Let’s Make Profiteroles

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What does it profit a man to make profiteroles? Turns out: it profits a man a great deal. A woman too.

Profiteroles are happy little puffs that you slice in half, fill with ice cream and then drizzle with chocolate sauce. Sort of like little ice cream sandwiches, except they’re not sandwiches; they’re more like buns filled with ice cream. And making those buns (or puffs, really) is such a cinch, I could probably make a batch in the time it takes to write this post. And once you have them, all you need is ice cream and chocolate sauce and you’re ready to serve up an elegant dessert.

Making the puffs is simply a matter of making choux pastry (aka: pâte à choux). It’s what’s used for eclairs, cream puffs, any French dessert with an eggy, hollow texture. You start by boiling butter and water together in a pot.

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To that, you add flour and a pinch of salt.

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Stir stir stir, still on the heat, until you get a ball of dough. Now I was doing this in a wide pot, which turned out to be a bad idea because the dough kept tearing apart. But it didn’t really matter: the goal is to cook moisture out of the dough (and also to cook the flour a bit). After a minute, you gather the dough together into a ball.

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And transfer that ball to a bowl to cool, before you add the eggs.

Ok, eggs, let’s do this.

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The dough takes two eggs (I used an Anne Burrell recipe) and turns a lovely shade of yellow.

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If you want to be fancy, you can put a piping tip into the edge of a Freezer bag, fill it with the dough and pipe it on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Honestly, though, you’ll have just as much success doing it with spoons. In fact, my big mistake here was making my puffs too small. The recipe says 1-inch, but I’d say 2-inches would be smarter because then you have a lot of room for ice cream.

Either way, into the oven they go and 20 minutes later they look like this.

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Pretty cool, right? I like watching things transform in the oven: like an adult version of Shrinky Dinks. Only these don’t shrink, they puff.

The best part is you can put these in a Tupperware container or in a Freezer bag (not the one you used for piping) and set them aside until dinner. Then, after you’ve cleared away the entree, just slice them all in half and fill them with ice cream.

One of my dinner guests on this particular night (we were recording The Clean Plate Club), Kat Odell, brought homemade strawberry cream cheese ice cream. I had Haagen Dasz coffee and vanilla so I made a trio for everyone.

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The chocolate sauce I used was the same chocolate sauce I made for the previous week’s brownie sundaes; it comes to us from Dorie Greenspan. (Turns out it’s a hot fudge recipe, not a chocolate sauce recipe, but I added a little water and it thinned out.) Recipe here.

So what does it profit a man to make profiteroles? It’s ice cream in a puff with chocolate on it. If you don’t see the value in that, I can’t help you.

Recipe: Profiteroles

Summary: Based on a recipe by Anne Burrell.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Start by bringing the water and butter to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce the heat, add all of the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook for a bit until the mixture is shiny and pulls away from the pan (it should form a ball; if it doesn’t bring it together yourself).
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and allow to cool (when you can touch it without saying “ow,” you’re good). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the cinnamon if you’re using it.
  4. Now you can transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or a freezer bag with a large straight tip, or you can use spoons to make 1 or 2-inch balls on to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. (1-inch balls will yield the small profiteroles I made; if you’d like them larger, go for 2-inches). If piping, make sure to wet your finger after you pipe them all and flatten the tops so you don’t have little points.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the puffs are golden and light and hollow. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  6. You can save the puffs for later or slice them in half now, fill ’em with your favorite ice cream and then drizzle with chocolate sauce. Yum! Profiteroles are the best.

Preparation time: 25 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

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7 comments

  1. FYI: Take care when making these. There’s a reaction that happens when the heat from the burner causes the butter (or shortening, depending on the recipe) to pop. Depending on how it pops and a myriad of other factors, you can cause a fire. (True of any cooking, really, but still.) A popular US magazine had a bad PR experience with this very thing, causing them to recall all their issues off news stands. It’s a traditional technique that needs care and attention. Just thought I’d pass that on. Profiteroles are really wonderful with some ice cream in the center!

  2. FYI: Take care when making these. There’s a reaction that happens when the heat from the burner causes the butter (or shortening, depending on the recipe) to pop. Depending on how it pops and a myriad of other factors, you can cause a fire. (True of any cooking, really, but still.) A popular US magazine had a bad PR experience with this very thing, causing them to recall all their issues off news stands. It’s a traditional technique that needs care and attention. Just thought I’d pass that on. Profiteroles are really wonderful with some ice cream in the center!

  3. I used to make these with my grandmother. I think she sometimes froze them to make ahead for parties. Thanks for bringing back memories. Best, Dana @Foodie Goes Healthy

  4. Profiteroles are also lovely when filled with heavy whipped cream – very high in fat but still lovely.

  5. profiteroles are traditionally not made with ice cream, which is why they’re called cream puffs and not ice cream puffs. Just clarifying the tiny misinformation.

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