Profiteroles

It’s my 400th post!  Woohoo!  How appropriate, then, to write about a dessert worthy of a celebration: Profiteroles.

This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to try for years, and I mean it.  When I was in college at the University of Denver (which is getting to be a scary long time ago!), there was a restaurant on 22nd and Arapahoe called Tiramisu.  It was my absolute favorite place to go for dinner, and we always finished the meal with their amazing profiteroles.  The combination of a light pastry shell, fabulous ice cream, and rich chocolate sauce was something I just couldn’t resist.

I thought about making profiteroles again and again but didn’t actually get on the horse until I had to come up with a “Thanksgiving with a twist” dessert for this month’s gourmet club meeting.  Profiteroles with pumpkin ice cream and caramel sauce?  Yes, please.

Let’s start with the profiterole recipe.  This is modified to include just the profiteroles; the original recipe has a chocolate sauce as well.

Profiteroles
Makes about 18 puffs (6 servings)

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs

Method:
Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded.  When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough.  Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes.  The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan.  Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip.  Pipe in mounds 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  You should have about 18 puffs.  With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff.  (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.)  Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape.  Set aside to cool.

Source: Ina Garten/FoodNetwork.com

Profiteroles

Aren’t these gorgeous puffs?  What’s ironic is that my first batch was perfect, while I struggled with subsequent batches.  Here are my perfect profiterole tips:

  • Use the large (16″) pastry bags when piping your dough.  All of the dough won’t fit into the smaller bags.
  • Make sure your dough mounds are more like rounded domes than tall hives.  I was overzealous with my piping on my second batch and ended up with high, beautiful (at the time), hive-shaped mounds.  What happened?  They browned too quickly because of their height and they morphed into some pretty crazy shapes.  (See the photo below.  They look like baby chicks, right?  I’d be a genius if I could deliberately replicate this shape…)
  • Keep an eye on your profiteroles during the last five minutes of baking.  I had to turn the oven off at the 18-minute mark for my perfect batch, not the 20-minute mark.
  • Profiteroles can be made up to a day ahead and re-crisped immediately before serving.  Heat oven to 375°F, place profiteroles on a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake for 5 minutes (or until crisp), and cool on a wire rack before serving.
Baby Chick Profiteroles
Now that you have profiteroles, it’s time to fill them.  The profiterole below has store-bought pumpkin ice cream and homemade caramel sauce (part of this post), though I eventually ended up making two different ice creams – Williams-Sonoma’s Pumpkin Ice Cream and Cinnamon Ice Cream from Allrecipes – to bring to gourmet club.  The pumpkin ice cream had a thick custard base and was very much like eating frozen pumpkin pie filling (delicious!).  It was very firm, though, and needed 10 to 15 minutes on the counter to soften before serving.  The cinnamon ice cream was everyone’s favorite; it was sweeter and softer.  I made another batch to serve with pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, and it was a hit!

Profiterole with Pumpkin Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

My first batches of profiteroles most certainly won’t be my last.  Besides being delicious, I love that they can be made ahead for entertaining and that the fillings and toppings are infinitely adaptable.  Chocolate profiteroles with peppermint ice cream would be amazing for Christmas!

Recipe links: Profiteroles, Caramel Sauce (part of Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce), Cinnamon Ice Cream, Pumpkin Ice Cream

2 Responses to “Profiteroles”


  1. 1 Colleen December 5, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Break out the Flight of the Conchords’ “Hurt Feelings”. Yeah!


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