggs required. Begin testing for the correct consistency after the fourth egg has been added.
- 10. Scoop a large amount of the paste onto a wooden spoon. Hold the spoon horizontally about a foot above the bowl and then allow the paste to fall off the spoon, watching carefully. If the paste is very smooth but moist, slightly sticky, and elastic, and takes 5 to 7 seconds to fall, it is ready. If not, add another egg and test again. The correct consistency is important because if the paste is too dry, it won’t pipe, and if it is too wet, it won’t hold its shape.
- 11. Scrape the paste into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Begin piping 2 1/2-inch rounds about 1 1/2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. This recipe calls for only 4 pastry puffs, but you will be able to make about 20 pastries with this amount of paste.
- 12. You can freeze any unbaked pastries on the baking sheet until completely frozen; transfer them to a resealable plastic bag, label, and freeze for up to 3 weeks. When ready to bake, return to a parchment-lined baking sheet, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then bake as directed. Or, you can bake them all and store, airtight, up for to 3 days.
- 13. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until well puffed, and dry. To help the puffs dry, you can open the oven door during the last 5 minutes of baking to allow steam to escape. Remove from the oven, transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely before filling.
- 14. When ready to assemble, using a sharp knife, split 4 puffs in half crosswise. Place a scoop of ice cream in the bottom of each puff. Place the top on at a slight angle. Cover the bottom of each dessert plate with a pool of warm Chocolate Sauce. Place an ice cream-filled puff in the center of each pool. Drizzle more warm sauce over the top and serve at once.
Profiteroles Recipe © 2008 MrChocolate.com LLC. Photo © 2008 Steve Pool. All rights reserved.