Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine Profiteroles

Thank you for all of your votes! My profiteroles won the Valentine's Day contest on Food Frenzy!

In the past I have never really been one to embrace Valentine's Day, but this year, I have decided to not only embrace the day of love, but to bake several treats that can be used for a romantic Valentine's day dinner.  As most of you know by now, I have quite the sweet tooth, so I made these profiteroles as an early Valentine's Day gift.  Profiteroles are actually extremely easy to make, but if one thing gets thrown off in the making of the choux pastry dough, such as not being in the oven long enough, they can become flat and extremely disappointing.  I have tried numerous recipes - some were complete failures while others worked wonderfully.  With all of the trial and error, I have finally put together a recipe that I love and that comes together beautifully.  Once you master the pâté à choux pastry dough you will not only be able to make profiteroles quickly and easily, but other treats like éclairs and gougères.
Valentine Profiteroles
(For this particular recipe, I cut the tops in half to stick in the chocolate hearts, but you can leave the tops whole of course)
Ingredients:

-1 cup milk
-1 stick of butter, unsalted
-Pinch of salt
-Sprinkle of sugar
-1 cup flour
-4 large eggs
(Helpful hint: I only sprinkle a little sugar for added taste but you do not need to use any sugar at all if you prefer not to)

Cream Filling:
-1 pint of heavy cream
-1 cup of confectioner's sugar, plus more for sprinkling 
(Helpful hint: Heavy cream actually works better than whipping cream! Ironic, I know.  If you have whipping cream though do not be afraid to use it.  Also, do not shy away from using even more confectioner's sugar if you need to.  A lot of people do not realize this, but the sugar helps the cream to hold up longer and much, much better.  It also gives it a great taste).

Chocolate Hearts:
-12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
-Parchment paper
-Piping bag (or plastic bag with a corner cut out)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare the hearts first so that they have time to harden.  Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe dish, stirring occasionaly to make sure all of the pieces are melted.  Let cool for a minute.  Meanwhile, if you have a heart shaped cookie cutter, trace a bunch of hearts onto a piece of parchment paper and then flip the parchment paper over so that the lead from the pencil does not touch the chocolate.  Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag, and pipe out the hearts.  Although I have a heart-shaped cookie cutter I actually find it easier to draw the hearts freehand, so don't worry if you do not have one.  Add little designs in the middle of the hearts if you want - just be creative and do what you think looks best.   Place the sheet of hearts in the fridge to harden and cool.
Next, heat the milk, butter, salt, and sugar in a pot until just scalded.  Once the butter has melted, add the flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together to form a dough (it will happen quickly).  Stir the dough over low-medium heat for a minute or two.  Dump the dough out into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time.  Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Your arm may get tired from mixing, but it will be well worth the effort! (Helpful hint: Sometimes the dough is extremely runny like soup with the four eggs added in, so after adding the first three eggs, you may not need to add any more.  Usually though, if everything works out right, it will take all four eggs.  Remember though, the dough should still be somewhat more loose to an extent).

Once the eggs are incorporated, scoop the dough into a pastry bag and pipe out mounds of dough about 1 inch high and 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide on a pan.  Wet the tip of your finger with water and lightly press down the tips of each puff to prevent them from burning in the oven.  Place the pan in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until they are lightly browned on top.  Do not open the oven during the first 10 minutes of baking.  After the first 10 minutes (or more if you can hold out) you can check on them and rotate them if you wish, but just do not open the oven before those first 10 minutes are up.
When the puffs are done, turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven for 5-10 minutes (or until they are light, airy, and hollow).  Remove from the oven and let cool.

While your puffs are cooling, prepare the whipped cream.  Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and blend, on high speed, until the cream begins to thicken.  Once the cream is thick and holds stiff peaks, fold in the confectioner's sugar.





If using the chocolate hearts, cut your puff pastry in half, and place a slit in the top half.  Fill the bottom part of the shell with cream and place the top back on. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and insert a chocolate heart in the middle.

If you do not want to use the chocolate hearts, you can leave the profiteroles as they are, or you could use a chocolate glaze.  Another option would be to use a nutella glaze.

Serve as an after dinner treat for you and your loved one on Valentine's Day!
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17 comments:

  1. The hearts on top are just adorable. I am bookmarking this recipe!

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  2. Ohhhh !!! they looks sooo fantastic .. sooo yummy ... i only wish I had all the ingredients at home. Never mind.. weekend!!
    First time in your blog and loved it ..

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  3. Thank you! I'll be away over the weekend but let me know if you have any questions :)

    I'm also going to be starting up a link page on my blog soon if you are interested.

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  4. How awesome, sure hope I get some of these for Valentine's.

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  5. So delicious, I can feel the cream in my mouth. Thanks!!

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  6. Oh, my goodness! These look delicious, like something I could find at my favorite boulangerie here in Caen, France! I might need to try these soon! Merci beaucoup! Also, I, too, look forward to many exchanges with you!

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  7. Your cream puffs are perfect! And those chocolate hearts? Adorable!!

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  8. Thank you everyone! I also entered the photo from this recipe in a contest on Food Frenzy. I'm currently in 2nd place! If you click the link below, my profiterole photo will come up and you can vote for me by clicking the "I Like This" button underneath the photo. I also have two other photos up there as well (creme brulee and mascarpone cheesecake). Thank you so much!
    http://blogstew.net/foodfrenzy/desserts/955/

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  9. lovely! Will have to add to my to do list! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Now everybody in our house scream for some! Picture perfect, buzzed and liked! Thank you for sharing :)

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  11. Congrats on the win!!! These yummies are definitely winners ... great job!

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  12. You win!!!! Congratulations. Bravo

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  13. Thank you! Hope you guys enjoy Valentine's Day! I'm going away this weekend but will hopefully get another v-day post in :)

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  14. Congratulation on winning your V day contest.
    These puff look absolutely delicious, I will bookmark this recipe, am thinking to try on choux pastry.

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  15. Love the hearts on top but I'm even more excited for a great pâté à choux recipe. Thanks for sharing and congrats on winning the contest!

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