Monday, 7 October 2013

Perfect profiteroles


Just for the record, I made 50 of these on Saturday night, and they were gone by Monday night.

It is week three of my domestic independence here in London, and I've not had food poisoning, so all is well. To take a break from the long school days and exercise some productivity, I decided to bake some profiteroles, which doesn't require complicated ingredients nor much fancy equipment, perfect for a new-ish kitchen.


Perfect Profiteroles
makes ~30 small profiteroles
(adapted from essential desserts)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Extra equipment

Piping bag with long, narrow nozzle (How to make a DIY piping bag)

Ingredients

Choux Pastry:
50g (1¾ oz) butter
90g (3¼ oz/ ¾ cup)plain all-purpose flour, sifted twice
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Filling:
375ml (13 fl oz/ 1½ cups) milk
4 egg yolks
80g (2¾ oz/ ⅓ cup) caster sugar
30g  (1 oz/ ¼ cup) plain all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
110g (3¾ oz) dark chocolate
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Instructions

To make the filling:
1. Put the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Set aside while quickly whisking the yolks and sugar in a bowl until combined.
2. Whisk the flour into the egg mixture.
3. Pour the hot milk slowly onto the egg and flour mixture, whisking constantly.
4. Wash out the pan, return the milk mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture boils and thickens. Boil for two minutes, stirring often.
5. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and stir in the vanilla extract.
6. Lay plastic wrap directly over the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming, then refrigerate until cold.

To make the choux pastry:
1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC, set on fan mode, and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. (210ºC for regular oven setting)
2. Put the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan with 185ml (6fl oz/ ¾ cup) water and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and quickly beat in the flour with a wooden spoon.
3. Return to the heat and continue beating until the mixture comes together in a lump and leaves the sides of the pan easily. Allow to cool slightly.
4. Transfer to a bowl (I used a standing mixer for this) and beat to release as much heat as you can. Very gradually add in beaten egg, until all the egg is added and mixture is thick and glossy – a wooden spoon should stand upright in it. If it is too runny, egg has been added to quickly, and you have to beat for several more minutes until it thickens.
5. Sprinkle the baking trays with water to create steam for rising the pastry in the oven.
6. Spoon rather small heaps (they rise a lot) of the mixture onto the baking trays, and leave room for spreading.
7. Bake for roughly 20 minutes, (20-25 for regular oven setting) or until browned and hollow-sounding, then remove and make a small hole in the base of each puff with a skewer. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to dry out. Cool on a wire rack, bottom-side up.

Filling the choux pastry:
1. Pipe the custard filling generously into the choux puffs with your smallest long piping nozzle through the hole in the base. The weight of the profiterole should increase noticeably after filled.

To make chocolate topping:
1. Chop the chocolate and put it in a large heatproof bowl with the oil.
2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and remove it from the heat, and sit the bowl over the saucepan, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water.
3. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Finally...
1. Dip the top of each profiterole in the chocolate.
2. Allow to set or refrigerate in airtight containers before serving.


It was actually pretty easy to do, just quite time-consuming! But it's all worth it, plus you get to lick custard out of the saucepan and the piping bag. Also, don't forget that remaining chocolate dipping, which deserves to be eaten straight out of the bowl with a spoon!

On a side note, I was really lucky to have the sun shining gloriously into my bedroom the next day, through my sheer white curtains, onto a broad windowsill – is this the perfect food-photography setup or what? Who needs fancy studio lights? (Okay, granted, I had a DSLR camera on a tripod with big fat zoom lens)


Let's just hope that the sun decides to shine every time I bake something new. London, be generous!
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