Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Profiterole - The perfect recipe secret

Little pastry puffs filled with a silky vanilla cream and full of authentic aroma

Profiterole is one of those deserts that once tasted, it remains deeply sealed in your memory. Little pastry puffs filled with a silky vanilla cream and full of authentic aroma combines like a kiss with the decadent chocolate sauce. 

Little pastry puffs filled with a silky vanilla cream and full of authentic aroma

Profiterole, cream puffs or choux à la crème is a very elegant French dessert that can be served to a dinner party, birthday feast and special occasions and sure to impress!
The preparation of this dessert is easier than it looks but it needs the perfect recipe which I found after a lot of searching and testing. This dessert was one of my first epic failures :) in which the puff did not rise, the cream split and chocolate sauce was not a sauce. In a word: disaster. So I started a little research and I came across this recipe that is absolutely gorgeous and the chances of failure are almost minimal even for beginner cooks. Personally, this was my first attempt using this recipe and I encountered no difficulty. My guests were thrilled and especially impressed by this sweet miracle!

Yield: 25 profiteroles                      Time: 1h 45' 

Ingredients for puff pastries:
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 100 g (7 tbs) butter, at room temperature
  • 4-5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 185 g (2 cups) flour
  • a pinch of salt
Ingredients for vanilla cream:
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 8 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 125 g (1/2 cups + 2 tbs) sugar
  • 60 g (2/3 cup) flour
Ingredients for chocolate sauce:
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 90 ml heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence or extract
  1. Preheat the oven at 200°C (395°F). Line a cooking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. For starter, bring the 500 ml of milk to a simmer. When the milk is hot but not boiling add vanilla beans split in two halves and its seeds. Remove from heat, cover the milk and leave it to infuse.   
  3. For the preparation of the puff, in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter, milk, water and a pinch of salt. When this composition starts to boil, remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Star mixing vigorously with a wooden spoon, without fear, until a soft and compact dough is formed.  
  4. Leave the dough to cool for a while and then add the eggs one by one. Do not add the next egg until the previous one is properly incorporated. Depending on the size of the eggs, you will need 4-5. The resulting composition should stick a little through your fingers and feel like a chewing-gum.    
  5. Using a piping bag or a tablespoon, form little walnut size balls and place them at 6 cm apart. In the oven, the puffs will rise and thus avoid sticking to each other. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until they puff up, become largely hollow and slightly brown. It is very important not to open the oven in the first 15 minutes because the puffs rise can be impaired. Remove the pastry puffs from the oven and let them cool.
  7. The next step involves the preparation of the vanilla cream. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar until a pale-yellow composition is formed. Whisking constantly, gradually incorporate the flour. To this mixture, pour little by little the infused milk.
  8. Over low heat, whisk constantly the cream thus obtained until it has the consistency of a pudding. Pull from heat and add a little bit of butter for a more delicious finish.  
  9. The chocolate sauce preparation is made shamelessly fast and simple. In a small saucepan over low heat, add heavy cream and the chocolate chips. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth. For extra flavor, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence or extract.   
  10. The last step is assembling the profiteroles. Using a knife or scissors cut each pastry puff in half, lengthwise and using a piping bag or a teaspoon, add the vanilla cream. Replace the top and dip into the chocolate sauce.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to infuse.

That's it! I hope you'll try it!

Tips and Tricks:
  • Fill the puff pastry with whipped cream and you'll get the classic french choux a la creme. You can also fill them with lemon curd or any other cream!
  • Do not throw the vanilla beans after you have infused the milk because it can be used to prepare homemade vanilla sugar. Fill a jar with sugar, add the used vanilla beans and close it tightly. After a week, you will have a very fragrant vanilla sugar and more natural than that found in stores.


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