Sunday, February 23, 2014

ChezCindy: Profiteroles for Dessert

Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Sauce

Profiteroles are a French pastry dessert which are filled with ice cream and served with warm chocolate sauce.  Kind of a grown up ice cream sandwich.  The dough, called pate a choux or choux pastry, is easy to make even for beginners.  The pastry dough is formed into round mounds onto a baking sheet.  While baking, it puffs up creating big air bubbles, that form the inner space to be filled.  The baked shells freeze well, and can be reheated in the oven to crisp up the outer shell. 

Choux Pastry Dough
1 cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
pinch of kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat the milk, butter and pinch of salt over medium heat until the milk is scalded and the butter is melted.  Add in the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, until it comes together to form a dough.  The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. 
Transfer the hot flour mixture to a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse 2-3 times to disperse some of the heat.  Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick and smooth. 

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Secure the parchment paper by placing a tiny bit of dough on each corner of the baking sheet, pressing the paper to stick to the dough.  This step will keep the paper in place and prevent it from sliding.  Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip.  Working with 2 prepared baking sheets, pipe the dough into mounds, spacing about an inch apart.  Or you can use 2 spoons to scoop out the dough and shape into round mounds.  With a wet finger, lightly press out any tips or peaks to create a smooth surface top.  Bake for 18 minutes, rotating the pans half way through the baking time.  Turn off the oven, allow the puffs to remain in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape. 

Chocolate Sauce
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cognac (optional)
Place the cream into a small sauce pan; heat until cream just begins to boil.  Turn off the heat.  Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into small pieces, place into a heat-proof bowl.  Add the honey to the chocolate.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let the mixture sit for 30 seconds allowing the chocolate to begin to melt.  Whisk the mixture until smooth.  Add the teaspoon of cognac, if using, whisk to combine.  Store in a glass container. 
To make the profiteroles:  Cut in half across the profiterole puff.  Fill with ice cream.  Replace the top and drizzle with warm chocolate sauce.