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Cloud Kiss Profiteroles

Would you like to tuck into a classic dessert served in the simplest to most elegant of restaurants, not only in France but all over the world? Chocolate profiteroles are the answer (to everything) and here in Barcelona they are a familiar friend, also gracing US restaurant menus since 1851 and hanging round countries like Turkey, Italy and Greece. A warning though: once they are made please keep a very careful watch on them otherwise they will disappear long before the table is laid, leaving you sadly dessertless (I speak from experience). There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about these featherlight cream-filled choux puffs, covered in warm liquid gooey dark chocolate, as they call out to you ‘eat us quick!’

And never fear sweet reader, your choux balls will be crisp and puffy, providing a nice home for whipped cream or other fillings. Yes, we’ve all had our flat gooey choux disasters but if you follow a few simple tips you can avoid that! Yes, okay, I promise…! Ahem… and moving swiftly along, choux can be created in less than an hour and are so easy that even my 10-year-old niece has made them, with a little supervision, following her children’s baking book instructions. And she had fun!

In a minute you’ll see my own recipe photos and drawings, equally childlike! And once you’ve made them and have choux pastry under your belt (or apron as it were) you can go crazy and make the elongated version reportedly first made by Carême: éclairs, literally ‘flashes of lightning’, so named because they are eaten quick as a flash! Well, they’ve recently been getting full makeover treatment from Mr Adams.

Master patissier Christophe Adam

Have you heard of Christophe Adam? He describes himself as the ‘rock and roll’ guy of French patisserie and has an incredible array of éclairs lined up glistening and rainbow-coloured in his Parisian concept store, l’éclair du genie (you’ll see clusters of tourists hovering on the pavement outside, nibbling at their patisserie goodies):

Nice-looking aren’t they? The French blogger Verveine-citron has posted a review , for those of you with a smattering of patisserie French. The gist of it is that the éclairs are beautiful and taste fine but she was a little disappointed. I’d say it’s best to go with lower expectations, then you’ll be happily surprised like I was. When you’re next in Paris! 🙂

Now that we’re all drooling (at the éclairs of course, not Christophe Adam), let’s make profiteroles! And to put you in the mood, here’s a quick musical offering, a happy little samba choux song by Os Mutantes: she’s my choux choux – well, that’s what I hear anyway! 🙂

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Ingredients:

For the choux pastry:

1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs

For the filling:

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate ganache:
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
4 ounces (115g) dark chocolate, chopped
White chocolate shavings, for garnish

Instructions:

Make the Choux Pastry:

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Spoon or pipe 12 small mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and let the pastries cool completely in the oven to prevent collapsing.

Prepare the Cream Filling:

Whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
Once the pastries are cool, slice each one in half and fill with the whipped cream using a pastry bag.

Make the Chocolate Ganache:

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate, letting it sit for a minute before stirring until smooth.
Dip the top of each filled profiterole into the ganache, or drizzle over the tops.

Garnish and Serve:

Sprinkle with white chocolate shavings for an extra touch of elegance.

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