Choux pastry seems daunting until you make it and realise just how easy it is. It can be used for a whole range of sweet and savoury recipes, but classic profiteroles with chocolate sauce is my favourite. Profiteroles can be filled with whipped cream or custard … but it’s hard to beat really good vanilla ice cream. It’s a great do-ahead dessert as the puffs can be made days in advance and recrisped before filling, and the ice cream balls can be shaped ready to assemble at the last minute. If you make the sauce ahead of time, reheat it over the lowest heat and stir in a tablespoon of boiling water. Space the dough balls on the tray so they have plenty of room to puff up, cook in two batches if need be rather than crowd the tray (the dough will hold at room temperature for an hour or so). The only trick is to ensure the puffs are completely cooked in the centre, so they’re nice and crisp. Disposable piping bags, available by the roll from kitchenware stores, are handy to have on hand for recipes like this. Chocolate can be hard to match with wine, but a sweet fortified like Dandelion Vineyards Legacy of Australia PX works a treat.
Serves 6 (makes 18 pieces)
- 1 cup water
- 125g salted butter
- 1 cup plain flour, sifted
- 4 eggs
- 1 litre vanilla ice cream
- 150g dark chocolate
- 50g salted butter
- ⅓ cup water
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Place water and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Remove from heat, stir in flour, then return to medium heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes, until it stops sticking to the side of the pan.
- Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for a few minutes, until cooled.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a further minute or so, until smooth and glossy.
- Pipe 5cm wide balls of dough onto a baking paper-lined oven tray, leaving room for them to double in size.
- Place in oven for 20 minutes or so, until lightly browned.
- Remove tray from oven and reduce temperature to 160°C. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow steam to escape and return them to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, until completely dry inside; you’ll need to sacrifice one to check.
- Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
- Form ice cream into 18 small balls (about the same size as the profiteroles) and return them to the freezer.
- Make Chocolate Sauce: place butter and water in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Add chocolate and heat for another 30-60 seconds, until it’s almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
- Cut choux puffs in half, place a ball of ice cream in the bottom and top with the other half.
- Drizzle sauce over profiteroles and serve immediately.