Foolproof choux pastry/ profiteroles
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Profiteroles, choux buns, cream puffs - they are known under different names but all mean the same - small parcels of delight:)
If you try them at least once you know exactly what I mean. This French dessert is just delicious and warning!!! - very addictive - you cannot eat just one.
What are they exactly? They are small buns hollow inside that can be filled with your favourite cream. Initially they are crispy and with time - after filling - they become super soft so you can enjoy them in two different forms. And if that is not enough to start baking..... I will add that you can dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkle some chopped nuts on top! Mouthwatering...;)
Let me explain how to do those small miracles.
250ml of milk
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2. Whipped cream
300 ml of double cream
3 tablespoons of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
(for around 22 buns)
2 eggs (around 125g)
62.5g all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar (only in sweet version)
container for custard
piping bag (optional)
Firstly you need to make the custard as it needs to be chilled for at least 2-3 hours before making the filling. I usually prepare it previous evening so it is well set in the fridge overnight.
To make the custard you place the pan over the low heat and put milk, sugar and vanilla extract inside. While the milk is heating up, you mix the egg yolks and cornstarch together to create a smooth paste. When the milk boils, take it out off the heat and start to pour in small portion into the yolk paste mixing all the time (check the video). When the paste dissolves well and has a liquid form you can put the remaining milk back on the heat and add the yolk mixture to it. Whisk the mixture while heating gently until it thickens up. When the custard is ready you can transfer it to the dish and cover all surface of the custard with a cling film while it is still hot - so the film touches the whole surface - this way you avoid the thin crust that appears on the custard when it cools down. Leave the custard to cool down and then put it into the fridge for at least 2-3 hours or preferably overnight so it sets well.
Heat up the oven to 180oC with fan.
To make the choux pastry you need to weight the eggs first. It is very important as to make a perfect choux pastry all ingredients are determined by weight proportion - 2 parts eggs - 2 parts water - 1 part flour - 1 part butter What it means in easy version is: you weight the eggs - in my video the eggs were exactly 125g. Then you take exactly the same amount of water - in my case 125g, half of that (62.5g) of flour and also half (62.5g) of butter.
When you have all ingredients ready, put the pan on the low heat and add water, butter and sugar to it. The butter needs to melt completely and then you take the pan off the heat and add all the flour. Mix very thoroughly so no dry flour remains. Return the pan to the heat and cook the mixture for about 2-3 minutes mixing all the time so it does not burn.
Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for around 5 minutes to cool down slightly before you add the eggs. Mix the eggs with a fork to combine yolks and whites. When the flour mixture cools down add the eggs - half at a time and whisk quite vigorously to combine them with the rest of the mixture. When one part is integrated well add the other half of the eggs and repeat. The end result dough should be quite thick and sticky (check the video).
You can place the pastry in the piping bag in order to create the buns but you might also use two spoons to put small balls of pastry on the baking tray. I prefer to use the silicon sheet as the buns do not stick to it while baking, but you can use a metal baking tray and coat it in a thin layer of butter. You place the small balls of pastry on the tray leaving at least 2-3 cm space between them - they expand while baking. When you have all of them ready - use some water and your fingertip to flatten up the top of the buns as the tip would burn while baking. I also sprinkle some water on the whole tray as while it evaporates in the oven it makes the buns more crispy.
Put the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until nicely browned. You cannot open the oven doors for the first 20 minutes as the buns will collapse. After 25 minutes you can open the doors and check the buns - use your nail to tap them - if they are crispy and stiff - do not change form when touched - you can take them out of the oven.
When still hot - you need to make a small holes in the bottom of the buns to let the steam out. Then set them aside to cool down before filling them.
To make the filling put the double cream, sugar and vanilla extract in the mixing bowl and whisk until almost whipped. Add the cold custard and whip again until you receive the homogeneous mixture - around 30 seconds.
In order to fill the profiteroles you can use the piping bag but you may also just cut them in half and put the cream inside.
I like to dip the profiteroles in melted chocolate and sometimes to indulge myself I also sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts on top. But they are absolutely delicious just with the cream or icing sugar on top.