Chaos, Love, and Profiteroles


Makes 24 small-ish puffs

The recipe that follows is very basic; I received it from my Uncle Paul’s mother, Alice. I’ve modified the method a bit to make it more fool-proof, and I’ve added a couple important notes below for the sake of clarity.

The dough for these is quite simple to make; it will appear as if it’s separating at certain stages, but fear not– it’ll come together. Just keep mixing!

This note is for those that are making this to assist in healing a broken heart, or those that don’t have the stomach to eat 24 puffs filled with ice cream (I wouldn’t encourage doing so, by the way). There’s a do-ahead strategy to this recipe: prepare the dough as if you were baking it (spacing the mounds closer together), then place the baking sheet in the freezer for an hour or until frozen. Then, remove the frozen dough mounds and place them in a resealable plastic bag, and keep frozen– this will allow for baking on a whim. And when you’re ready to bake the dough off, bake as many as you feel you can eat. Just be sure to add a couple minutes onto the baking time if baking frozen dough. Usually three puffs does the trick for me, but if you’re having your best friends over and want to vent over profiteroles definitely make more.

In regards to the pastry bag situation: There’s absolutely no need to run out to buy a 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pastry tip (any will do, really) and pastry bag for this recipe; you can simply use a Tablespoon or a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop to place the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, or do as I did . . . For the sake of trying to remain somewhat neat– “somewhat” being the operative word–I used a 1/2-inch pastry tip placed in two resealable plastic bags with a corner cut off. [Kamran note: If you happen to be like me and rarely keep reusable pastry bags on hand and want to do the zip-lock trick, be sure to use two bags as one would be far too weak for the warm mixture and everything will spew all over the place; it’s happened to me. You don’t necessarily need a pastry tip, either, but it makes the process a little easier.]

Ingredients:
1 recipe for Chocolate Fudge Sauce (can use store-bought, but this is better!)

For Profiteroles
1 cup / 120g all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup / 250ml water
8 Tablespoons / 113g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 large eggs

Ice cream of your choice
Chopped nuts of your choice (I used pistachio, walnuts, and sliced almonds; optional)

Preparation:
Prepare the chocolate fudge sauce if you haven’t done so already.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425ºF / 220ºC / Gas Mark 7. Then, line two rimmed baking sheets with baking parchment.

Prepare a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tip (optional; refer to headnotes).

In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour and the salt, and set aside. In a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan, place in the water and butter cubes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Once the butter and water have reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and add in the flour mixture. Vigorously beat in the flour with a wooden spoon for several seconds until the dough has formed into a ball and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.

Allow the dough to cool for 3 minutes. The mixture doesn’t need to be completely cooled; it should be cool enough so that the eggs don’t scramble when added to the dough.

After the dough has cooled off some, using a handheld electric mixer or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease (great to get any anger out!), vigorously beat in the eggs one at a time, until smooth and glossy.

Transfer the warm dough into the pastry bag (alternatively, use a tablespoon / scoop, as mentioned in the headnotes). Pipe / heap 24 mounds of the dough onto each baking sheets (each should be about 1 1/2 in or 4cm in diameter), spacing them 1-inch (3cm) apart.

Use wet fingers to pat down any peaks of dough that may have formed from piping. The dough can be frozen at this point, simply space the mounds a bit closer and freeze as described in the headnote above.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating the tray half-way through baking, until puffed and golden-brown. Remove the pan from the oven and use a small knife or skewer to pierce, once, into the side of each profiterole. Place the pan back into the oven, leaving the oven door slightly open, for 4 minutes.

When done, the puffs should be light, firm to the touch, and dry inside. Once baked, cool completely on the baking sheet.

After the puffs have been cooled, cut each puff horizontally, sandwich a scoop of ice cream (your favorite kind) between each half and drape languorously with the chocolate sauce and a smattering of the chopped nuts.

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