It's been a while since I baked and posted along with the 'TWD : Baking with Julia' group. I can list a number of excuses for my absence but frankly, procrastination, as it usually does, got the better of me. But, this month's choice of espresso profiteroles got me back in the groove.
I'll admit it ... I am completely taken in with the French style of baking. Right from the quaint names to the drama (almost always) involved in the technique to the flair in the presentation and finally, to the superlative taste.. I am hopelessly sold!! It's a different matter that with my clumsy fingers, I doubt I'll ever achieve their level of finesse. But, a girl can always dream!!
Choux pastry or pâte à choux is a classic French pastry and has been on my 'to-do' list for a long time. At some point, everyone has had a profiterole or a cream puff as they are known in the States. It would have been a small, hollow pastry puff, filled with sweetened cream and chocolate sauce drizzled all over it.
This version from the book, is a espresso variation of the classic, filled with cinnamon ice cream and topped with a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.
So, how did the choux pastry come together?? Surprisingly, it was quite easy to put together. I am always one to put practicality first and if something feels too technically tedious, I have no qualms of buying it from the market. But, the choux pastry was a pleasant surprise, as long as you followed the recipe's instructions. It is not one of those recipes that is tried once as an academic exercise and then conveniently forgotten. Neither is it time-consuming nor tedious, that is discounting all the vigorous stirring one's gotta do.
The final product is a lot darker than your regular profiteroles, owing to the espresso in the pastry. The recipe recommends filling them with ice-cream, a completely impractical option in hot and humid India. So, instead, I filled them with chocolate cream and gave them a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce. Another change I made was that instead of cutting them in half and filling them as the recipe suggests, I made a hole in the bottom and filled these puffs with cream.
The espresso hides any eggy taste that you might encounter as this recipe uses a fair share of eggs. You can get creative, and fill these with custard or crème patisserie or even, lemon curd. The pastry shells were light, hollow and smothered with all that chocolate goodness, there is not much you can dislike about them.
So, what does one do when faced with a platter full of profiteroles that have chocolate sauce seductively drizzled all over them.. you simply give in!! Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who said, "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it!!"
From the book, 'Baking with Julia'
Makes 12-16 servings of 3 profiteroles each.
Makes 12-16 servings of 3 profiteroles each.
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground espresso beans (I used 1 tablespoon of espresso powder)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 6 large eggs
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of cold water (for egg wash).
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C.
- Put the milk, coffee, butter, sugar, and espresso powder in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally till butter melts and mixture comes to a full boil.
- Add all of the flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Stir until all of the flour has been incorporated and the dough forms into a ball and a light crust forms on the bottom of the pan, about 45 seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the paste into a medium bowl. Then, mix in one egg at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition, till incorporated.
- Once all of the eggs have been added, you should have a soft, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip.
- Pipe quarter-sized puffs onto parchment lined baking sheets. If your puffs have pointed tops, just pat them down with a wet finger.
- Give each of the pastries an egg wash. Bake at 200ºC for 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets at the 10 minute mark.
- After 20 minutes, lower temperature to 175ºC and bake for 5-7 minutes more, until the pastries are golden brown and feel hollow.
- Transfer the sheets to cooling racks and allow the puffs to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, you can either slice these in half or make a hole in the bottom and pipe in a filling of your choice. Then, drizzle over chocolate ganache/fudge sauce of your choice.