At Balthazar, profiteroles are served by a food runner who pours a warm chocolate sauce over the ice-cream-filled puffs, adding the finishing touch at the table. One runner began making a terrific show of all this, starting with a reserved drizzle, then gradually hoisting the little metal pitcher high above his head. Still pouring, he miraculously hits the ice cream target with no resulting splash. He began a trend among the food runners, all of whom now amaze and frighten the guests with their wild chocolate pouring.–Keith McNally, Riad Nasr, Lee Hanson
For the puffs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour sifted
- 5 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk lightly beaten
For the chocolate sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces semisweet Valrhona chocolate coarsely chopped
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream
Make the puffs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and salt with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the sifted flour and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined into a dough. Continue stirring over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the dough into the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir at low speed for a few minutes to lower the temperature of the dough. Increase the speed to medium and then add the eggs, one at a time. Mix until a smooth, cool dough forms, about 4 minutes.
- Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a #9 tip, with the dough, or use a soup spoon to form small puffs, about 2 inches in diameter, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the puffs with the beaten egg yolk and transfer to the oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool the puffs on a wire rack and then slice them, as if they were hamburger buns, with a serrated knife.
Make the chocolate sauce
- Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it foams. Reduce the flame to low and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk until all the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth and shiny. Keep warm over a pan of simmering water.
- Fill the puffs with a scant scoop of ice cream and serve on small plates or in shallow bowls. Pass a pitcher of warm chocolate sauce at the table.
Originally published April 23, 2003