Bread and Pastry/ Desserts

Profiteroles Re-visited

Several years ago, I did a post on Profiteroles which has turned out to be my most popular post. I guess I’m not the only person who loves these delicate cream puffs, topped with a lovely chocolate sauce. Thousands of people seem to be surfing the net, searching for a good Profiterole recipe.

Because I’ve gotten quite a lot of feedback and questions regarding my recipe, I thought I’d share them with you and offer some ‘tips and traps.’ The feedback from my beloved readers has ranged from comments such as “my profiteroles turned out so hard I could have bounced them off the wall” to a an admission that one reader had used tequila instead of vanilla flavoring for the custard cream. I would have liked to taste that one!

Here is the profiterole photo from my original post of July 2013:

Here are some of the comments I’ve received, plus my suggestions for overcoming any problems (see below for the original printable recipe):

COMMENT:

The dough for my choux pastry was too runny, like pancake mix- they went ‘splat’ when I spooned them onto the baking tray!”

SOLUTION:

Try using less eggs for the choux pastry dough. The recipe calls for 3-4 large eggs. Start by beating in one egg at a time and then stop and re-evaluate after beating in the third egg. If the dough is smooth and elastic and falls easily off of your spoon or spatula, then you don’t need to add the fourth egg. If your dough is still a bit stiff, then add another 1/2 egg or 1 full egg. It all depends on the size of your eggs; if you add four jumbo eggs at once, then your dough will probably turn out too runny, like pancake mix. The trick is to stop and re-evaluate after adding the first three eggs.

The choux pastry dough should be smooth and elastic, not runny.

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

S- not runny.

 COMMENT

” My puff balls weren’t crisp on the outside when I took them out of the oven and then deflated quickly.”

SOLUTION:

The trick to getting crisp puff balls is to first bake them in the oven at a high temperature of 425 F for the first 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 F for the remaining 10-15 minutes. I use an oven thermometer to ensure my oven has reached 425 F before putting the puff balls in the oven. If it looks like your buns are browning to fast, then reduce the oven temperature sooner. If using a convection oven (fan-forced), then reduce your  oven temperatures by 20 degrees (for 425 F reduce your temperature to 405 F, etc.).

If you follow this method of first baking at a high temperature, then your profiterole buns should not deflate soon after removing them from the oven. Store in an air-tight container if not serving right away.

 The puff balls should be crisp on the outside when finished baking

 
COMMENT

” My custard cream filling was too thick, like a paste.”

 SOLUTION

Try using less flour for the custard cream. The recipe calls for adding 1/3 cup flour to 3 egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar, so try reducing the amount to say 1/4 cup flour. Also, you should gradually add small amounts of the egg/flour/sugar mixture to the milk/cream so that it gradually thickens. The custard should be able to still pour easily after it’s cooked, but not be too runny.

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

 COMMENT

“My chocolate sauce seized up – became hard and grainy, instead of smooth.”

SOLUTION

If your chocolate gets too hot, it may seize up and get hard. Make sure you heat the chocolate, butter and cream together over low heat, preferably placing the ingredients in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.

COMMENT

“My profiteroles turned out hard as rocks- I could have bounced them off the wall!”

SOLUTION

The first time I made profiteroles, they were also as hard as rocks, but the second time I made them, they came out perfect. Try making them again!

“My custard cream tasted too much like eggs!”

SOLUTION

Sorry, nothing I can do about that. Since the custard is made of egg yolks, they are bound to taste like eggs! (But I guess you could try adding more vanilla flavoring to mask the egg taste).

Here is my original recipe for Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce and Custard Cream, first published July 2013. I hope you continue to enjoy them!
 
4.8 from 4 reviews
Profiteroles Re-visited
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Soft pastry puffs filled with custard cream and slathered 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
For the Choux Pastry
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (220 C.)
  2. Combine water and butter in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
For the Custard Cream Filling
  1. Warm the milk, cream and vanilla flavouring together over medium heat- do not boil.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. To fill each puff ball with custard, lift open the top of each pastry ball and fill with 1 -2 tbsp. of custard.
For the Chocolate Sauce
  1. Over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Mix in the cream and sugar and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  2. To serve, place one or two pastries on a plate and cover with chocolate sauce.
 
 
 
 

 

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim | Mom, Can I Have That?
    December 16, 2015 at 8:04 am

    I love cream puffs and yours look perfect. Thank you for the information trouble-shooting common problems. Very smart post. By the way, I would have liked to have tasted the tequilla pastry cream, too! LOL -Kim
    Kim | Mom, Can I Have That? recently posted…Supreme Green Bean CasseroleMy Profile

    • Reply
      Fran
      December 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks Kim. And by the way, that same person also said he added some chilli powder to the chocolate sauce- I’m starting to wonder if I should also experiment!
      Fran recently posted…Profiteroles Re-visitedMy Profile

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    December 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I haven’t made Profiteroles — or choux pastry, for that matter — for ages. Great post — these seem to give people trouble (me too, sometimes), and you’ve covered all the pitfalls. Thanks!
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…Wine-Braised Beef Pot RoastMy Profile

    • Reply
      Fran
      December 17, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks John. Even though they might seem a bit finicky, they always turn out good!
      Fran recently posted…Profiteroles Re-visitedMy Profile

  • Reply
    Melanie @ Melanie Cooks
    December 17, 2015 at 2:54 am

    Great idea to revisit the old popular post and do a FAQ! These profiteroles look so delicious!

  • Reply
    Denise [email protected] Brazil To You
    December 18, 2015 at 4:10 am

    Great post with a yummy recipe for custard filled profiteroles (a.k.a. puffs of happiness) drizzled with chocolate sauce… and solutions. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Fran! May the New Year bring you many wonderful blessings.
    Denise [email protected] Brazil To You recently posted…Cookies and Cream Dutch Tart (Torta Holandesa com Oreos)My Profile

  • Reply
    Daniela
    December 18, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    Profiteroles are my all time favorites and yours look so delicious, must try them.
    What a great idea to make a follow up with tips and tricks about this popular recipe, there is always something new to learn about.
    Have a wonderful Christmas, Fran!
    Daniela recently posted…Chicken Liver Parfait – A French Classic For The Hoilday SeasonMy Profile

  • Reply
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    December 21, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Too bad your egg custard tastes like eggs. All those years of chef school and you can’t fix that little problem. 🙂

    John would happily live on profiteroles and I don’t make them often enough. We’d be the size of two barns if I did. They tick all the boxes with light, crunchy and cool and creamy.

    Perfect!

    Merry Christmas!
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted…Bread Pudding from Banana BreadMy Profile

  • Reply
    Juliana
    December 22, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I love profiteroles…and thank you for all the tips…they sure look great.
    Happy holidays Fran!
    Juliana recently posted…Happy Holidays!My Profile

  • Reply
    GourmetGetaways
    December 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I love cream puffs, although I fill mine with either creme patisserie or a vanilla mascarpone recipe!
    Yours look absolutely
    Thanks for sharing
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  • Reply
    NK
    December 29, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for this….looks wonderful and I am going to try as early as tomorrow. Just one question….how much ahead of serving can the puffs be filled? Could I leave them overnight ? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Fran
      December 30, 2015 at 12:41 am

      Thank you for your comment. You could make the custard one day ahead of time, however I wouldn’t fill the profiteroles with the custard until, say, one hour ahead of time because they might get a bit soggy. Let me know how they turn out and good luck!
      Fran recently posted…Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon and ShallotsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Linda
    October 27, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Fran… i would likeel to try baking this. Looks amazing. Isnitnpossible to replace vanilla with rum? Thank you

    • Reply
      Fran
      October 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Linda, thanks so much for your comment. Yes, you could substitute rum for the vanilla in making the custard. I’ve never tried using rum but I think you’ll have a slightly more alcohol flavor to your custard. I hope your profiteroles turn out well!
      Fran recently posted…Mixed Berries and Cream Cheese Mug CrumbleMy Profile

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