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The ‘authentic’ way to eat profiteroles is family-style. Eaten as a sharing dish, people help themselves to profiteroles, chocolate sauce and ice cream, adding an element of interaction that creates social bonds and provides a talking point. This, of course, makes it a perfect dish for Valentine’s Day and dates in general.
The great thing about making profiteroles is that provided you haven’t cooked them, you can store them in the freezer and bake them from frozen – giving them that freshly baked quality everyone loves.
Makes 18-20 profiteroles
For the pastry
-250ml/9fl oz water
-125g/4½oz plain flour
-pinch caster sugar
-4 medium free-range eggs
-optional: add cocoa or Peanut Hottie powder for an extra indulgent treat
For the chocolate sauce
-100g/3½oz 70% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
-3 tbsp golden syrup, agave or honey
-½ orange, juice only
For the cream
-300ml/10½fl oz double cream, cold
-icing sugar, to taste
-optional: 75g/2½oz shelled (unsalted) pistachios or almonds, or vanilla essence to taste
For the profiteroles
1. Boil the water in a heavy-bottomed pan. Once done, add the butter to melt.
2. Sieve together the salt, flour and sugar.
3. Once the water and butter has come to a rolling boil, add the salt, flour and sugar.
4. With a wooden spoon, beat the mixture. It should be thickening at this point, so beat it until it becomes smooth and easily comes away from the sides of the pan.
5. Remove the dough from the pan and put aside in a bowl to cool.
6. Beat the eggs in a fresh bowl. Once the dough has cooled, slowly mix in the eggs, using only as much as is needed to make the dough firm but at dropping consistency.
7. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and sprinkle a non-stick baking tray with water.
8. Fill a plain-nozzle piping bag with the dough. Pipe it directly onto the baking try into small balls about 5cm in diameter.
9. Bake the profiteroles for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
10. Cool the profiteroles on a cooling tray. Once they’ve cooled enough to turn over with your hands, flip them over and pierce each one with a single hole in the base. The hole should be about the same size as the nozzle for your piping bag, to allow you to fill them with cream.
11. Now let the profiteroles cool completely.
For the sauce
1. Put a bowl in a pan of gently simmering water (the water shouldn’t touch the bowl).
2. Break the chocolate into the bowl, add the golden syrup and the orange juice, and gently stir as they slowly melt together.
For the cream
1. Whip the cream into soft peaks.
2. Gently stir in the icing sugar and fold or stir in any other additions (nuts or flavourings).
3. Fill a clean piping bag with the cream filling and slip the nozzle into your profiteroles, piping the cream inside until full.
Instead of piping in cream, you could cut the profiteroles in half and fill with ice cream, mascarpone or even Angel Delight. Food die can be used to give fillings a more romantic colour for Valentine’s Day.
The chocolate sauce can be replaced by cold custard or toffee sauce.