Flicking through various possible recipes, I kept coming back to bakes that involved choux pastry. I know that choux is famously difficult to get right. Challenge accepted! I decided to attempt profiteroles. The fact that I don’t really like profiteroles very much did not hold me back.
The recipe I had chosen was by Shelina Permalloo. I loved her exotic flavours on Masterchef, and her Profiteroles with a Passion fruit Cream Filling looked delicious. To my dismay, there weren’t any passion fruits in the supermarket. Disaster! A quick mid-shop Google on the trusty BBC GoodFood led me to Mary Cadogan’s Raspberry, White Chocolate and Pistachio Profiteroles. I liked the raspberry idea but am not a huge fan of white chocolate so swapped for dark instead, and kept Shelina’s mascarpone instead of double cream.
Phew! That had to be the tricky bit over! But no. On doing some pre-bake research, I discovered that when it comes to the choux pastry for profiteroles EVERY SINGLE RECIPE IS DIFFERENT!!! Out of a possible maximum of six ingredients (flour, water, milk, butter, sugar, salt), all the recipes involve some or all but in pretty different quantities. Long story short, I decided to trust Lesley Waters and her ‘How to make profiteroles‘.
How it was to make:
- I genuinely think that the hardest part about this whole bake was deciding which recipe to use for the choux pastry. Once I actually got started it went well!
- I left the butter/water/flour dough for ages to cool before mixing in the eggs, just in case they cooked.
- I made the choux buns the day before making the filling.
- I don’t have a proper piping bag so I just used a plastic bag with the corner cut off. This worked better for the pastry than for the filling. It was quite tricky to get the corner into the bun holes with enough force for the filling to go in properly.
How it came out:
- I was delighted (smug) about how the choux buns came out! I think next time I’d make them a little smaller though – they were quite large for profiteroles and therefore needed lots of the cream inside to fill them up. They were amazingly light though.
- The dark chocolate and fresh raspberry flavours were fantastic and overall meant that the whole thing wasn’t too sickly sweet. As I said, I don’t really like profiteroles that much but I thought these were very tasty (though possibly I am slightly biased).
- My cream piping technique wasn’t great. Some buns were a bit of a piping failure altogether in fact. This resulted in a sort of low-key Russian roulette whereby you didn’t know whether the profiterole you were about to cut into was full of cream or basically empty. The canniest snackers tested the weight of a bun before settling on it.
- Baking lessons learnt:
- Practise piping fillings into things. An empty choux bun isn’t all that exciting.
- I am still excelling at accidentally baking faces into things!
- More ambitious smaller things seem to be easier for me than less ambitious larger ones (i.e. cakes).
- Physical progress:
- Doing the buns on one day and the filling on the other was very useful to split the effort required.
- Nothing about this was very physically strenuous.
- I am definitely getting better at not needing to sleep immediately after baking one thing – sitting down, perhaps, but not necessarily falling asleep!
If you want to try making some – or all – of any of the recipes I used:
This bake, I have been mostly listening to:
Gerard Smith, a singer/songwriter from New York, provided the soundtrack for my baking today. I love his voice and think this song is really catchy. The idea of only seeing the dreams appeals to me. Plus these profiteroles really were dreamy. So it works on loads of levels. Thank you, Gerard, for supporting this blog.
You can get Gerard’s EP ‘The Odessa’ here.
Caroline Crimson x