Buttery, eggy yet rich, the profiterole or cream puff is a dessert item made with choux pastry, which is basically butter and flour cooked together with eggs and water. It is popular as a simple dessert item and the base – the choux pastry – is often used to make other pastries like eclairs and the traditional French wedding “cake” called croquembouches (filled and glazed with caramel). The little cream-filled pastries are simply divine when eaten chilled with side servings of fresh fruit or drizzled with chocolate sauce!
Making them is not very hard or time-consuming. Choux pastry can be mixed by hand – especially when you’re making small quantities – and then pipped into small balls before a 25-minute baking session which will result in some very lovely golden puffy structures. Definitely a quick bake for those with tight schedules or those who simply hate having to sit in front of the oven waiting for baked goods to finish cooking. After these pastry balls are done, it is just a simple matter of filling them which doesn’t take very long.
For the filling, simple vanilla whipped cream is the standard but you can opt for flavoured versions like lemon, strawberry, orange, etc. In my case, I decided on blueberry – still yummy to boot, even when served without the chocolate sauce. The result? If you’ve used low-fat whipped cream like I did for these babies, they are just great for that summer afternoon snack, especially when chilled!
Adapted from The Cook’s Companion by Lisa McCormick
(A) Choux pastry
5 tbsp or approx 60 gms butter
scant 1 cup water
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
(B) Cream filling
1 1/4 cup whipped cream
2 tbsp cane sugar
2 tbsp blueberry jam
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and preparing a baking pan by greasing it with butter or lining with greaseproof paper.
- In a pot, heat the water and butter together until the mixture boils. Meanwhile, sift the flour into separate bowl. Once the butter-water mixture boils, turn off the heat, remove from the fire and beat in the flour until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes.
- Gradually add in the beaten eggs until the dough is of a soft, dropping consistency. Transfer to a pipping bag with a 1/2 inch to 1 inch plain tip. Pipe small balls of about 1 1/2 inch in diameter onto the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and pierce each ball with a skewer in the center to let the steam escape.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream, sugar, jam and vanilla extract together until stiff. Cut the pastry balls across the middle (but not fully) and then fill with the cream.
- Pile the profiteroles onto a dish and serve as is (or chilled) or with drizzles of chocolate sauce, and fresh fruit on the side.