Samstag, 30. Juni 2012

Profiteroles / Italian Cream Puffs: vanilla, chocolate, coffee

I got the inspiration for these cream puffs during my vacation in Italy. I have always loved profiteroles and made them myself many times. But most of the time I had used fruity fillings like a raspberry or passion fruit custard. This recipe is a lot closer to traditional Italian cream puffs: they are filled with crema pasticcera, which is also the base for two further simple varieties - coffee and chocolate flavour.
A lot of people have never tried to make cream puffs at home but I can guarantee you that everybody will love your homemade profiteroles if you follow this almost foolproof recipe! So just give it a try!

 The recipe yields about 25 cream puffs

For the choux pastry you will need:

  • 200 ml (6.7 fl oz) water
  • 60g (2.1 oz) butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 110g  (3.9 oz) all-purpose flour

For the crema pasticcera filling you will need:

Basic vanilla flavour:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75g (2.6) sugar
  • 30g ( 1 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 250ml (8.5 oz) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean

Chocolate flavour:
  • additionally 2 tbsp grated dark chocolate
          -> add after step 4d) and stir into the warm crema pasticcera.

Coffee flavour:
  • additionally 1 tbsp coffee beans
          -> add to the milk and vanilla bean in step 4b) and let simmer together. Remove with vanilla bean.

For the frosting you will need:

Basic vanilla flavour:

  • 250g (8.8 oz) butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 100g (3.5 oz) of icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Chocolate flavour:

  • 250g (8.8 oz) butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 75g (2.6 oz) of icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder

Coffee flavour:

  • 250g (8.8 oz) butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp espresso
  • 100g (3.5 oz) of icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1. For the cream puff pastry, combine water, butter and salt in a sauce pan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Sift the flour and add to the mixture, constantly stirring until a firm ball of pastry forms and there is a whitish film on the bottom of your pot. Leave to cool slightly.

2. Using an electric mixer, add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. It is done when you have a smooth dough.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).

3. Fill the dough into a piping bag and pipe 25 dots (2,5 cm / in inch diameter) onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. You may want to smoothen the dots with the backside of a wet spoon so as to get smooth little balls of dough. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes. The cream puffs are finished baking when they feel very light and are hollow. While they are still hot, pierce a hole into the bottom of the cream puffs, using a plain tube nozzle. Allow to cool completely.

4. a) For the crema pasticcera, combine the egg yolks and the sugar and stir until the mixture is lighter in colour. Then sift the flour and carefully add to the egg mixture, carefully stirring with a whisk to prevent any clots.
b) Scrape the seeds from the vanilla and combine with the milk and the whole vanilla bean. In a small sauce pan, bring the mixture to the boil.
c) Remove the sauce pan from the heat and slowly pour the egg mixture into the vanilla milk, constantly stirring. Remove the vanilla pod.
d) Place the pan onto the heat again and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes over medium heat until the mixture has a custard-like texture.
Let cool completely. Tip: Cover with clingfilm so the clingfilm touches the cream's surface to prevent pudding skin. Remove after the cream has cooled down.
Using a piping bag with a tube nozzle, fill the cream puffs with your crema pasticcera.

5. For the icing, combine all ingredients for your flavour of choice (vanilla, coffee or chocolate), stir until smooth and pour over the cream puffs.

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