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Choux puff profiteroles with Chantilly cream and chocolate ganache

“Choux” BTW means cabbage in French. These pastries are called choux because they sort of look like little cabbages don’t they…like Brussels sprouts? Be sure to keep on hand my Pâte à choux recipe and technique refresher I posted earlier.

The key techniques for making a choux pastry are:

– In the precise measurements of the ingredients and the proper emulsification of the water and butter. You have to put some mussel in there and be quick and nimble with the wrist. Can’t tell you how many tries I experienced to get this part right – while minimizing the blisters on my hands.

– Turning down the heat to low during the flour stage. The pan has to be hot enough to create steam but cool enough not to burn the flour.

– Placing the pan in an ice water bath before adding in the eggs, to cool the mixture enough so you don’t end up cooking the eggs.

– Mixing in the eggs one at a time to emulsify properly.

– Not opening the oven door during the first 10 minutes of the baking process. This is when the magic is happening – and you don’t want to get in the way of magic.

1 cup water

80g butter

Pinch salt

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup flour

3 eggs, one at a time

In heavy saucepan, over medium heat, bring water, butter, salt and sugar to a boil.

Turn the heat down to low to avoid burning, but to keep it warm enough to steam. Add flour in all at once and work it with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes until it becomes a dry ball. At this stage, you’re developing gluten by working it.

Cool dough down by submerging pan in ice water.

Add the eggs in one at a time, beat and incorporate well before adding the next one. Note: if making in big batches, then like mayo, once you get the initial emulsification, you can add more eggs at a time. Final texture of dough should look like stiff mashed potatoes.

Prep piping bag with the tip and double layer sheet pan with parchment paper. You’re doubling the sheet pan to avoid burning the bottom of the profiteroles.

Make rosettes, éclairs, or any other desired shape.

Place sheet pans on middle rack of preheated 4250F oven, splash water into the oven (watch the lights if you’re working with an electric oven), and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 3500F for the rest of the cooking time and bake until the sides of the profiteroles turn crispy.

Cool; make a hole or a gash in each of the profiterole and fill it with whatever type of filling you wish. Here’s one I made with the simply, silky, airy, light Chantilly cream.

Chantilly cream

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract, seeds from ½ vanilla bean, or ½ tsp vanilla powder

Whisk the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until soft peaks form. The cream should hold its shape but still be satiny in appearance. It should never be grainy.

It’s best you use this cream right away, but you can make this cream and keep it in the fridge for a few hours. Note that as the cream sits, the water will separate and sink to the bottom. The amount of liquid separation depends on the variety of cream you’re using. Don’t panic…before using, lightly whisk it to help bring it back to its original consistency. Lastly, when storing cream, make sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Cream easily absorbs other flavors.

Lastly, if you’re in the mood to douse these beauties in chocolate ganache, here’s a quick recipe. Ganache which is a high ratio of chocolate to cream and can be used as a drizzle or a filling,  is simply the mixture of hot cream and chocolate + any optional flavorings like brandy, cognac, rum, etc.

–          Place chocolate in stainless steel bowl

–          Scald the cream

–          Slowly add cream to chocolate

–          Splash of brandy or other desired flavoring

–          Get to ganache by placing bowl over bain marie (hot water bath) and whisk until you get to the sexy consistency.

Et viola. Douse away and enjoy!

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