Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Profiteroles

Adapted from The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child

This looks hard. It isn't; it's just sort of long. But it's worth it when the first guest swoons with pleasure. This is a good book with many good recipes, such this and this really excellent instructions.

Pâté à Choux (Cream Puff Pastry)

1 cup water
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour (measure by sifting directly into dry measure cup; sweep off excess flour)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 large eggs

Place the water, butter, and sugar in the saucepan, and bring to the boil. When the butter has melted, and the water is bubbling, remove the sauce from the heat. Immediately pour in the flour all at once, and beat with a wooden spoon to blend thoroughly. Set the pan back over moderate heat ,and continue beating with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of pan clean, leaves the spoon clean, and films on bottom of pan. Remove the pan from heat again. Make a depression in the center of the mixture, and break an egg directly into it. Immediately beat thoroughly until the egg is absorbed. Continue with the rest of the eggs, beating them in one by one until they are all thoroughly absorbed.

This is now a pâté à choux. You should use it while it's still warm or you will find it too stiff to handle.

Forming and Baking Small Puffs

2 lightly buttered baking sheets (14 by 18 inches if possible)
A pastry bag with ½-inch tube or a soup spoon (I use a spoon)
2 cups choux paste (above recipe)
1 egg and ½ teaspoon water beaten in a small bowl
A pastry brush

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. With a place spoon, form "circular blobs "of choux paste about 1 inch in diameter and 1 inch high, and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Glaze tops of each "blob" with egg, pushing them into shape, if necessary, with the flat of your pastry brush. Be careful not to let glaze dribble down sides of puffs onto baking sheet. It will affect how well your puffs rise.

Bake in upper- and lower-middle levels of preheated oven until puffs are a nice golden brown and crisp to the touch. They should double in size. This will take about 20 minutes. When the puffs are done, turn the oven off. Remove the pans from the oven, pierce each puff with a knife to release steam, and return to turned-off hot oven for 10 minutes to dry out. (Julia Child says cooled baked puffs may be frozen, and I, for one, would never dispute what she says; however, I have never tried hat.)

Chocolate Sauce

The easiest chocolate sauce is to heat heavy cream in the microwave and then add bittersweet chocolate to the heated cream and whisk it until it is melted and smooth. Use the quantities of each to get it chocolately enough and to make enough sauce. It is delicious but not shiny. I am going to try some other sauces to see if I can find a shiny one. The chef Nancy Silverton has a recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce that is reputed to be wonderful, but I have never tried it so can’t pass along the recipe.

For the Profiteroles

I usually stuff them with Haagen-Dazs vanilla (not vanilla bean) ice cream, but their coffee is also wonderful as is Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistacho (pistachio ice cream with pistachios). The choice of ice cream is limited only by your imagination

3 comments:

  1. Good God, Vic. Do you ever sleep. I will have to make MY profiteroles for you sometime. Mine are stuffed with lobster, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and morels. I put it on a bed of orange, balsamic spinach and top it with vanilla saffron cream. Not too bad!!

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  2. An interesting sidenote to my profiterole.....I created that dish about 3 days after 9/11 as a tribute to the Window's on the World employee who lost their lives on that tragic day. I donated all of the proceeds of that dish to a fund set up for them. I worked out the whole recipe in my head in about 3 minutes and made it. It was and remains the best dish I've ever created.

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  3. Christopher,

    What a great idea to do a savory profiterole. I guess gougere are really savory cheese puffs so it makes sense to expand on that idea, but it never occurred to me. Your creation sounds wonderful. Do you think you could use crabmeat instead of lobster? You should try the raised waffle recipe because I think it would be great topped with something savory, and your combination sounds fantastic.

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