Irresistible Chocolate Profiteroles
Here’s a great project to tackle this weekend — make these insanely delicious chocolate profiteroles stuffed with vanilla ice cream, then showered with a hot chocolate sauce at the table. Yes, it is a cliche; yes it is a dish from another decade; yes it is really good.
Profiteroles are the perfect home dessert and guaranteed to please everyone, from small children to grown adults. And once you master the dough for profiteroles you can easily make several other classics like a feather-light beignet, gougères, and crispy potato puffs known as Pommes Dauphine.
The first step is to make cream puffs, a.k.a. profiteroles, a.k.a. choux paste, a.k.a. pâte à choux
Choux paste is a simple French dough that usually contains only four ingredients: milk/water, butter, flour, and eggs. The dough itself can easily be made in 5 to 10 minutes then baked or fried. It is interesting to note that the reason choux paste puffs is because of the high moisture content. As the dough cooks, steam is produced and the dough begins to puff. It stays puffed by baking the dough a bit longer until it starts to dry.
PREP: 5 minutes | COOK: 50 minutes | MAKES: 4 servings
pâte à choux, choux paste
- 1 cup water
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 stick of unsalted butter (4 oz)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1-quart vanilla bean ice cream (or whatever flavor you like)
pâte à choux
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or buttered sheet of parchment paper.
- In a large stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, milk, butter, and salt. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring to combine as the butter melts. Reduce the heat to medium and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour all at once. Cook, stirring constantly, until the dough dries out slightly, about 1 minute. This is important — excess moisture will cause your puffs to collapse. Remove the pan from the heat and let the dough cool for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated before adding the next. You can mix in the eggs with a mixer, food processor, or a wooden spoon to get a workout.
- Place the dough in a pastry bag (see Tip below) fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip and pipe golf ball-sized puffs onto the prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water. Brush the tops of the puffs lightly with the egg wash, and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking until golden brown and dry, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, cream, chocolate chips, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until it develops a sauce-like consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep warm.
- Cut the cream puffs in half. Fill the bottom half with a spoonful of ice cream, then press the other half on top. Arrange them in a pyramid shape on a large serving platter. Drizzle with the warm chocolate sauce at the table and serve.