Back in the olden days, when the Responsible Adult’s dear old Mum was still alive, she got me to make her Profiteroles. She would use any excuse, Christmas, her Birthday, Mothers Day. I sometimes wondered where I would find time to do some weeding. Anyway, when I was telling my youngest’s gorgeous gal-pal about this, she didn’t believe that I could make them – but they’re easy peasy. Choux Pastry is about the easiest thing you will ever make. And people love to eat the stuff. Here’s how, with plenty of pics for you.
But before you even think about this, get your oven going. You want it 220c or 430f – that’s right, good and hot.
Start off by measuring a cup of flour, and sift it onto a bit of baking paper (you want it on baking paper to be able add it all at once in a minute).
Now put a cup of water and 75 grams (or 3 ounces – or 5 tablespoons – or a third of a cup – depending on where you come from) of butter in a saucepan to heat up and melt.
When the butter has melted, dump the flour in. Don’t be fussy, just get it in and start mixing with your wooden spoon. It will all come together – and that’s when you stop mixing. Only takes a couple of secs.
It should look a bit like the pic above. Now here comes the only bit that could possibly be the tiniest bit tricky, but stay with me, I’ll talk you through it. You’re supposed to add 4 eggs one at a time. The problem is, who knows how big the eggs should be? 4 really small eggs might be like 2 really big eggs. So here’s what I’d like you to do the first time. Add 3 medium eggs and forget the fourth. You can muck around and experiment next time, but this time I want your Choux pastry to work out. So, in with 3 eggs and use one of those electric beater thingies. I bought mine about 30 years ago from a cheap chain store and its still going strong. Now the point is too few eggs and you loose a certain richness. Too many eggs and your mix won’t stand up. You want a stiff mix. Next time you can experiment all you want, but for now just stick with 3 eggs and make a really stiff mix.
Now remember that bit of baking paper you used for the sifted flour? Hope you didn’t toss it out, because you want to put that on a baking tray, grease it up a bit, then lump on your pastry mix. What you want is a ball shape. You can see I didn’t spend a lot of time on mine – if you make it too round, people will think they came from a bakery. Use 2 tablespoons to make your shape, or 2 teaspoons if you feel like making a whole lot of little ones.
Bang it into that hot oven. In theory, you want it in a hot oven for 10 minutes, then turn down to a moderate oven for a further 15 minutes. But as I have recommended a dry mix for your first batch, I would like you to check after about 5 minutes and turn it down then. The drier the mix, the quicker it will cook. You can see mine got a bit burnt here and there. Don’t worry, once I pour some chocolate over them nobody will know. A shiraz or two and I’ll forget myself. Here’s another important bit. When you take them out of the oven, you want to put them on a rack to cool. As you take each one off the tray, stab it with a small sharp knife to let out any steam that has formed in the cavity.
So here they are. If you’re feeling extra kind, you could now make a nice custard to go inside. As we have a local dairy that sells Jersey cream, I just whack in whipped cream (obviously when they have cooled). Then it’s melt some chocolate to put on top and there you go. A word about the chocolate – I use 70% cocoa chocolate given that there is a bucket of cream in each one. The guaranteed way to successfully melt chocolate is to boil water in the bottom of a double boiler. When the water has come to the boil, remove from the heat and put the top on with your broken up chocolate. Just stir and stir and stir. No need for anymore heat, the chocolate will melt nicely. If you are really keen, then after that, melt a tiny bit of white chocolate to wave about over the top to make thin, pretty white lines.
Anyway, that’s the batch I made for my youngest’s gorgeous gal-pal’s birthday. She seemed reasonably happy to see them.