New Year’s Eve recipe: Profiteroles with salted caramel and dark chocolate sauce

27 Dec

2012-12-31 21.48.16

For a show-stopping dessert this New Year’s Eve, try making these easy yet impressive profiteroles. Don’t be daunted by the thought of making pastry – choux pastry is possibly the easiest thing ever. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a pan, a spoon and a plastic freezer bag (more on that later).

It takes a while filling the profiteroles with cream, but the end result is well worth the effort. I’ve gone for two sauces – chocolate and salted caramel, but you can stick to one or try something completely different. Make them the same day as they will go soggy if left overnight.

This recipe makes about 4o profiteroles.

For the pastry

4 tbsp water

4 tbsp milk

50g (2oz) butter (preferably unsalted)

1 tsp caster sugar

pinch of salt (leave this out if using salted butter)

100g (4oz) plain flour

4 eggs

For the filling

1 pint double cream

1 vanilla pod (seeds only) or a dash of good vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180° C.

2. Add the butter, sugar, salt (if using), milk and water to a deep saucepan and melt together on a low heat.

3. Bring to the boil and take off the heat, adding the flour to the butter-water mixture. Stir the flour in vigorously until well combined and return to a low heat for a minute, to cook the flour. This helps avoid the finished product tasting like raw flour. The mixture should feel pasty and thick, forming a ball that comes away from the sides of the pan and sticks to the spoon.

4. Take it off the heat and add one egg at a time, making sure each egg is well beaten in before the next one. If you add them too quickly, the mixture will curdle and you won’t be able to pipe it.

5. Once the last egg is mixed in, you should be left with a thick, smooth mixture. Transfer to a piping bag with a 1 cm fluted nozzle, if you have one. If not, use a sturdy freezer bag with one corner cut off. This will work just as well, but just make sure you don’t cut too much off the corner or you will end up with enormous profiteroles, which is not what you want.

6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and pipe the mixture onto it. You should aim for a 5cm diameter drops of the mixture, leaving about an inch between each one as they will puff up when they cook.

7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are a pale golden colour and feel light and hollow. If they still look a bit doughy, put them back for a minute or two. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

8. Once the choux buns have cooled, whip the cream with the vanilla until it forms soft peaks. Cut each profiterole along the side so a little cap lifts up and you can fill it with the cream using a teaspoon, closing it when you are finished.

For the sauces

Chocolate sauce

On a very low heat, melt 100g (3½oz) of dark chocolate with

  • 3 tbsp double cream in a saucepan, then dip the profiteroles in, giving them a  a chocolate “hat” before putting in the fridge to set. I cover half of the profiteroles in chocolate and half in caramel.

Salted caramel sauce

On a low heat, melt 50 g (1½ oz) of caster sugar with 50 g (1½ oz) of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan. Once the sugar begins to caramelise and it’s looking a golden brown colour, bring it off the heat and pour in 125 ml double cream. It will splutter, but don’t worry, just be careful and stir it in quickly. Cook it for another couple of minutes before adding half a teaspoon of salt. The sauce will be incredibly hot, so be careful not to burn your tongue while tasting. Add more salt if you feel necessary. Allow to cool slightly before dipping as before with the chocolate sauce.

Refrigerate the profiteroles, taking them out about half an hour before you are ready to eat them. Stack them carefully on a beautiful plate and drizzle any remaining sauce over the top before before serving.

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Photo: Lizzy Turner

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