Profiteroles and Cream Puffs Recipe
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without profiteroles/cream puffs or eclairs. A couple of years ago on Teenie Cakes, I mentioned that eclairs became a dessert tradition in our family and that as a teen, I carried the torch to make those delectable pastry cream stuffed lovelies every year. This year I made them in the shape of profiteroles, also known as cream puffs. I’m almost ashamed to share how many I’ve eaten in the last couple of days and that my stomach is starting to look like a cream puff…BUT oh is it so worth it to me!
This pastry confection is light and airy with a firm shell. It’s smeared with the sweetness of chocolate glaze and chilled vanilla pastry cream. You’ll want to lick up any dribbles of custard that will likely ooze through the sides of the pastry as you sink your teeth through the shell and wash through the cream. Your taste buds will surrender to the delicate balance of texture and flavor combination perfection.
I think it’s time for another profiterole break!
I’m using a slightly different recipe here for the choux paste than the ones I used for the eclairs during my Darking Bakers Challenge in 2008. I’m including the Chocolate Glaze and Chocolate Sauce I’ve used and shared before.
There are four main components in the final assembly of these sophisticated pastries:
Make the Choux pastry.
Make the pastry cream.
Make the chocolate sauce.
Make the chocolate glaze (includes adding the finished chocolate sauce).
This is one of those recipes and desserts that whole-heartedly deserves the time and effort you invest in it. You won’t be disappointed homemaking all the components, familiarizing and perfecting working with choux pastry. If you haven’t worked with choux pastry before, I encourage you to do some further reading and watch some videos on the subject. Once you’re comfortable with the process, you’ll be armed to create more French pastry delicacies like eclairs, croquembouches, beignets and crullers/twisters.
The vanilla pastry cream uses 6 egg yolks. With all those leftover egg whites, store in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. You now have egg whites for a batch of French macarons!
To assemble the Profiteroles/Cream Puffs
• Chocolate glaze (see below)
• Pastry cream (see below)
Pipe the pastry cream into the slits you created during baking. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry.
The glaze should be barely warm to the touch. Spread the glaze over the tops of
the filled puffs using a metal icing spatula.
If you are serving later in the day, let the chocolate cool after you’ve glazed the puffs. Use plastic wrap or a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
The cream puffs can be served as soon as they have been filled. However, I like to serve mine when the pastry cream is cold/chilled. Serving chilled brings out the flavors in the shells, chocolate and pastry cream.
Choux Paste (Pâte à Choux Puffs)
source modified & adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook (1980) by Zoe Coulson
Makes about 18-20 profiteroles/cream puffs
(Depending on the size of mounds you create)
Ingredients for Choux Paste
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
Prepare 2 large cookie sheets with non-stick spray OR silicon baking mats.
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, heat butter, water and salt until butter mixture boils. Remove from heat.
Add flour all at once. With wooden spoon, vigorously stir until mixture forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add eggs to flour mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until smooth. Cool mixture slightly.
Use a large spoon and rubber spatula, drop batter onto cookie sheets in large mounds, 3 inches apart, swirling top of each. Bake 50 minutes. Cut slit in side of each shell and bake 10 minutes longer. Turn off oven; dry shells in oven 10 minutes. Cool on rack.
Puffs can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
source from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook (1980) by Zoe Coulson
- Makes about 4 2/3 cups
- Ingredients for Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
In a medium sized saucepan, combine sugar, flour and salt; stir in the milk. Over medium heat, cook, stirring until mixture thickens and boils – about 10 minutes. Boil 1 minute.
In a small bowl with a fork, beat 6 egg yolks slightly. Beat a small amount of milk mixture into the egg yolks. Slowly pour egg mixture back into milk mixture, stirring. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats back of spoon, about 8-10 minutes (do not boil!). To check for correct thickness: Dip a spoon in the mixture and lift from mixture, holding for 15 seconds. The spoon should not show through the mixture. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 2+ hours.
In a small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold cream into the custard.
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
Makes 1 cup
1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.
If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
Makes 1½ cups
4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 g) water
½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.
You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.
What to do with those leftover egg whites?