The French do have a way with butter…and cream, and chocolate, and all the other foods we’re not supposed to eat. But if you’re going to indulge, you might as well do it the right way with one of the classic French dessert: the cream puff, or profiteroles.
And if that’s not decadent enough, I like my puffs drizzled with a little melted dark chocolate to set a balance between the richness of the creme de patisserie or pastry cream (or custard, go wild!).
This recipe is fool-proof and so easy to put together, if you follow the steps carefully as all greats French chefs do.They didn’t spend centuries perfecting the art of pastry for nothing.
Don’t let the appearance of these cream puffs intimidate you; this dessert is both fun and easy to make at home. Even though this is the classic recipe, set your imagination free and stuff these little puff dandies with coffee, chocolate or peanut butter ice cream, if you like.
For the choux pastry:
4 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1â„2 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour
1â„4 cup milk
1â„2 tsp. granulated sugar
1â„2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
For the filling:
1Â½ cups milk
Â½ cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1Â½ tsp. vanilla extract
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
For the chocolate sauce:
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
6 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. butter
1. For the pastry: Preheat oven to 220Âº. Grease a baking sheet with 1/2 tbsp. of the butter, dust with 1 tbsp. of the flour, tapping out excess, and set aside. Put milk, 1/4 cup water, granulated sugar, salt, and the remaining butter into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat and beat in all of the remaining flour at once with a wooden spoon. Then return pan to medium heat and vigorously beat with the spoon until mixture forms a thick dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a medium mixing bowl. Beat in one-third of the eggs at a time, beating constantly with the spoon after each addition, until dough is smooth.
2. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe 12 mounds of dough about 2 inch wide onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart (you may have enough dough to make 1 extra mound; cook’s treat), then dust mounds of dough with confectioners’ sugar. Transfer to oven, immediately reduce oven temperature to 200Âº, and bake until puffed and deep golden brown, 15â€“18 minutes. Set puffs on a rack to cool completely.
3. For the filling: Bring 1 cup milk and sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk remaining milk, cornstarch, and egg yolks together in a large bowl. Slowly pour half the hot milk into yolk mixture, whisking constantly, then return mixture to saucepan, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens and just returns to a boil. Stir in vanilla and transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. In a large bowl, beat butter on medium speed of a hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add cold filling and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Spoon filling into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. Gently poke a hole in the flat side of each baked, cooled puff with tip and pipe in filling.
4. For the sauce: Melt chocolate in a medium bowl set over a medium pot of gently simmering water over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cream to milk and return to a simmer. Add the melted chocolate, sugar, and butter and whisk until smooth. Keep sauce warm over lowest heat.
5. To assemble the puffs, make a wide incision in the side of each puff. Fill each puff with a small scoop of ice cream. Spoon warm sauce over the puffs. Serve immediately.MYNEWSHUB