I think its safe to say I have a lot of weaknesses when it comes to food in general but I think my biggest weakness has to be chocolate profiteroles. I adore them. The light airiness of the choux pastry, the rich softness of the whipped cream and the smooth, luscious hit of dark chocolate at the end. They’re incredible.
I must say, I do tend to ‘lean’ on chocolate profiteroles in times of trouble. Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, I find myself wandering into a supermarket to buy a profiterole tower, then I quite often surprise myself by how quickly I can devour the whole tower, without even thinking about it! It’s a bit worrying actually, I almost don’t even realising I’m doing it! And I’m not even fussy by the quality of them. I don’t need to buy the best profiteroles from the best patisserie. I’m happy enough with a cheap profiterole tower from a cheap supermarket. With super sweet cream and super sweet milk chocolate on top. In fact, I almost think I prefer those ones!
Considering how much I love them, it’s hard to believe I have actually never made profiteroles before. Making the choux pastry has always put me off as I always thought it would be difficult, but last weekend I was back at my parent’s house and I fancied making use of a lovely big kitchen and an oven that actually works properly! I was pleasantly surprised by how easy they were to make. First off, I laid out the ingredients…
For the choux pastry
150g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon each sugar and salt
100g unsalted butter
4 eggs, beaten
250ml cold water
500g double/heavy cream (this is an approximate amount)
150g dark chocolate (70%) (you can use milk chocolate if you prefer)
Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan180°C/400°F/gas 6. Then begin by putting the butter and the cold water into a saucepan and bringing it to the boil.
I then added the flour with the salt and sugar into the pan, and stirred well to incorporate.
Take the saucepan off the heat. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until it forms a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan. This should take just a few minutes.
Now, add the egg mixture, a little at a time, beating all the time with the wooden spoon.
At first, it doesn’t look like the egg will amalgamate, but persevere. Just keep beating and it will mix in smoothly.
Keep beating until all the egg mixture is used up and you have a paste that is thick and shiny.
The mixture should drop off the spoon when tapped lightly on the side of the pan.
Now, grease your baking sheet, then hold it under the cold water tap for a couple of seconds. Let the excess water run off. This extra water creates more steam in the oven while the pastry is cooking, and should produce lighter pastry buns.
Pipe or spoon the mixture onto the greased baking tray any which way you like. For larger choux buns, you can just take a table spoon of the mixture and dollop it onto the baking tray.
For smaller buns, you can either take a teaspoon and spoon the mixture, or you can pipe it with a pastry bag.
If you want to make some chocolate éclairs, just pipe the pastry with a piping bag straight onto the baking tray.
Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Once removed from the oven, make a small hole in the underside of each bun to release any steam. If left to go cold unpunctured, the steam turns back to water resulting in soft or soggy buns.
Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
When ready to serve, whip your double/heavy cream, fill your piping bag and pipe the cream into the hole you made at the bottom of the buns (or at the side of the éclair) until you fill the bun. Watch that the cream doesn’t burst through any other air holes!
Pile the profiteroles into a tower.
Melt the chocolate over simmering water and then drizzle over the profiteroles.
If making éclairs, spoon the chocolate over the top of the éclair.
These were unbelievably delicious. The pastry was so light and crispy. To be honest, they were delicious with just the cream inside without the chocolate on top. I will definitely be making them again but next time I think I’ll put less chocolate on. Or maybe I’ll use a slightly milkier chocolate. Or perhaps I’ll stir some double cream into the chocolate to make a ganache. I might experiment next time by piping ganache into the centre of the choux buns or éclairs for an extra chocolate hit!
Or you could even grate some orange zest into the cream to add another depth of flavour. Please try these out. They were surprisingly easy to make and they taste out of this world! A word of warning though…have other people around you when you make them as its far too easy to scoff the lot if you’re on your own!