Pastry Challenge – Cookie Crusted Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce

I mentioned last week that my sister had challenged me to open the enormous Professional Pastry Chef book at a random page and bake whatever was on that page. Well, I took up the challenge and opened the book at random at…… a contents page. On the second opening I fell upon Cookie crusted profiteroles with chocolate sauce. This looked really easy, it only had about 4 ingredients! Then I realised that three of those ingredients were actually other recipes which I would have to make. It seems like a daunting and complicated recipe, but if you make sure you have everything you need and take it step by step it’s actually quite simple.

They’re basically just profiteroles with a very thin cookie on top, served with chocolate sauce. There are four basic steps, it makes about 25 – 30 profiteroles:

1. Make the cookies
2. Make the choux pastry
3. Make the profiteroles
4. Make the chocolate sauce

Stay with me, here we go.

1. Cookie dough. The recipe book calls this “Short Dough”, but it’s very very simple. You’ll only need about 60g of the dough, but this recipe makes about 1kg! I’ve frozen the rest for another day, but you can try and cut down the quantities if you like.

Ingredients, makes 1kg.
170g granulated sugar
400g butter, at room temperature
455g bread flour
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla extract

Place the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in a mixing bowl, mix until just combined (not creamed). It really helps if the butter has been left out to warm, if you’ve softened it in the microwave you may want to beat it first to get rid of any lumps.

Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together and knead until smooth.

Place the dough on a paper lined baking tray and press out as flat as possible, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

2. Choux Pastry. Again, surprisingly simple! The recipe book calls for a mixture of cake flour and bread flour, which is basically normal plain flour, so I just used that!

Ingredients, makes about 625g, enough for 25 – 30 profiteroles.
130g plain flour
240ml water
85g butter
¼tspn salt
240ml or 4 large eggs

Sift the flour into a bow and set aside.

Heat the butter, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring it to a full rolling boil so that the fat is dispersed throughout the liquid not floating on the top.

Using a heavy wooden spoon stir the flour into the liquid, adding it as fast as it can be absorbed. Avoid adding all the flour at the same time.

Cook, stirring constantly and breaking any inevitable lumps by pressing them against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon, until the mixture forms a mass and pulls away from the sides, about 2 – 3 mins. (I actually found that this happened within seconds! Don’t worry if it does, it probably means the pan is a bit too hot. As long as you have a ball of paste in the middle of the pan it will be fine!)

Transfer to a mixing bowl and let the paste cool slightly so that it does not cook the eggs.

Mix in the eggs one at a time. Add as many eggs as the paste can take and still hold its shape when piped. It should be glossy and smooth, but still look like pastry not cake mix!

3. Make the profiteroles.

Ingredients, makes 25 – 30 profiteroles
20g granulated sugar
60g short dough
625g choux pastry
300ml double cream
200ml whipping cream
1 tspn vanilla extract

Mix the granulated sugar into the short dough, roll the dough out very thin, about 2mm. Cut 25 – 30 cookies using a 1½inch (3.7cm) cookie cutter and set aside.

Place the choux pastry in a pastry bag with a No 4 or 8mm plain tip. Pipe out 25 – 30 mounds onto baking trays lined with baking paper. Keep the piping bag near vertical and just squeeze about a tablespoon amount into a pile. They’ll have a little flick on top but don’t worry. They should be about the same diameter as the cookies. Immediately place a cookie on each mound and press lightly to ensure they stick.

Bake at 200°C (180°C in a fan oven) for about 20 minutes until they are well puffed and a deep golden colour. Cool completely.

Beat the two different creams and vanilla together until stiff peaks form.

Put the cream into a piping bag with the same No 4 nozzle, and pipe into the bottom of the profiteroles. Don’t worry if some of them don’t really have a bottom, just pipe into the middle of them!

4. Chocolate sauce. Nearly there!

Ingredients, makes about 250ml
120ml water
80g golden granulated sugar (or just normal granulated sugar)
30g cocoa powder
115g dark chocolate, melted

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, boil for one minute and remove the heat.

Add enough of the syrup to the cocoa to make a paste, stirring until completely smooth. Gradually add the rest of the syrup.

Add the melted chocolate and stir until combined. This might look very runny, trust me it sets to nutella consistency! You may need to pop it in the microwave for about 40 seconds to get it to pouring consistency.

FINALLY! Serve the profiteroles with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a dusting of icing sugar and give yourself a big pat on the back!

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