This is one of my favourite recipes to make for a dessert for a crowd when I’m hosting or attending a dinner party. I find that even those who don’t have a sweet tooth are invariably seduced by the temptation to pop one of these little cream puffs in their mouth. The mascarpone gives a more Italian and more textured experience than just custard or plain cream. You will find that these are delicious the next day or two after – just like tiramisu’ that needs a little time to set and let all the flavours fuse together.
If you are transporting these, I found that the best solution was to use a shoe box from winter knee high boots that was long and deep enough to carry them all without having to stack them on top of each other.
Good luck and please do leave a comment if you have any questions about baking. It’s funny because most Italians I have met all buy cakes and desserts and at this party no one really believed I made the choux pastry myself. Once I bought pre-made profiteroles and filled my own crema but it just wasn’t the same. These are light and buttery and so delicate in your mouth that most people tend to get addicted, which is why I ended up making three times the amount below and had about 96 profiteroles for a dinner party of 20 Italians!
– 100 grams of butter
– 1 cup (250 ml) of water
– 1 pinch of salt
– 1 cup (150 grams) plain flour
– 4 eggs at room temperature
TIRAMISÙ CREMA FILLING
– 500 grams mascarpone
– 100 grams of icing sugar (powdered sugar) *You could use less, it’s really up to how sweet you like your filling.
– 4 eggs at room temperature
– 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Most recipes melt chopped chocolate with cream but I find it works just as well to melt only chocolate in a bowl resting on a pot of boiling water, or add a couple of cubes of butter to make it glossy. The amount of chocolate depends on how thick you want to coat your profiteroles. I tend to overcompensate and buy about 2-3 100 gram blocks of chocolate. But in the video I was cooking three times the recipe above so I used 900 grams in total.
1. Preheat your oven to 200C/390F (fan/convection).
2. Start to melt your butter in a pan over medium heat. (At this point I sift my flour to prepare for later on when things need to move fast.)
3. Add water when almost all the butter is melted and bring to a simmer.
4. While it is lightly bubbling, add your flour and salt and stir very quickly so it comes together in a compact ball of dough. It shouldn’t be too wet. Look at the video to see the example of the texture. I once made it too wet and they didn’t rise as much.
5. Transfer the dough to a bowl so it will cool down before you add the eggs.
6. Beat in the eggs one at a time to incorporate them gradually.
7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag or fold greaseproof paper into four and snip a little hole in the corner to squeeze out the pastry.
8. Squeeze out little circles onto greaseproof paper. Watch in the video how I do a circular motion and kind of leave a little ring on the bottom layer so it creates a natural hole where I will prick the profiteroles later. Pat down the pointy tips with a finger wet with water so you get a nice round shape and they don’t burn on top.
9. Put them into the hot oven and don’t open to check until they have risen properly. It should be about 15 minutes but keep an eye on them.
10. While one tray is cooking I prepare the second batch. These quantities above should make about 32 split across two trays.
11. When one tray is lightly golden, put in the next tray and when both are cooked, reduce your oven temperature to 160C/320F ready for the second bake.
12. Prick little holes with a knife to let the air inside and cook them this time upside down so that the insides dry out a little. This is important so that when we put the filling inside they don’t go soggy. It should only take about 5-8 minutes but if they start to go too brown take them out immediately.
13. Separate eggs and whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form.
14. Mix icing sugar with vanilla and egg yolks.
15. Gently stir the mascarpone into the egg yolk sugar mixture.
16. Fold in the egg whites into the mascarpone/egg yok/sugar mixture with a wooden spoon.
17. The messiest part of this recipe is filling the piping bag. Don’t overfill it. Work slowly. Gently squeeze filling into each profiterole hole.
18. Boil a pot of water and place a bowl on top with chopped chocolate (and if using, cream or butter). Stir a little as it starts to melt.
19. You need to work fast while the chocolate is melted so have all your profiteroles lined up and a clear workspace with somewhere to place the dipped ones. I like to keep the bowl over the boiling water to keep the chocolate fluid. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios while the chocolate is still wet.
20. Don’t put the profiteroles in the fridge or it will dry out the pastry and harden the chocolate. I like to display them on a giant plate or chopping board or even plate them up straight away so that then I won’t waste time plating when my guests are at the table waiting for dessert! It also creates a nice visual that they can see during dinner to know to leave room for un dolce!!