Nothing completes an evening of entertaining quite like the perfect dessert and the potential options are endless. My rule of thumb when picking the right dessert is easy and requires answering one simple question— how heavy is the meal? There is truly nothing worse then eating a relatively heavy meal followed by an equally heavy dessert.
A little over a year ago I asked myself that very question when preparing to entertain some friends in celebration of their recent engagement and I was really itching to try something new. When I stumbled upon a profiteroles recipe in my favourite baking book (The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book) I never dreamed it would become a staple in my dessert repertoire, but it most certainly has. They strike the perfect dessert balance in that they’re not too light and they’re not too heavy. It also doesn’t hurt they’re to die for. I knew I had hit the nail on the head when the groom to be, who might I add isn’t a dessert person, was swooning.
I know my way around the kitchen but on scale of 1 to 10 I’d give making profiteroles a 5. They’re easy but you need to be fast because the steps move quite quickly. For those nervous to try don’t be, just be prepared. Pre-measure all the ingredients beforehand and have all necessary tools ready and at your disposal.
If you don’t have The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book fear not! Follow the recipe below for detailed instructions from the pros in the Canadian Living test kitchen and click through the slideshow below for images demonstrating the process.
What you’ll need
1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. water
6 oz. semisweet chocolate (I use semisweet chocolate chips)
¾ cup whipping cream
Vanilla ice cream
- Line 2 large rimless baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Pre-heat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- In heavy saucepan, bring water, butter and salt just to boil; remove from heat. Add flour all at once; stir vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture comes away from side of pan in smooth ball.
- Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until coating begins to form on bottom of pan (1-2 minutes). Transfer to large bowl; stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly.
- Make well in centre of dough. Using electric mixer, beat in eggs, one-quarter at a time, beating well after each. Beat until smooth, shiny and dough holds its shape in bowl.
- Spoon into pastry bag fitted with ½ -inch (1 cm) plain tip, or use spoon; pipe or spoon twenty-four 2-inch (5 cm) wide by 1-inch (2.5 cm) high mounds onto prepared pans. Tip: If you don’t have a pastry bag use a zip lock bag and push the pastry toward one of the bottom corners. Snip that corner off and you’ll have a make-shift pastry bag
- Glaze: Beat egg with water; lightly brush over mounds, flattening tips and making sure glaze doesn’t drip onto paper, or pastry will not rise to its full height.
- Bake in top and bottom thirds of 425°F (220°C) oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F (190°C); switch and rotate pans. Bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Turn off oven, let stand in oven for 10 minutes to dry. Transfer to rack; let cool (Picture 11) Tip: Make ahead and store in airtight container for up to 1 day. Recrisp in 350°F/180°C oven for 5 minutes
Chocolate Sauce Instructions
- Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. In saucepan, bring cream to boil; pour over chocolate. Whisk until melted and smooth.
- Cut profiteroles in half horizontally. Spoon ice cream into bottom half of each; replace top.
- Arrange two profiteroles on each plate; spoon chocolate sauce over top.
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