Light-as-air choux pastry filled crème patisserie with hints of vanilla dipped in melted dark chocolate... What can I say? Absolutely drool-worthy.
Okay, so the first and second attempts I made at choux pastry puffs were rather... dismal. The first time... it deflated slightly and wasn't very airy and the second time? Well, it deflated completely and stuck to the baking paper underneath and was as flat as...an ironing board. Oh, and it was quite soggy too. So, this time what did I do differently? My wise words of the day, "Forget any recipe on the internet and let's WING it" And it went PERFECTLY.
Oh my gosh. It was SO good... But somtimes when you don't have a recipe, you might end up making a lot. And, I ended up with over 40 puffs and there are also three people in my household... I wonder what we're having for dinner tonight...
Um, I'm not in the mood to write a million words so I'll need to mention some important things. After you add the flour, cook it really well or you'll end up with a lovely...pancake. And after baking, make sure the profiteroles are a deep golden colour so it'll hold it's shape once it's cooled. Of course, they're best eaten within a few days, and after a day or so, they'll start to soften up but will still taste great.
If you have a strong dislike for custard, then whipped cream is a good substitute for the filling (that's what mum prefers)... but even though I'm not big on custard, I still think that the crème patisserie is perfect with the choux pastry and chocolate. So in the end, I used half my recipe below for crème patisserie and used a whipped cream filling for the other half. Oh, and honestly, I don't actually like my pastries really full of filling. Half-full or three-quarters is more my kind of thing...so if you like yours really full, you might run out of crème patisserie. But, the pastry doesn't even need a filling, so you know, its all good. ;)
Here's what it the choux puff looks like inside (so hollow!~):
Profiteroles with a Crème Patisserie filling:
Makes approximately 40 profiteroles
1 cup minus 1 tbsp of water
80g of butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup flour
4 eggs (~59g)
Crème Patisserie (adapted from Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of food and cookery pg255):
1 1/2 cups of milk
6 tbsp of flour
4 eggs (~59g)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract (or better yet, use a vanilla bean)
150-200g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
For the Crème Patissiere:
Bring the milk to a boil (put the vanilla bean with the milk if using). Meanwhile, whisk the flour, eggs, sugar and vanilla (if using extract) together well in a bowl. Remove vanilla bean and add the hot milk into the egg mixture. Mix again, and transfer to a saucepan. Cook on a gentle heat stirring constantly, while making sure it doesn't boil. Continue until mixture is quite thick, around 5-10 minutes. The crème patisserie should fall of the spoon in one go when scooped with a tablespoon and dropped. Also, when the filling is mixed, it should leave marks behind, not combine together quickly and create a smooth surface. Strain to remove any lumps and transfer to a bowl to cool and cover the surface with plastic wrap so the surface doesn't dry out. Place in fridge until needed.
For the Choux Pastry:
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Place the water, butter, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as it boils, add the flour all at once and cook, mixing constantly on medium heat. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, reduce the heat and keep mixing for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 5 minutes giving it a stir every so often to let the heat escape faster. Add the eggs one at a time mixing vigorously. Don't worry if the mixture separates because it will and it just needs to be stirred very, very hard. It is unlikely, but you many not need ALL of the last egg. The final batter should be quite heavy, thick and stretchy. Pipe, or spoon heaped teaspoonfuls onto a sheet of ungreased baking paper (use a tiny bit of batter to stick the paper down in the corners if necessary). Make in the middle rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes. Watch for a deep golden colour. Then, take it out and gently push the prongs of a fork in the base and leave to cool on a rack upside down (this allows the steam to escape slightly).
When choux pastry is cool, use a knife and poke it through the bottom gently to create a small slit. Pipe the crème patisserie through using a small nozzle or hole if using a zip-lock bag (~<0.5cm in diameter). Then dip the top surface in melted chocolate. Leave until chocolate has set, and serve.