It's been a few weeks since I did any hardcore baking. Between school and work, I just don't have the necessary prep time anymore most days. This past weekend, however, I decided it was time to bake something blog-worthy - something extravagant and complex. As you can see, I opted to bake profiteroles, a challenge in an of themselves, and something I've never attempted before.
Those of you who have been following SYD might have noticed I'm generally not content doing just one thing - and to that end, I also made the ice cream myself, even without an ice cream maker. It's a chocolate chip and Nutella swirled vanilla ice cream, and it was well worth the effort. You can find the recipes for the profiteroles themselves, as well as the ice cream, and the chocolate ganache topping below. Obviously, you don't have to make your own ice cream for this, as doing so extends the prep time considerably. I'll leave that up to you.
Profiterole recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
Ice cream recipe adapted from My Recipes (with instruction on how to prepare without an ice cream maker from Brown Eyed Baker)
Difficulty: Relatively Tough
Active Prep Time: About 1 hour
Total Prep Time: 12 - 36 hours
Special Equipment: Electric Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer
Makes: 12 - 15 profiteroles, about 1 quart of ice cream
Choux Pastry Ingredients:
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon granulated white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- ½ cup warm water
- 3 large eggs, (2 lightly beaten, and the 3rd beaten with a pinch of salt to form egg wash)
Ice Cream Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Nutella (not pictured)
- About ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (not pictured)
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
(If you're preparing your own ice cream, start with that. Otherwise, skip to step 8)
1. Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens a bit. Remove from heat.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolk until it thickens slightly. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into yolk. Pour the yolk mixture back into the remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes. Finally, whisk in vanilla bean paste. Cool for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the cream and chill in the fridge for 8 - 24 hours. I chilled mine for about 16 hours total.
(Okay, so, here's where things get a little screwy. If you have an ice cream maker, fantastic - use it, then skip to step 8 to start the profiteroles. I'm not so lucky, so, I had to mix mine by hand)
4. Remove the custard from the refrigerator and stir with a rubber spatula. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe bowl or container, and cover tightly with plastic wrap or an airtight cover. Place in the freezer and allow to freeze for 2 hours.
5. Remove from the freezer and beat with a hand mixer to break up the ice crystals that are now beginning to form around the edges. Cover and place back in freezer for 2 more hours.
6. Remove from the freezer and beat again with the hand mixer. The ice cream should be thick but will likely still be too soft to scoop. If it is not thick enough, return it to the freezer for another hour, then beat again. Repeat this process until it has reached the desired consistency.
7. Once the ice cream has thickened properly, stir in the nutella and chocolate chips. Do not beat with the hand mixer after the add-ins have been mixed in.
(Now that your ice cream is done, it can sit in the freezer until needed. Time to make your Choux pastry!)
8. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
9. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
10. Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (should take about a minute or two).
11. Use a hand mixer, or transfer the dough to your electric mixer, and beat on low speed for a minute or two to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the 2 lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick sticky paste.
12. Scoop the dough into a piping bag and pipe out little mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart. (You don't need to use a piping bag, or do any kind of piping at all really. You can simple scoop the dough onto the baking sheet as well.)
13. Beat together the remaining egg and salt to make an egg glaze. With a pastry brush, coat each mound of dough with the glaze.
14. Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes are up, reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue baking for 30 - 40 minutes. At that point, the pastry shells should be a rich amber color and be dry inside when split open.
15. Turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly. Allow the pastries to dry out like this for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
(And now the final piece of this pastry puzzle - the chocolate ganache)
16. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
17. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until just below the boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 30 - 60 seconds, then stir until smooth.
(The moment you've all been waiting for - assembly and consumption!)
18. Cut the pastry shells in half and fill the bottom halves with a scoop of the ice cream. Replace the top, then drizzle liberally with the warm ganache. Serve immediately.
One of the nice things about this recipe is that, if there are leftovers, each individual component can be stored and reused later. The ganache can be refrigerated for up to a week, while the pastry shells and ice cream can be frozen.