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French Profiteroles — My Favorite Dessert Ever!

In France, our special occasions were celebrated with ice-cream-filled profiteroles, drizzled with chocolate, and topped with sparkler candles. For years, I’d wanted to make this dessert like my mom had, but dreaded the time and effort that would go into making it. Turns out, yes, there are a lot of steps, but it’s actually surprisingly simple (and amazingly delicious)!

Profiteroles

This recipe is from www.joyofbaking.com.

INGREDIENTS

Choux Pastry

Choux Pastry

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp granulated white sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup (4 TBS) unsalted butter

1/2 cup water

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Egg Wash Glaze

1 large egg

Pinch of salt

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 TBS unsalted butter

1/2 TBS cognac or brandy (optional)

Filling

Vanilla Ice Cream 

DIRECTIONS

Choux Pastry: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Baked Choux

In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about a minute or two). Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat on low speed a minute or two to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick sticky paste. Spoon or pipe 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart. Beat together the egg and salt for the glaze. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops of the dough.

"Choux" or Cream Puff

Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for a further 30 or 40 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are dry inside. Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. (The puffs can be frozen. Defrost the puffs and then reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Cool before filling with ice cream.)

Chocolate Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur. Use immediately. (The ganache can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.)

To assemble: Split the pastry shells in half, fill the bottom halves of the shells with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and replace the top. Drizzle each profiterole liberally with warm chocolate ganache. Serve immediately. 

Enjoy!

Nat’s Notes:

  • As a substitute for parchment paper, which I did not have on hand, I used paper cupcake liners.
  • Make sure that your oven is hot before baking the choux: a hot oven helps create the hollow inside that profiteroles need.
  • Be sure to cook the choux until they are no longer moist inside. Take one out towards end of baking time to test.
  • If a little moisture is left, simply scoop it out before filling with ice cream and covering with drizzle.
  • For variety, try filling with chocolate, coffee, or pistachio ice cream

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