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I love Michel Roux.  In the media he seems like such an adorable gentleman and his Pastry cookbook never fails to entice – although fortunately for my waistline, they often seem too time consuming and complex so are simply ooh’d and aah’d at in my spare time instead.

Last weekend heralded my Dad’s *ahem* 60+ Chinese birthday.  Dad’s not a lover of sweets but he does enjoy a good profiterole maybe once or twice a year.  He’s a charismatic man whose love, generosity, honesty, and humour make him one of my most favourite people in the whole wide world.  I would do anything for this man – so, of course, on his special day – I didn’t want him to feel forgotten.

This was included as part of our Chinese Birthday gift to him…Image

I was brought up in rural Queensland and without fail, every Chinese birthday (though super petite as I was at that stage), Dad would make me attempt to down as much Maggi mee as possible (signifying traditional ‘long life noodles’ that we couldn’t get where we were so that I would, hopefully, stay healthy and outlive him), two chicken drumsticks (this year courtesy of KFC), and two hard boiled eggs!  Dad came from a very poor family hence any form of meat was a rarity – especially when you come from a family of 12 children – so the significance of these two chicken drumsticks goes without saying.  The two boiled eggs are supposed represent the achievement of 100% in whatever you set out to do.  Dream big; achieve big.  And that is exactly what my dear father did.

Anyway.. back onto the topic of baking…!

Here’s what you will need to make the profiteroles.  Monsieur Roux does it the traditional French way and fills them with vanilla ice cream (or half vanilla and half coffee ice cream) which totally takes me back to Paris when my husband and I were there in 2010.  However, I opted to fill them with his creme patissiere so that I could complete them ahead of time before stopping over at my parents’ house…

INGREDIENTS

Small choux buns
1/2 cup (125mL) milk
1/2 cup (125mL) water
8 tbsp (100g) butter, diced
1/2 tsp (3g) salt
1 tsp (5g) super fine sugar
generous 1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
4 medium eggs
Eggwash (1 medium egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp (15mL) milk)

Creme patissiere
6 medium egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (125g) superfine sugar
generous 1/4 cup (40g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (500mL) milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
a little confectioners’ sugar or butter

Chocolate sauce
9 oz (250g) good-quality bitter semisweet chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
scant 1 cup (200mL) milk
3tbsp (45mL) heavy cream
scant 1/4 cup (40g) superfine sugar {I actually doubled this amount!!}
2 tbsp (30g) butter, diced

DIRECTIONS

Small choux buns
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Combine the milk, water, butter, salt and sugar in a pan and set over low heat.  Bring to a boil and immediately take the pan off the heat.01 combine milk, water, butter salt and sugar in pan, bring to boil

Shower in the flour and mix with a wooden smooth until completely smooth.  Return the pan to medium heat and stir continuously for about 1 minute to dry out the paste, then tip it into a bowl.02 add flour and stir until dry

Add the eggs one at a time, beating with the wooden spoon.03 add the eggs one at a time, beating with the wooden spoon

Once the eggs are incorporated, the paste should be smooth and shiny with a thick ribbon consistency.  It is now ready to use. (If you’re not  using it immediately, brush the surface lightly with a little beaten egg to prevent a crust forming.)04 paste should be smooth and shiny with a thick ribbon consistency

Put the choux paste into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (1-cm) plain tip and pipe out about 40 puffs, 1 1/4inches (3cm) in diameter.  Brush with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes until dry and crisp on the outside, but still soft inside.05 pipe small mounds, brush with egg wash and lightly mark the tops with the back of a fork

As soon as they are cooked, transfer them to a wire rack and leave until cold.06 my second batch of choux buns{My first batch were a bit of a disaster so I threw them out and started from scratch – these are photos from my second batch.}07 choux buns

{If you are using ice cream as Michel Roux does:} Using a serrated knife, cut across the top one-fifth of each puff, leaving a “hinge” to make a lid. Generously fill the choux puffs with ice cream then re-position the lids.  Serve in glass dishes.  Pour on some of the chocolate sauce and serve the profiteroles immediately, handing the rest of the sauce around in a pitcher.

Creme patissiere
Whisk the egg yolks and one-third of the sugar together in a bowl to a light ribbon consistency.08 whisk egg yolks and one third of sugar together

Whisk in the flour thoroughly.09 whisk in flour

In a pan, heat the milk with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla bean.10 heat milk sugar and vanilla bean until it comes to a boil

As soon as it comes to boil, pour it onto the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go.11 pour it into the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go

Mix well, then return the mixture to the pan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously with the whisk.  Let bubble for 2 minutes, then pour into a bowl.12 then return it to the pan and stir continuously with a whisk for two minutes

Dust the creme patissiere with a veil of confectioners’ sugar to prevent a skin forming as it cools, or dot small flakes of butter all over the surface.  Once cold, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Remove the vanilla bean before using.

{After the creme patissiere had cooled down to room temperature, I attached a small, 5mm round tip and piped the creme patissiere into the bases of the small choux buns.}13 generous fill the choux puffs with creme patissiere once cool

Chocolate sauce
Chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water to melt gently, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.  Put the milk, cream, and sugar into a pan and bring to a boil, whisking continuously.  Take off the heat.  Still whisking, pour on the melted chocolate, then return to the heat.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the pieces of butter, one at a time.  Pass the sauce through a fine chinois into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and keep warm in a bain-marie. {I confess that I just threw everything into the saucepan and whisked until everything had melted.  And no, I didn’t pass the sauce through a fine chinois (too messy, not to mention time-consuming)!}14 make the chocolate sauce
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This was the end product which may not have looked 100% authentic but was made with love and so delicious!15 profiteroles16 profiteroles served with warm, chocolate sauceBon appetit.. xx

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