Food | Baking: Profiteroles

Ok, ok so I sort-of-but-not-really promised a post about making profiteroles almost a week ago now and as you may have noticed – no profiterole post.  Oops.

In all fairness, I have been fairly busy this week and have been playing “mum” (my actual mum has gone to Pakistan).  I have been looking after my little sister who had just started school again, and it has been somewhat horrific waking up at 7am to make sure she has everything she needs for the day.  Also, I have been helping out with the school run with my dad to help take special needs children to school in the mornings and afternoon.  On top of that I have been cleaning the house and cooking so we don’t all starve to death in a dirty house!  I told you I was busy!

Anyway, back to profiteroles. I don’t know about you but I LOVE profiteroles – pastry = good, whipped cream = good, chocolate = GOOD.

I could probably eat a whole batch by myself.  I’m not sure why, but I always thought it might be difficult to make choux buns for some reason (perhaps it’s the fancy French name that put me off) but after I read a couple of different recipes it didn’t sound so hard.

I typed “How to make profiteroles” into the search engine and BAM!  There they were, recipes galore!  I finally settled between two BBC Good Food recipes.  The first was a recipe which included a step-by-step video with Lesley Waters and the second is a recipe from James Martin.  I used the James Martin recipe to make the choux pastry and the Lesley Waters for the chocolate sauce as I thought it sounded nicer.

The Recipe:

Choux Pastry

200ml/7fl oz cold water

4 tsp caster sugar

85g/3oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

115g/4oz plain flour

pinch salt

3 medium free-range eggs, beaten

 Chocolate Sauce

100g/3½oz plain (dark) chocolate, broken into small pieces

3 tbsp golden syrup

½ orange, juice only

  • I started by putting the water, sugar and butter into a large saucepan and heated it gently over a low heat until the butter melted.

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  •  When the butter had melted, I turned up the heat and added the flour and salt straight into the saucepan in one go.

(The next few steps require some good ol’ elbow grease!)

  •  I then removed the pan from the heat and using a wooden spoon I beat the mixture as thoroughly as I could until it became dough-like and came away from the sides.

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  • I transferred the mixture to a large bowl and then left it to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

When cooking or baking, it’s always good to use a little bit of initiative rather than just following a recipe word for word as sometimes I find I need a little more or a little less of certain ingredients in order to achieve the finished result.  For instance, in recipe here, it tells me I need 3 medium eggs (beaten) in order to achieve a “soft dropping consistency” but I found that I needed one more to get it just right.

  • I beat in the eggs a little at a time until the mixture was smooth and glossy and had a soft dropping consistency.

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  • At this point I preheated the oven at 180C and placed a small roasting tin at the very bottom.
  • I lightly greased a baking sheet and then filled a piping bag with the choux pastry mixture and then began piping small balls in (very wonky) lines.

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As you can see, I started off well(ish) but I probably shouldn’t have added the ones at the bottom as it didn’t leave enough space between them – what can I say, I had a bit trigger-happy!

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  • Just before I placed them in the oven, I wet my finger in water and gently rubbed the top of each ball – as according the recipe this meant that the tops would be crisper.
  • I placed the baking sheet into the oven and just before I closed the door, I put in half a mug of water into the roasting tray I placed at the bottom – this helps create the steam needed to make the pastry rise.  I then shut the door and baked them for about 30 minutes (or until they were golden brown).

In all honesty, I didn’t have any faith my pastry would rise as they started looking quite flat because of the heat, so I left them to it for about 15 minutes and when I got back…they had risen, HURRAH!

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So my first batch didn’t turn out as greatly I was expecting, as you can some of the ones at the front were a little bit squashed looking, but I still had another batch to go so I wasn’t too worried.

  •  I pricked a hole in the base of each profiterole with a skewer and returned them to the oven (which I had turned off for this step) upside down in order to help dry out the inside of the profiterole – I only left them in a couple of minutes here.

(I actually wish I skipped this step as I found that my nicely risen profiteroles came back out a little squashed – ho hum.)

IMG_3982At least the second  batch turned out better!  I put aside all the profiteroles to cool down while I made the cream filling.  Instead of following any of the recipes, I just did some guess and taste work.  I actually thought I had two pots of double cream but it turned out I only had the one and didn’t have time to go and get a second one, but nevertheless I cracked on.

  • I poured the double cream into a bowl and using my electric hand-held whisk I beat the cream until it formed soft peaks.  Then using a metal spoon I folded in a little icing sugar (I didn’t really use measurements, I just sifted some in).  I didn’t want the cream to be too sweet because of the chocolate I would be adding later on.
  • Once the profiteroles had cooled down, I spooned the cream into a piping bag (fitted with a small nozzle) and began filling the profiteroles.

In hindsight, I should have filled them from the sides but dopey me filled them from the bottom instead!

  • For the sauce, I placed a pan of water over the heat and placed a bowl over the top (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and I added 100g of milk chocolate broken into pieces (I couldn’t find where the dark chocolate was stashed so again I improvised!).

(It was at this point that I uncovered some dark chocolate chips so I added that to the bowl to melt as well.)

  • I then added three tablespoons of golden syrup to the melted chocolate and began mixing until everything was incorporated.

As you can see from the recipe, it mentions adding the juice from half an orange, but I skipped this step – I wanted my chocolate sauce to taste chocolately and not orangey.

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Instead of pouring the chocolate over a tower of profiteroles, I dipped the top of each one into the sauce so that each profiterole got an even helping.  And here is the finished result – not bad for a first try, eh?

IMG_3993And as it is customary, I got the first try!

IMG_3989Have you ever tried to make profiteroles? If so I would love to know how yours turned out in the comments below and whether you tried anything differently or used different flavours.

Until next time! x

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