Light and airy choux pastry buns filled with crème pâtissière and smothered in warm chocolate sauce. Simple enough for a treat after a family dinner, elegant enough for a dinner party dessert!
When I think profiteroles I think dessert at my nan’s house, so they bring up lots of good childhood memories. Even without the attached memories, I LOVE profiteroles. But for some reason it’s taken me until the ripe old age of 27 to try making them myself. I’m not a big pastry maker, I’m firmly in the “you don’t need to make your own pastry” cop out camp. Choux pastry is a different matter though, I can’t store buy that (I don’t think I’d want to either). I was a little intimated by the idea but after being assured it was a lot easier than it looked I took the jump!
I used Gordon Ramsay’s profiterole recipe because he gives me heart eyes and when I stumbled across his recipe, how could I not give that one a go? You can find his original recipe here, I however didn’t fill mine with chantilly cream because creme patissiere is always better let’s be honest. When I told my mum I was using creme patissiere (which is literally pastry cream in English btw) instead of fresh cream she was disappointed, but after trying my profiteroles she saw the light! And the warm chocolate sauce is beautifully rich, I recommend making a big batch up and using it for everything (I still have some I’m trying to find an excuse to use!). Gordon’s recipe wasn’t too helpful with baking time either, it wasn’t until my 3rd tray that I got them to bake properly all the way through!
This bake was actually part of my belated Great British Bake Off challenge for pastry week. Yes, it’s taken me this long to make this post! The Great British Bake Off is over now and although my favourite didn’t win, I enjoyed this series a lot, it’s around this time I’m tempted to apply (by the time the next series comes around I’m always glad I didn’t!) The profiteroles were my last bake along, it was a very short lived challenge, although I am tempted to give Charlotte Royale a go after French week!
Let’s get down to business shall we?
For the choux pastry:
- 125ml milk
- 200ml cold water
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tsp golden caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 100g unsalted butter
- 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
For the creme patissiere:
- 500ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 medium egg yolks
- 75g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 25g plain flour
- 20g cornflour
For the warm chocolate sauce:
- 200g good quality dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids)
- 30g unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 125ml whole milk
Preheat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6. A properly preheated oven is very important to get your pastry to bake properly. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
To make the choux buns, sift the flour into a bowl and set aside. Pour the milk, water, salt and sugar into a pan and gently heat on low, once the sugar and salt has all dissolved add the butter. Once all the butter has melted, bring the mixture to a rolling boil and remove from heat. Pour in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon, when the mixture starts to come away from the side of the pan, stop beating and tip onto a plate cool. Your mixture will probably look a bit like mashed potato at this point!
Once it’s cool (make sure it’s completely cool or your mixture will be too runny) return the mixture to the pan and gradually beat in the eggs a little at time, mixing well between each addition until you have a smooth paste.
Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle. If you don’t have any nozzles, buy some they’ll come in handy, but for not you can just snip off the end of the bag to get a circle hole, you need the hole to be about 1.5cm in diameter. Pipe a small blob of pastry under each corner of the greaseproof paper on your baking sheet, this will help keep it in place while you pipe the buns. Pipe balls onto the baking sheet, about 3cm in diameter, spaced well apart. Level the tops slightly with the tip of your finger, wet your finger a little first to stop the pastry sticking to you! Bake at 200C/390F/Gas 6 for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 175C/350F/Gas 4 and bake for 20 more minutes until well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke a small hole in each bun (this will let any steam out and stop your buns going soggy), transfer to wire rack and leave to cool completely.
To make the creme patissiere, put the milk and vanilla in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil (make sure you have a large pan, milk increases A LOT in size when it boils) and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until they turn a pale yellow. Then whisk in both flours. Pour on the milk, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Make sure you always pour the hot milk/cream into cold eggs when making pastry creams, if you do it the other way you’re in danger of scrambling the eggs!
Whisking constantly to avoid lumps, bring back to the boil over a medium heat and cook for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle the surface with a light dusting of caster sugar to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool completely.
Spoon the crem pat into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle (this is where you really do need a nozzle or you’re gonna have to fiddle around with poking a hole in the bottom of the buns separately!). Poke the nozzle gently into the bottom of one of the buns and pipe in the cream until it is filled. Repeat for all buns. If your cream is thick enough (and it should be) it will stay in the bun just fine.
To make the warm chocolate sauce, break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat. Add the butter and honey, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth sauce and warm through. Drizzle the sauce of the cream filled profiteroles, serve and be the most popular person at the party/dinner/night alone in your pjs/mother in the office.
Don’t let me even worse than usual photography skills put you off attempting these, they barely take any time at all and people will think you’ve spent hours in the kitchen slaving away!
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