These profiteroles are perfect for a dinner party, a night with the girls, or date night. How about for the Superbowl? Not so much. I was going to try to create a chocolate sauce using stout beer so I could have that be my excuse for serving these along side Nacho Doritos and 5 alarm chili during the game. My guess though is that these light and airy cream puffs probably wouldn’t fly at a Superbowl party, so instead I made them for a dinner with friends and took a more refined route and filled them with sea salt caramel gelato and topped them with Tuaca chocolate sauce.
Although the recipe for profiteroles is pretty simple and quick, it is not something I would just whip up on a Tuesday afternoon; they are fancy, and deserve to be saved for a fancier occasion. For my husband and I, that includes any dinner when we take longer than 5 minutes to get dressed and drop off our 11 month old at the grandparents. Well, this past weekend some friends invited us to their new house so we had an excuse to be adults for a couple of hours. Because both my husband and I went to culinary school and I am a chef, friends are usually intimidated to have us over for dinner. We love though when other people cook, and we always try to explain that we are only critical of food when we are paying for it!
Since we spent Saturday up in Tahoe (the snow is just awful, there was actually green grass at the ski resort!), I thought I would make life easier and just pick up some cookies from a hole-in-the-wall place at Squaw Valley called Wildflour Baking Company to bring with us for dessert. I have only had their baked goods once before, and the cookies were amazing! After walking around Squaw Village for 10 minutes, we finally found the bakery at the base of the mountain. We bought 4 cookies and then we were on our way.
Well, we ended up getting home earlier than expected, and I just couldn’t help myself. I had recently seen a Martha Stewart episode about Pate a Choux (the base for profiteroles), and I couldn’t get the idea of profiteroles out of my head. At work I make gougeres all the time (the savory cheese version), but I hadn’t made profiteroles since culinary school. I decided that a Saturday night dinner was a fancy enough occasion! For gougeres I always use Julia Child’s recipe and they always turn out perfect, so I decided to use her recipe for the profiteroles as well. The thing I love about pate a choux dough, is that it only requires 6 ingredients, and I always have them on hand: eggs, butter, flour, sugar, salt, and water. The dough takes 10 minutes to put together and then 20 minutes to cook. Simple, simple, simple.
And when you take them out of the oven they look like this. They are beautiful and golden little balls that are light and airy. Their hollow centers are perfect for cream fillings, or ice cream. Or even better, sea salt caramel gelato!
As I mentioned earlier, I thought about making a chocolate stout sauce to go with them, but I didn’t want to open a whole bottle of beer (my husband is a bit of a beer snob, so all of our bottles are larger sized and more expensive than your average bottle). I perused my liquor cabinet and decided that Tuaca would be a nice pairing. If you haven’t had Tuaca before, I highly recommend it. It is an Italian liqueur that has flavors of vanilla and citrus. We usually buy a bottle in the Fall and use it in apple cider. Paired with chocolate though, it was a nice compliment to the salty caramel ice cream, and it added a nice touch of sweetness (and booziness) to the dessert. I originally had planned on everyone having two, but everyone had a third, so they were definitely a success. I was glad that I decided to “fancy things up” for our adult night out, and spend 30 minutes in the kitchen (and as an added bonus, we still had those cookies we bought from the bakery to eat the next day!).
Stay tuned later this week for a recipe for a healthy appetizer that would be perfect for a Superbowl party!
- 1 cup water
- 6 TBSP butter - unsalted
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TBSP water)
- Tuaca Chocolate Sauce:
- 6 oz Bitersweet or Semisweet Chocolate - chopped (I used chocolate chips)
- ½ cup milk
- 2 TBSP cream
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 2 TBSP Tuaca
- 1 TBSP butter - diced
- Start by making the profiteroles first. Preheat the oven to 425F. Put the water, butter, salt, and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and use a wood spoon to stir in the flour, when it is incorporated, return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Stir vigorously until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and ball forms.
- Remove the dough from the pan and place into a medium mixing bowl. Let the dough cool until it is warm and no longer hot (about 7 minutes).
- Beat in each egg one at a time. I prefer to do this by hand using the wood spoon. Once all the eggs have been added and the batter comes back together and is nice and thick, spoon it into a piping bag.
- Using a ½" piping tip (or just trim off the end of the bag), pipe 1" mounds onto a baking sheet. Make sure to leave enough room around each one so they will puff in the oven. Brush the top of each with the egg wash.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Don't open the oven while they are baking, or they may fall. When they are done, they will be puffed and golden brown. When tapped on the bottom they should sound hollow. Allow them to fully cool and then cut each one in half. Fill each one with a small scoop of ice cream and drizzle with chocolate sauce.
- Make the Chocolate Sauce: Place the milk, cream, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and then remove from the heat. Whisk in the Tuaca, chocolate, and butter, Once the chocolate has melted, strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve.