While I consider myself pretty proficient in the kitchen, there are still often times I still say to myself, “Holy Crap! I just made ___” with a look of pride on my face that no one can match. Jim quickly remedies this look by making fun of me. Oh, the love of a husband! Making profiteroles this weekend for our Valentine’s Dinner was one of those “Holy Crap” experiences. Here in Wisconsin, we’ve ALL had a cream puff, and, while they’re yummy, I personally don’t see the point in waiting in a 2 mile long line to get one. Now that I’ve successfully made them at home, I REALLY don’t see the point.
We filled ours, that I made following this recipe from The Italian Dish, with a small scoop of Good vanilla ice cream and topped with The Fresh Market’s Dark Chocolate Sauce, but, with these little shells, the possibilities are endless. You could stay sweet with ice creams, whipped cream in different flavors, etc., or go savory by filling with chicken or seafood salads, mousse, frittata, etc.
If you’re overwhelmed and convinced that you can’t make these, don’t be, you can. I’d really like to say that they’re very difficult and time consuming, but the fact is they aren’t, but they taste wonderful and present beautifully.
Makes 12 – 13 medium sized cream puffs
- 1 cup Milk
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 cup Flour
- 5 Large Eggs (4 for the dough and one for an egg wash)*
- Heat the first four ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat just until the milk starts to boil. Lower the heat to low and then dump in all the flour at once and stir with a wooden spoon. The dough will pull together. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the ball of dough around, so that it dries out. Remove the dough and place it either in the bowl of a stand mixer or the bowl of a food processor and let the dough cool off for a few minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with either a Silpat or parchment paper (I like parchment paper because I can just throw it away). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time. It’s important that you let each egg incorporate fully into the dough before adding the next one. The dough will look curdled and weird – don’t worry about it.
- After all four eggs are added, mix until the dough forms a nice paste consistency. It will be very loose, not at all like a bread dough. (If you do not have either a mixer or some kind or a food processor, you can beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoon. It just is a little more work).
- Pipe the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large tip (I like using a star tip). If you don’t have a piping bag, you can just spoon the dough onto the baking sheet. Pipe the dough into mounds about 2 to 2-1/2 inches wide. Beat the egg for the egg wash with just about a tablespoon of water. Brush the mounds of pastry dough lightly with the egg wash.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 25 minutes, or until the puffs are a nice golden brown. Turn off the heat and open the oven door a few inches and let the puffs sit in the turned off oven to dry out for about 30 minutes.
- If you are not sure about your egg size (especially if you get eggs from a farm) I weighed my eggs after I broke them into a cup and they weighed a little over 5 ounces. This does not have to exact.