Saturday, November 1, 2008

Finally made them - Profiteroles

I think it was in the beginning of this summer when I was in Prague for work again and a co-worker hosted a party at his place that was catered by this old Czech lady, who apparently has catered for our office-parties for decades.
The food was nice but my knees didn't start trembling until it was dessert time and they brought out the profiteroles. I'd never had one before (although my mom did make a lot of eclairs when I was a kid and they're pretty similar.
Anyway, this lady's profiteroles were fantastic (probably a large part of her everlasting success as our Prague caterer, as I understand that they're always prepared for dessert) and I've been meaning to make them ever since.
For a while, before I had actually looked into how to make them, I was under the impression that it'd be quite a hassle. Which it's absolutely not. Choux pastry is one of the easiest ones to make and I have a long-standing relationship with it. I don't know if I've confessed this here, but I've always liked eating raw dough. Cookie dough, gingerbread dough, short-crust dough, but most of all choux. To be quite honest, there was a period in my life when I made it in little batches after coming home from school just to eat it. Weird, I know.

But back to the profiteroles now. I decided to fill mine with custard - actually the milk-based dessert they sell in yoghurt jar's over here under the name 'pudding'. I really like it, it's relatively light and I didn't feel like filling them with whipped cream or some cream-cheese / cottage-cheese cream.

Toffee-custard filled profiteroles (Karamellipudingiga profiteroolid):
makes 20 - 30 (serves 4 generously)

Choux dough:
125 ml milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
50 g real butter (80%)
60 g sieved flour
2 eggs

250 ml of cream / custard.
I used the custard / pudding they sell here, but it is very similar in taste to vanilla-sauce or custard.
Can be filled with whipped cream (season with vanilla or whatever else you like).
Mascarpone cream (mixed whipped cream + mascarpone + spices)
Cottage-cheese cream (paste of cottage cheese + spices)
Or you can make them savory by using a salty filling, but let's leave that for another time.

Heat the oven to 200C.
Whisk the eggs and set aside.
Combine milk, sugar, salt and butter in a saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted, then quickly whisk in the flour. The flour will start clumping and will very quickly end up a big, smooth ball that cleanly comes away from the sides of the pan.
That's when it’s time to remove the pan from the heat and slowly in 2 or 3 batches, beat in the whisked eggs into the still-hot dough.

Put the dough into a plastic bag (good if you have a nozzle - I didn't) and squeeze out balls of dough onto a baking pan lined with baking paper. One ball should be with the diameter of 2-3 cm.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, so they're golden-brown and crisp. Cool. They should be hollow inside.

To fill them, but small hole in each choux bun with a tip of the knife.
Heat some chocolate over some boiling water.

Fill another plastic bag with whatever filling you're using and fill each choux-pastry with the filling and then cover it with chocolate (if you're making sweet ones that is).

They're fabulous. And depending on the filling, not really that sinful in terms of the calories (the entire 250 g jar of that custard/pudding I used is 230 kcal and that's enough for all of those 30 lovely profiteroles).

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