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


Keith McNally, Riad Nasr, Lee Hanson

Prep 35 mins
Cook 55 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
6 servings
5 from 1 vote
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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.

To serve

  • 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.
Print RecipeBuy the The Balthazar Cookbook cookbook

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Originally published April 23, 2003


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  1. Profiteroles… my partner’s favorite! Upon his request, I’m planning to make these tomorrow night and have been doing my pre-cooking research! Two questions come to mind here:

    1. Some other recipes tell you to bake the profiteroles at a very high temperature for about 5 minutes to allow them to rise and then lower the temperature and continue to bake them until cooked through. Some even suggest opening the oven door towards the end of the process. Why is this not the case in this recipe?

    2. If I were to fill them with pastry cream, how much would I need and where could I find the recipe?


    1. Hi Nathalie, you are doing your research! Different recipes call for different cook times and oven temperatures, reduce the heat and don’t reduce the heat- it is quite confusing. The most important thing is that the choux pastry is dry. If you are uncertain, you can always split open one and check the inside.

      Substituting a pastry cream for the ice cream will give you a cream puff. You might look to this recipe for guidance–leaving out the walnuts and walnut liquor.

  2. 5 stars
    If I had to pick out my very favorite dessert it would be profiteroles, but give me mine with a wonderful pastry cream and just a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. There is nothing better. Every now and then I bake some up and freeze them, crispy or soft, with the pastry cream they’re just wonderful. This would be a great go-to recipe because the ingredients are usually at hand.

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