My sister's 30th birthday party was a great excuse for me to attempt to make profiteroles. I have made them before but it has been a few years!
I thought that I would try a new recipe, fresh from the French Lessons cookbook by Justin North that Chad and I received as a wedding gift.
I quite like the format of the book. Rather than being just a collection of recipes, it is a collection of techniques as well and gives you the basics for all sorts of different things.
100g plain flour, sifted
four eggs, lightly beaten
40mL thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
10g plain flour
Combine the water, salt, sugar and butter in a lage heavy-based saucepan and heat gently over a moderate heat until the butter melts. Bring to the boil. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough is smooth.
Lower the heat and continue to beat the dough for another couple of minutes. It wil begin to thicken and dry until eventually it will come away from the side of the pan in a ball. Tip the dough into the bowl of your electric mixer and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, gradulaly add the eggs, a quarter at a time. Beat well after each addition so that it is thoroughly incorporated before you add the next. Continue beating until you have a smooth paste, the texture of a stiff cake mix. Use straight away.
Put the milk, cream and vanilla into a heavy-based sacuepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes.
Put the egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixer and whisk to the riboon stage. Foold in the sifted flour and cornflour.
Pour a third of the hot liquid onto the egg mixture and whisk gently to combine. Pour back into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk and cook gently over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, whisking ll the time. The custard will thicken to a stiff and glosy smooth paste.
Remove from the heat and stand the pan in a sink of iced water. Whisk vigorously to beat out any lumps.
- Previous recipes that I have used have talked about "dropping consistency" for the pastry. I think the pastry I made was too sloppy and it did not pipe very well. Next time I will be a bit more observant as to the texture
- The recipe book did not include cooking instructions for the pastry. I had to scout around to look for some inspiration. I think I cooked for about half an hour at 220C. Once they were cooked I removed them from the oven and cooled them on a wire rack. I used a skewer to push a hole into the side of each puff to let steam escape, supposedly this stops them from getting soggy.
- The pastry cream filled about two thirds of the cases, so I would need to make more if I wish to fill them all! Thankfully E made pavlova and I ended up with her left over egg yolks
- I forgot to add the flour to the egg yolks and instead added it to the mixed custard. There were small lumps in the custard when I had finished. If I was being fussy then I would have sieved it however I figured that they would not be too noticeable hidden in the texture of the pastry
- The cookbook discusses cream and explains that when cream is mentioned in the recipes, the default that they are intending is minimum 35% fat. When I buy thickened cream I check the ingredients and make sure to buy the cream that is not thickened naturally and not using gelatine
- I filled my profiteroles using a plastic icing syringe. Once they were filled I dipped them in some melted dark chocolate and let it set.