Profiteroles with Custard Cream and Chocolate Sauce

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I believe that if we write too many words about Profiteroles, we will ruin the experience of enjoying them. So let’s just conjure up a few words to describe them: liquid chocolate draped over a soft pouch filled with tender cream; producing images from childhood that the world was almost perfect and nothing could go wrong. Did I destroy the experience with too many words? I hope not.

Profiteroles straight out of the oven

IMG_5293Profiteroles are wonderful, however because they can be a little tricky to make (especially the choux pastry dough), I am providing step-by-step instructions. If they don’t turn out perfect the first time, don’t be discouraged- keep on trying. They will still be delicious!

(Also, please see my post Profiteroles Re-visited for more tips)!

The Recipe – with Tips!  (see printable version below)

Choux Pastry

  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 1/3 cup (6 tbsp.) butter, cubed
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3-4 eggs

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 F (220 C). Combine water and butter in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  • Remove pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. In one go, add these dry ingredients to the water/butter mixture. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and falls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Tip: It’s important to let the dough cool a little, otherwise you may ‘cook’ the eggs when you add them in the next step! To help the dough cool, I work it back and forth a little using the back of a spoon.

    Stir until the dough falls away from the sides of the pan

    Stir until the dough falls away from the sides of the pan

  • Beginning with three eggs, beat in one egg at a time, stirring in each egg until the dough is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated into the mixture. After the third egg, the dough should be elastic and fall easily away from your spoon or spatula.  If the dough is still a bit stiff, then add another 1/2 egg or another full egg until the dough reaches the right consistency; the dough should not be ‘runny’ like pancake batter, but smooth and elastic.
  • Tip: If your dough winds up being too ‘runny’, then try adding a little more flour.
After adding the eggs, the dough should be smooth and elastic- not runny.

After adding the eggs, the dough should be smooth and elastic- not runny.

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a large tipped nozzle, pipe balls of dough onto the tray (spaced at least 2 inches apart), using about 2 tbsp. of dough for each ball. Pipe in concentric circles starting from the center and working outwards. Smooth down the ‘pointy tip’ of the dough ball using a wet finger.
  • Tip: don’t make the puff balls too big- about 2.5 inches in diameter is a good size. To pipe your balls, you could also fill a large Ziploc bag with the dough and pipe the balls from a small hole cut from the corner of the bag.
Pipe the dough using a piping bag with a large nozzle hole.

Pipe the dough using a piping bag with a large nozzle hole.

  • Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C), then lower the temperature to 375 F. (190 C.) for the remaining 10-15 minutes. The pastry balls will be done when they puff up and become golden. Each ball should feel light and airy, with a crisp exterior.
  • Tip: In order to achieve the crisp exterior of the puff balls, you need to first put them into the oven with a high temperature of f 425 F (220 C) and bake for about 10 minutes, before lowering the temperature. Otherwise, your puff balls will probably deflate quickly after they come out of the oven. However, even if they do deflate, don’t worry, they will still taste good!
The puff balls should be crisp on the outside when baked.

The puff balls should be crisp on the outside when baked.

  • Remove the tray from the oven and turn off the oven; slit a small hole in the base of each pastry ball to release any steam. Return the tray to the oven for another few minutes to dry out the inside of the puff balls.

The Custard Cream Filling

  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup heavy cream)
  • 2 tsp vanilla flavouring
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) flour

Directions

  • Warm the milk, cream and vanilla flavoring together over medium heat- do not boil.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks, then add the flour.
  • Over medium heat, gradually add small amounts of the egg/sugar mixture to the milk/cream mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens-  then place in the fridge until chilled- the custard will continue to thicken as it chills.
  • Tip: Make sure the temperature of your milk/cream mixture is not too hot as you add the egg/sugar mixture, otherwise the eggs may start to ‘curdle.’ After thickening,the custard should still be able to pour easily; if it becomes too thick, then add a bit more cream or milk.
The custard should still be able to pour easily- if too thick, add more cream or milk.

The custard should still be able to pour easily- if too thick, add more cream or milk.

  • When the custard has chilled, lift the top of each puff ball with you fingers and spoon 1-2 tsps. of custard into each ball. Alternatively, you could pipe the custard into each puff ball, however I feel it is easiest to simply ‘spoon’ it in.
Lift the top of each puff ball and fill with custard.

Lift the top of each puff ball and fill with custard.

Chocolate Sauce

  • 113 g (3/4 cup) dark semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 65 ml (1/4cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Directions

  • Over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Mix in the cream and sugar and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • To serve, place one or two cream puffs on a plate and cover with a little chocolate sauce.
  • Tip: You could also melt the chocolate by putting it in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. This will prevent the chocolate from heating up too quickly and ‘seizing’ (that is, turning into a hard, grainy lump).

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! Also, this is my ‘most popular post’, so I’d love to hear how your profiteroles turned out- please leave a comment below!

 

4.6 from 8 reviews
Profiteroles with Custard Cream and Chocolate Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Soft pastry puffs filled with custard cream and filled with a rich chocolate sauce
Ingredients
  • For the Choux Pastry
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • ⅓ cup (6 tbsp.) butter, cubed
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 - 4 large eggs
  • For the Custard Cream Filling
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla favoring
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) flour
  • For the Chocolate Sauce
  • 113 g (3/4 cup) dark baking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 65 ml (1/4 cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbs. sugar
Instructions
  1. For the Choux Pastry:
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (220 C.)
  3. Combine water and butter in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  4. Remove pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. In one go, add these dry ingredients to the water/butter mixture.
  5. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and falls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Beginning with three eggs, beat in one egg at a time, stirring in each egg until the dough mixture is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated. After the third egg, the dough should be elastic and fall easily away from your spoon or spatula. If the dough is still a bit stiff, then add another ½ egg or another full egg until the dough reaches the right consistency; the dough should not be 'runny' like pancake batter but smooth and elastic.
  7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a large tipped nozzle, pipe balls of dough onto the tray (spaced at least 2 inches apart), using about 2 tbsp. of dough for each ball. Pipe in concentric circles starting from the center and working outwards.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C), then lower the temperature to 375 F. (190 C.) for the remaining 10-15 minutes. The pastry balls will be done when they puff up and become golden. Each ball should feel light and airy.
  9. Turn off oven and remove the tray from the oven; slit a small hole in the base of each pastry ball to release any steam. Return the tray to the oven for another few minutes to dry out the insides of the pastry puffs.
  10. For the Custard Cream Filling:
  11. Warm the milk, cream and vanilla flavouring together over medium heat- do not boil.
  12. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks for at least 30 seconds until the mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow in color, then add the flour.
  13. Over medium heat, gradually whisk in the egg/sugar mixture to the milk/cream mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens- if the custard is so thick that it will not pour easily, then add a little more milk or cream. Place in the fridge until chilled; the custard will continue to thicken some as it chills.
  14. To fill each puff ball with custard, lift open the top of each pastry ball and fill with 1 -2 tbsp. of custard.
  15. For the Chocolate Sauce:
  16. Over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Mix in the cream and sugar and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  17. To serve, place one or two pastries on a plate and cover with chocolate sauce.

Tomales with Chile Sauce- Hello San Diego!

 

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 Back in San Diego, California

 After spending more than 30 years in Adelaide, South Australia, Len and I decided to shift back to San Diego, as part of our plan to spend part of the year in the U.S. and part of the year in Australia. Yes, the sun does shine a lot in Southern California, and while a lot of the country is suffering with heat and humidity, we are enjoying the mild summer here with cool ocean breezes.

We felt we had definitely landed in San Diego when we realized we were the only customers (out of about 50) who were speaking English in a cable T.V. store that we were visiting. With a large Hispanic population, you are more apt to hear Spanish being spoken in Southern California, rather than English.

So, what better way to celebrate our visit to San Diego, than to cook up some Mexican recipes from scratch! Here is a recipe for Pork Tamales in Chile Sauce, using soft shredded pork wrapped around a rich cornmeal dough (called masa in Spanish) and topped with a spicy chili (chile) sauce.

The tamale dough is made from a Corn Masa Mix, which is ground corn treated with lime. I drove to a special Mexican grocery store near the Mexican border to buy this mix and then the next day saw this was sold in all supermarkets here!

So go on, toss out those old El Paso instant taco seasoning mixes (like I did) and grind up your own chiles to make up your own delicious Mexican dishes from scratch!

Note:  I found that the first batch of tamales turned out rather bland, so I kept on adding enough chile powder and cumin to the shredded pork to get the taste to my liking.

Pork Tamales in Chile Sauce

Ingredients

For the Pork Filling:

  • pork butt or shoulder roast (1 – 2 lbs or 500 g to 1 kg)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped

For the Chile Sauce:

  • 2 ancho chiles, seeded
  • 3 arbol chiles, seeded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 cups (750 ml) pork cooking broth
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) corn starch or corn flour
  • 1 tsp sugar

For the Tamale Dough (‘Masa’)

  • 4 cups (1.25 kg) Corn Masa Mix*
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 – 4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup (250 g) pork lard or solid vegetable shortening
  • Salt to taste
  • 30 dried corn husks

* Corn Masa Mix is ground corn treated with lime. This can be found in food specialty shops or just about any supermarket in Southern California.

Instructions:

For the Pork Filling:

  • Place the pork, garlic, salt, peppercorns, onion and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the meat is tender and falls off the bone (about 2 hours).
  • When the meat is cooked, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Strain the remaining cooking broth through a sieve; there should be at least three cups of broth remaining (if not, top-up with more water).
  • After the meat cools, shred using several forks.

For the Chile Sauce:

  • Remove the stems from the ancho and arbol chiles; slit the chiles down the middle and remove the seeds. Toast the chiles by placing them in a fry pan on the stovetop. Over medium heat, press the chiles down using a spatula, about 1 minute each side. The chiles should turn color slightly and be dry and toasted.
  • Chop the chiles coarsely, then place them in a blender with about 1/2 cup of the pork cooking broth. Blend until the mixture is smooth in consistency. Add this chile mixture to the reserved pork cooking broth.
  • Now add 1/2 cup water (room temperature) to 1/2 cup corn starch (or corn flour) to make a paste. Gradually add this paste to the cooking broth, while stirring over medium-low heat, to thicken.
  • After the sauce has thickened, add the sugar, cumin powder and salt to taste. Add more cumin if you like your food spicier.
  • Add about 3/4 cup of the chile sauce to the shredded pork mixture for flavoring. Add some chile powder to the pork for extra flavouring, if desired.

                                  Arbol Chiles – very potent!

IMG_5252                                 Ancho Chiles – sweet and smoky flavor

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For the Tamale Dough:

  • In large bowl, stir together the corn masa mix, baking powder and chile powder. Add enough luke-warm water (3 – 4 cups) to make a moist batter.
  • Now stir in the pork lard or vegetable shortening, beating until the mixture is light and spreadable. Add salt to taste. Knead the dough slightly with your hands to form a ball of dough.
  • Soak about 30 dried corn husks in water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

To Assemble the Tomales:

  • Form a small ball using about 2 tbsp of the dough mixture and place in the middle of corn husk (which has been soaked in water).

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  •  Spread the dough into a thin layer (1/8 inch thick) on the lower half of the corn husk, leaving a margin of about 1 inch around the sides and bottom of the husk.

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  •  Spread 2 tbsp of the shredded pork in the center of the dough

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  •  Fold the long edges of the husk over the filling, overlapping them.

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  • Fold under the pointed end of the husk.

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  • Turn the tamale over. Tie the top end of each tamale using thin strips cut from the corn husks.

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Cooking the Tamales

  •  To steam the tamales, take a large pot or Dutch oven and place a round wire rack on the bottom. Fill the bottom of the pot with water, with the water level ending slightly below the rack.
  • If you are steaming lots of tomales, place the first tamales in the center of the pot and then work them around the pot in a circular fashion (I only cooked a small batch of tamales, so I placed them inside several pastry rings to support them in the middle of the pot).
  • Place a lid on top and steam on medium heat for about 1 hour, or until the dough falls easily away from the corn husk. Be careful that the water does not touch the tamales as they cook.

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  • To serve, spoon the chile sauce on top of the tamales.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups- you know you want one!

Peanut Butter Cups

The last time I ate a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, I got into serious parental trouble. We were trick-or-treating with the kids in Portland, Oregon in a inner suburb called Irvington, an old suburb with huge weatherboard houses from a bygone era. Irvington takes Halloween very seriously, decking the houses out with fully-lit Jack-o’-lanterns -we were even greeted by a would-be chain saw massacre fiend who ‘buzzed’ his electric saw at us as we walked past.

Anyway, the kids had collected several Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in their candy bag (as well as Jaw Breakers and other bad things for your teeth). Personally, I can’t resist Peanut Butter Cups, so as the kids went to sleep that night, I raided their Halloween bags and feasted on their Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

The next morning, there was hell to pay as the kids yelled out, “What happened to my Peanut Butter Cups?” I was caught red-handed. I felt ashamed that I had shirked my responsibilities as a parent. Aren’t parents supposed to uphold ethical standards and not steal candy from children? Or maybe when it comes to delicious food, we as parents, are allowed some transgressions. What do you think?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are so easy to make, it’s not funny. Or, maybe it is funny to see a fully-grown woman losing control in the kitchen and eating one cup after another without restraint!

For this recipe, all you do is melt some chocolate in a pan, combine some smooth peanut butter with honey and then fill up your cupcake paper liners with the chocolate and peanut butter mixture. And watch out- don’t get caught stealing candy from children, like I did!

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5.0 from 3 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups- you know you want one!
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Discover a smooth peanut butter/honey filling as you bite through the soft dark chocolate!
Ingredients
  • 250 g dark cooking chocolate
  • 130 g (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter
  • 115 g (1/3 cup honey)
  • Cupcake paper liners- large enough to hold at least 3 teaspoons of filling
Instructions
  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and melt it gradually over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to luke warm temperature.
  2. Combine the peanut butter with the honey in a pan and warm on the stove until the mixture softens together.
  3. Place 1 teaspoon of the melted chocolate in each cupcake liner. Take a small brush and brush the chocolate half-way up each liner.
  4. Pour 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter/honey mixture into the liner and then finish filling the liner with the chocolate.
  5. Place the cups into the fridge for 30 minutes until the mixture sets.