Classic French Chocolate Profiteroles, my favorite dessert ever, is made of delicate chouquettes (puffs), filled with Chantilly cream, and topped with a luscious dark chocolate ganache, assembled in a mound. Today, the Eat the World train is stopping in France.
Song of the day: I Want a Little Sugar In My Bowl, Nina Simone.
If you ask me what dessert I associate with my birthday, it all comes down to two amazing European delights, both involving chocolate: the Austrian Sacher Torte, and the French Profiteroles.
Yes, you got that right, never in my birthdays I had (or wanted) a layered and frosted cake, but mainly, if there was ever a party (because most of the time I was traveling), it was one of these two cakes.
A classic chocolate Profiteroles is also the dessert I would choose to bring to a friend's house when invited for dinner, or for my brother's birthday if I was in charge of the cake. Always store-bought in one of the many pasticcerie in Rome, ordered to be made fresh, and a very popular choice. Store bought until today. And, although time-consuming and pretty laborious, it was an absolute pleasure to make and I am going to replicate it as much as I can.
Thanks to the wonderful group Eat the World and this month's recipe challenge. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to make since I heard that the next country for our challenge was the winner of the World Cup, France, precisely. Loreto had to step aside on this one, but he was pretty happy with my choice and couldn't wait to taste my dessert.
Many of you might call them cream puffs, but for me, they are and will always be the Classic French Profiteroles, which were introduced in France by the Italian Caterina de’ Medici, wife of Henry II of France, who brought from Tuscany several recipes and one of his chefs, the famous Popelini who, in 1540, invented the pate à choux (choux pastry) and this type of dessert, Profiteroles.
Last year I took a baking class on pate à choux at the famous Duchess Atélier here in Edmonton. I enjoyed every minute of it and it really helped me master this type of dough, which is a bit tricky, but nothing that isn't impossible to make.
Hope the following pictures of the preparation and the detailed recipe which follows will help you and inspire you to make choux pastry, that can be also used to make éclairs or the savory gougères, or the Italian Zeppole di San Giuseppe. All absolutely delicious, in my opinion.
Pate à choux
Pate à choux starts on the stove, with milk, water, butter, salt and sugar melting, then you add the flour and mix vigorously with a flat wooden spoon for about 4 minutes until it dries out a bit and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Then you transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer, where you add the eggs, one at a time, and you end up with a thick custard-like consistency.
Next step, you pipe the dough onto a parchment paper, in circles, then smoothen the tops with a mix of egg yolk/whipping cream, and bake in the oven where they puff up and turn a beautiful golden color. At this point, I am already envisioning my Profiteroles...
No, you're not done yet. There's the Chantilly cream to make, whipping the heavy cream with icing sugar and vanilla (bean or extract), and the chocolate to melt with dark chocolate (my choice), whipping cream, and a touch of honey.
The Classic French Chocolate Profiteroles is coming to life. You have filled the chouquettes with Chantilly cream, dipped the tops in chocolate, arranged them in a nice mound on a serving platter. Finish it off with few tufts of Chantilly cream here and there, always a nice touch.
Everybody has its own way of serving a Profiteroles. You can cut into it like a cake, or separate the chouquettes and plate them with some whipped cream on the side. Different are also the ways of eating a Profiteroles. Some use a fork and break into it, others grab it by hand and bite in, but my lovely husband pops the whole cream puff in his mouth, and I love to watch his face as it explodes in his mouth.
Because that is the pleasure of a Profiteroles, it combines a lovely delicate pastry, a rich dark chocolate coating, and a fabulously light and velvety cream all in one mouthful.
Song of the day: I Want a Little Sugar In My Bowl, Nina Simone.Print
For the chouquettes (makes about 30 x 1.5-inch chouquettes). Recipe from the Duchess cookbook:
- 95 g milk (I used 2%)
- 95 g water
- 87 g unsalted butter
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 105 g all-purpose flour
- 3 large organic eggs
- 1 large egg yolk, for the top
- 1 tsp whipping cream, for the top
For the Chantilly Cream:
- 400 g whipping cream
- 25 g icing sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate glaze:
- 150 g dark chocolate (I use at least 70% cacao), chopped fine
- 150 g whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp liquid honey (possibly acacia, or any light one)
To make the pate à choux:
- Preheat the oven to 375° F (190°C) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. I used 2 big baking sheets and I could fit 3 rows of 3 circles in one, and in another 4 rows of 4 circles, that I baked separately.
- In a saucepan over low heat, add the milk, water, butter, salt, and sugar. Stir until the butter is melted. Bring to a slow simmer.
- Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once. Begin stirring with a flat wooden spoon and put back on the stove on low heat. Keep stirring vigorously for 4-5 minutes. The dough will dry out a bit and start to pull out from the sides. Remove from heat and allow to cool just a bit.
- Transfer the dough into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add 1 egg at a time, adding the other only when the previous has been blended well. The dough will now have the consistency of a thicker custard and it is ready to pipe.
- Transfer the pate à choux to a piping bag with a round tip. Use a small amount of the dough to glue down the corners of the parchment paper and immediately pipe the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Holding the piping bag vertically above the tray, and starting about 2 inches from the edge of the parchment paper, pipe circles onto the parchment spaced about 2 inches apart, with a steady hand (try to be consistent on your piping or they are going to be different sizes and are going to bake differently).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and the whipping cream. Using your finger, gently run the egg wash over the top of each circle, in order to smooth down any bumps.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, without opening the door. After 30 minutes, prop the door open with a wooden spoon to let the steam escape and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until you feel that the outside of the dough has crisped up.
- Turn off the oven and leave them inside, with the door open for about 20 minutes to dry, then take out and let rest on a rack. Once cold, turn them upside down and, with the help of the handle of a teaspoon, or the tip of a knife, make a small hole where you will place the piping bag (sac à poche) with the cream to stuff them.
For the Chantilly cream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a handheld mixer, add the whipping cream, the icing sugar, and the vanilla. Mix until the cream is smooth and voluptuous.
- Put in a piping bag and fill the cream puffs.
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- In a saucepan over low heat, add the whipping cream and the honey. As soon as the first bubbles appear, turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted completely.
Assembling the Profiteroles:
- Take the cream puffs and dip them in the chocolate. Turn them over until the top is completely covered and then arrange them on a serving plate. Do this with all the remaining puffs, and place them on top of each other, to form a pyramid. Decorate with a few tufts of Chantilly cream.
- Store in the fridge until serving time. Enjoy!
I use 70% cacao dark chocolate, so if you prefer a sweeter glaze, mix some dark chocolate and some milk chocolate.
Store Profiteroles in the fridge. Profiteroles can stay fresh for 2-3 days.
If you didn't fill your chouquettes right away and they are a little soft, re-crisp them in the oven for 4-5 minutes at 350°F (180°C).
Chouquettes (puffs) can also be frozen up to two months: in this case, place them frozen in a 350°F (180°C) oven until warmed through and crispy (6-8 minutes). Allow cooling before filling.
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stove top, Baking
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: choux pastry, chocolate, whipping cream, eggs, butter, dessert, french, sweets, profiteroles, eat the world
Check out all the wonderful French dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Camilla: Poulet à la Moutarde + Salade de Courgettes
Nicoletta and Loreto (us!): Classic French Chocolate Profiteroles
Claudia: Bifteck Hache a la Lyonnaise
Margaret: Axoa d’Espelette: a simple and tasty Basque stew
Wendy: Charlotte de Chou et de Pommes de Terre
Amy: Fougasse (Provençal Flat Bread)
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.