To me, profiteroles are something special. They are light, they have chocolate, they have creme anglaise. If they are made correctly, the crispness of the pastry coupled with the light flavour of the cream dipped in hot chocolate sauce are a luscious climax to any meal.
And you can jazz up that rich offering in countless ways. Imagine if you pour a little caramel drizzle onto a plate, place your profiteroles, drizzle some extra sauce on top and then snap some chunks of fudge over this. Now doesn’t that sound like heaven?
1 cup cold water
4 teaspoons fine sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup of plain flour
Pinch of salt
3 medium eggs
For the cream filling
2 cups of whipping cream
Zest from one orange
For the chocolate sauce
½ cup fine sugar
½ cup whipping cream
1 packet of dark semi-sweet chocolate,
broken into pieces
Pour the water, sugar and butter into a large saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted, then turn up the heat and quickly add the flour and salt.
Remove from the heat and using a wooden spoon beat the mixture vigorously until a smooth paste is formed and the mixture falls away from the sides of the saucepan. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Beat the eggs, blending them together. Slowly add a little of the beaten eggs to the cooled mixture and beat until you have a smooth, glossy and soft dropping consistency – you may not need to add all three beaten eggs to achieve the consistency you are looking for.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place a small roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat.
Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Using a piping bag and plain circular one centimetre nozzle, pipe the mixture into small balls in rows across the baking sheet. Gently rub the top of each ball with a wet finger; this helps to make a crisper top.
Place the baking pan in the oven. Before closing the oven door, pour a cup of water into the roasting tin at the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. This will help create more steam in the oven and make the pastry rise better. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden-brown. If the profiteroles are too pale they will become soggy when cool.
Once cooked, remove from the oven. Prick the base of each profiterole with a skewer. Place the profiteroles back on the baking sheet with the hole in the base facing upwards and return to the oven for five minutes. The warm air from the oven helps to dry out the middle of the profiteroles. Once your five minutes is up, remove and leave to thoroughly cool.
Whip the cream with the orange zest until soft peaks form. Once the profiteroles are cold, use the piping bag to pipe the cream into the holes in the profiteroles, filling them completely.
Place some water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to allow water to simmer. Place the broken chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl and set it over the simmering water. Stir the chocolate occasionally, until melted. Take the pan off the heat, pour the remaining cream into the chocolate and stir until smooth and well combined.
Serve the stuffed profiteroles on individual plates and pour some chocolate sauce on top.