Aunty Sherry’s Profiteroles – with a Twist!

Hello Everyone.

So, it’s definitely winter now isn’t it? The cold has crept in and what you need when the nights are drawing in is an extra treat or two. So that’s exactly what I’m giving you today. These are also great for party season entertaining so particularly useful I’d say!

Now, I LOVE choux pastry; to me there is hardly anything better that a bowl full of profiteroles or a big chocolate éclair. However, when I first started baking I came across so many Choux pastry recipes that just didn’t work. That is, until my mum suggested asking my Aunty Sherry for her recipe. Now, this was a stroke of genius as my Aunty is the undisputed champion of profiteroles in my eyes – no one can ever surpass them! My childhood was full of family gatherings where these were always the favourite desert and I would eat them one by one whole with chocolate sauce practically covering my whole face.

So, my Aunty’s recipe was procured and off I went to try it out. Lo and behold they worked! Since then I’ve never bothered with another one and, lucky for you, I’m about to share it with you.

I’m sure you all know the classic profiterole is normally served full of whipped cream with a sauce, normally chocolate, poured over the top. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve developed a real craving for passion fruit in my baking, such a wonderful sweet and tangy flavour! Because of this I decided to try it out in my profiteroles, adding it to the cream. What a great result! That, combined with a crackly chocolate topping made for some really delicious treats that I just have to share with you.

Right, let’s get on with it! You will need the following:

For the Choux:
1/4 pint water
1oz Butter (I use unsalted)
3oz Plain Flour
2 medium eggs, lightly whisked

For the filling:
300ml double cream
4 passion fruits

For the topping:
150g Chocolate (I use Bourneville)
Double Cream if you decide to make ganache

The first thing to do is to pre-heat the oven to 170c as you definitely want it up to temperature in time. That temperature is for a fan oven so you might want to consider going ten or twenty degrees higher if yours is not fan assisted.

Put the butter and water in a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and the water is JUST boiling. Take this off the heat and beat in the flour with a wooden spoon. Then, return this to the heat and cook to a dry ball and then a little bit longer, but keep it moving. I normally do this for about one minute, if not less.

Next, you need to remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs a little by little until it’s all blended. The dough should be thick, sticky and able to stand up on it’s own. You can add the eggs in a free standing mixture or by hand, its up to you. I normally start it in the mixer so I can pour the egg in as its still mixing and then finish by beating with a wooden spoon as it seems to combine it more thoroughly (I will warn you here that it is hard work mixing the dough by hand). Another tip is to have your beaten eggs in a mug or jug as this will make it easier to add steadily than if they were in a bowl.

Line your baking tray(s) with baking parchment. A little tip here is to use a little mixture in each corner of the tray to stick the paper to it. You can either use a piping bag to pipe little mounds onto the tray, or if you aren’t so bothered about regular shape and size then you can use teaspoons to pop little mounds on the tray. If you use a piping bag you will find that little peaks form on the tops – dip your fingertip in a little water and use this to flatten them a little.

Once you’ve piped (or teaspooned) them all onto the trays then put them in the oven to bake for about 25 minutes. They may need a little longer but you’re looking for puffed up pastries that are golden and crispy. It depends on how big or small you’ve made them so keep an eye if yours are particularly large or mini. They can then be taken out and cooled on the tray (careful when you take them out – they roll!) The important thing is to just puncture them with a sharp knife or skewer when they’ve just come out of the oven, as this lets the steam out and stops them going soggy.

Whilst the choux is baking you can prepare the filling. Take your passion fruits, cut them in half and scrape the filling out into a sieve suspended over a bowl. Press the pulp through so that the juice drip into the bowl but you are left with the pips in the sieve. I tend to whisk in a couple of dessert spoons of icing sugar to the juice as it can be a little tart, but this depends on how sweet your tooth is! Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and then stir your passion fruit juice in. At this point I find it necessary to have a spoonful of this just to check it’s okay!

Once your cream is done and your profiteroles are cold you can get filling! Take a piping bag fitted with a small, plain nozzle and fill it with your cream. Using the tip of the nozzle, poke a small hole into the profiterole and squeeze in your cream until it is full. It’s easy to tell when it’s full up and don’t try and squeeze too much in or you might end up with holes forming and cream oozing out! (Been there, Done that!) Repeat this with all of your profiteroles.

Now all you need is something to cover up that little hole. My favourite thing to do is to melt some plain chocolate  and simply dip half of the profiterole (hole side down) into it. Once the chocolate has hardened, this creates a lovely crunchy top to an otherwise quite soft eating experience! It also compliments the passion fruit perfectly. You can, if you prefer, top them with a little chocolate ganache instead for some extra richness. To do this, take an equal amount in ml of cream to chocolate in grams (eg, 100ml of cream needs 100g chocolate.) Heat the cream until it is just boiling and then stir in the chocolate until it has all melted and amalgamated into a ganache. Simple! If you leave it to cool for a little while it will firm up a bit and that makes it easier to put on top of the profiteroles. You can also leave them bare and make a chocolate sauce but if you do this I would cut them in half and spoon in the cream, sandwiching them back together, as I think this looks nicer when uncovered.

So, whatever you decide to do I really hope you enjoy these lovely profiteroles. They make a great pudding for adults and children alike and are also a great idea for a buffet-style dinner as, when they are dipped in chocolate, they are easy to eat with your fingers. Perfect for a Christmas party I’d say!

Of course, if you don’t like passion fruit you could just leave that out but I think it adds something a little special and unexpected to an already great desert, especially as it is such a lovely flavour with chocolate.

Let me know if you try these out and what you think of them – I’m looking forward to some after dinner tonight!

Happy Baking