Profiteroles

I am more than relieved to announce that I can wipe this one off my list.  Making the profiterole (also known as a cream puff here in the States) is really a very simple task; the baking of it requires a bit of attention.  Oh.  And you absolutely, certainly, should not open the oven to “peek”.  Be patient and back away from the oven.  I’m saying this because it was humid yesterday while I was baking, so we were already at a tenuous balance between the puffs puffing or not and I couldn’t control my anxiety and peeked.  Several times.  I might have been able to overcome the humidity issue if I had only been more patient.  Of the 4 dozen I baked, only about 16 turned out nicely puffed.  That should teach me.  Thankfully, I have made these several times so I know what my error was and am only telling you this so you don’t also make the same mistake.

 How beautiful your profiteroles can be if you don’t bother them while they bake!
The official name for the dough is Pâte à choux.  A choux dough doesn’t have any sort of a leavening agent in it; instead it relies on the moisture in the dough to create steam while it cooks and puff up the dough.  This type of dough what one would use to make profiteroles, croquembouches, eclairs, beignets,and gougères. I am anxious to keep trying this dough and working with it so I that I can become comfortable.  I have decided though that I should invest in a larger piping bag and tip so that I’m not covered in the dough by the time I’m done piping out my little puffs.  I’m also anxious to try these as a gougère in the winter with a hearty stew.
Basic Pâte à choux dough:
  • 10 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a simmer so that the butter is able to melt.  Remove the pan from the heat and using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to make a paste.  Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly until the paste is shiny and easily pulls away from the pan (about 7 minutes).  Cool slightly.  Either transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer or use a hand mixer fitted with beaters and then beat it for about 2 minutes on low-medium speed to cool the paste further.  Then, add in the eggs one a time.  Scrape the bowl as needed.  Once all the eggs are incorporated thoroughly, transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip.  Have 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper ready.  Pipe the dough out until it is about the size of a golf ball – you should have 4 dozen.  Wet your finger and smooth down the peaks of dough that will form from being piped.  Bake until they are puffed, about 15-20 minutes, and then lower the heat of the oven to 350 degrees to finish until the puffs are golden.  You can then turn off the oven and leave the puffs inside for up to 10 minutes to dry them out.  Once they are cooled, you can fill them with pastry cream.

The 16 winners for the baby shower… ignore the florescent icing on the cupcakes, please.  Due to a sick child throughout the week, I had to sacrifice some of my baking.  What suffered was the thing I hate the most: cake icing.

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