Profiteroles are one of my favorite desserts, and I particularly like to serve them at dinner parties. I bake the puffs (similar to gougères, made from choux pastry) earlier in the day, get the simple chocolate sauce all ready to make, and then melt the sauce while I stuff the puffs with ice cream right before serving (I find it's usually pretty easy to find a dinner guest who's willing to help!).
Vanilla ice cream is traditional, but feel free to mix things up with your favorite flavor. I've used coffee ice cream to great effect on more than one occasion. Want to really impress with flavor? Use Homemade Ice Cream!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: Makes 8 servings
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 5 large eggs (or 4 extra large eggs)
- about 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 pints ice cream
- Preheat an oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, heat the butter and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Increase the heat until the mixture starts to bubble along the edges. Reduce the heat to low, dump in the flour and salt in one fell swoop, and use a wooden spoon to stir like mad. Stir until the mixture comes together in a single mass and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the pan.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring like crazy after each one and waiting until everything is fully combined before adding the next egg. After each addition of egg the batter will separate and sort of fall apart - don't worry, it will all come back together with some energetic stirring.
- You can use a pastry bag to pipe out the batter, but I find a tablespoon or soup spoon works just fine. Put spoonfuls of the batter on baking sheets, with plenty of room for them to expand and puff up - at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 375°F and bake another 15 minutes. Let puffs cool to room temperature.
- Finely chop the chocolate and put in a medium metal bowl with the cream. Bring a frying pan or other wide pan full of water to a boil. Take off the heat and set the bowl in the water. The residual heat from the water will gently melt the chocolate (see How to Melt Chocolate). Whisk the chocolate and cream together into a smooth sauce. Stir in vanilla. Keep the sauce warm.
- Use a paring knife or just your fingers to cut a slit in the sides of the puffs. Use a spoon to stuff each puff with ice cream. Put several puffs on a plate and drizzle (or pour!) with warm chocolate sauce. You can also let guests add their own chocolate if you like.