Sunday, December 26, 2010

Profiteroles for the new year

I don't know why I got it in my head that I wanted to make profiteroles for Christmas; they are in reality a dessert I have enjoyed with varying frequency. Sometimes they can be too soft, lending little to no contrast to the ice cream within. On the other hand, I find hard profiteroles to be the absolute worst: hacking away at a tough shell, and watching your perfect scoop of ice cream shoot out the side is beyond frustrating. I always feel like pastry chefs should know better than to send out a crunchy profiterole.

However, when done well, profiteroles can be delicious and very elegant. So I decided to give them a go.

First I was going to use the detailed recipe from Baking Illustrated. But then I found Ina Garten's recipe which seemed even easier, and the lazy side of me (which is rather dominant, you may have noticed), won out.

Well, friends, this is probably not news to you, but profiteroles are ridiculously easy. I'd made pate a choux dough before, for gougeres, so I knew that in theory it shouldn't be difficult. But what a relief to find that profiteroles are even simpler than gougeres--no grating of cheese or chopping of herbs. Just butter, milk, flour, salt, and eggs. The dough takes 10 minutes.

In lieu of a pastry bag I used a ziploc with the corner snipped off, and it worked just fine to pipe the dough onto my baking sheet. I ended up with 20 puffs of medium size; in the future I'm going to make them smaller, because I like miniatures. I suppose you could also make several humongous puffs the size of hamburger buns.

I served the profiteroles with coffee and vanilla ice cream and good chocolate sauce. Of course, you could go the extra mile and make your own ice cream and sauce, but I like to keep things simple around the holidays. Really, this is the ideal dessert for entertaining: simple, quick, tasty, and while they look impressive, they require no skill or special equipment. Plus, you can make them ahead of time. In short, I suggest you ring in the new year with a batch of homemade profiteroles.


  1. these are definitely an elegant nosh! hooray for ziploc bags--i like a multi-functional tool. :)

  2. I've been dying to try these...but afraid I'd sit and eat them all! I love caramel on mine. Did Ina use chocolate or was that what you prefer?

    Happy New Year Samantha!

  3. mmmm, those sound lovely! I am completely gaga about the chocolate dipped beard papas, and love the idea of miniature puffs... too ambitious for me but you're inspiring me to visit a nearby beard papa! Best wishes for the new year too.

  4. Funny you should mention this. I just had my first ever gougere experience yesterday. I was surprised that I was so intimidated by something that really wasn't hard at all. I think I'm going to do my next post on them.
    Happy New Years.
    *kisses* HH

  5. Ha! I've had some of my best meals because of my lazy side winning out ... sometimes. Regardless, these look like pastry-wrapped greatness!

  6. I like my profiteroles closer to hamburger-sized. :) My secret for getting them evenly sized? An ice cream scoop. No piping bag necessary!

  7. grace: yes, I feel guilty using the ziploc--disposable and all that--but it is useful!

    Barbara: Ina made a lovely sounding chocolate sauce. I could be very happy with caramel too--or maybe both! Happy new year!

    foodhoe: I'm not kidding when I say these were easy--you could whip them up in no time. However, it's nearly as easy to pick them up.

    HH: I can't wait to read your post! Happy new year!

    Rich: Thanks! And, we also deserve to be lazy sometimes, right?

    camille: Yes, the ice cream scoop is a great idea...I am going to do that next time :)

  8. I haven't made profiteroles in ages. But now, I've gotten make up for that. You remind me how fun they are to make and just how festive they make any occasion.

  9. These profiteroles are great news for lazy sides everywhere! I'm quite sure you know this but you can freeze the uncooked "blobs" of profiterole dough (on a baking paper lined tray, then transfer to a container), and bake from frozen for a quick do-ahead dessert. How neat huh? Have a wonderful start to the New Year (Samantha?) I'm snooping by Barbara's comment there, been reading your blog for yonks and I finally work out what your name is! :)

  10. Profiteroles were the first "fancy" dessert I ever made when I first moved beyond boxed cake mixes! Last time I had them was at La Boulange Bakery in SF: they had tiny bite-size ones filled with some type of whipped cream and sugary crystals on top (called King's Desire in French so I was told), delicious!

  11. Profiteroles -- As you know I love miniature desserts too. Would be fun to play around with different fillings and sauces, but in the end you probably can't beat classic vanilla and chocolate. I'll have to try this one next time we have a dinner party.

  12. These sound great to wake up the new year with. And I agree, miniature sounds fun and cute.

  13. CJ: yes, festive indeed!

    shaz: hm, I did not know that freezing trick, but of course it makes sense and what a great idea! Thanks! And yes, you now know my name--it's about time I suppose! :)

    Connie: I love your story about the Boulange bakery--there is one down the street from us in Cole Valley :)

    alittleyum: Hope to be invited for that dinner party!

    Ben: Thought you might appreciate the miniature aspect!

  14. I was just coming over to your blog to wish you a Happy new Year when I saw your comment on my blog.

    I want to wish you and your family a very happy new year. I love your blog, and I really do look forward to the laughs and inspiration that I will find right here in 2011.


  15. I fell in love with Profiteroles years ago and haven't had them in a long time. Enjoy. And Happy New Year.

  16. We had really bad ones for dessert at a fancy French restaurant-really disappointing. Maybe I should try from scratch?

  17. Velva: thank you so much for your kind words! Best to you in 2011.

    agrigirl: Maybe give them a try in the new year! Happy 2011.

    tamilyn: Ive had crummy ones too...seems like there are some bad versions of them. I liked this recipe, maybe try it out?