Friday, February 06, 2009


You may have had these or you may have seen them on a menu. Profiteroles are a classic dessert in France made from pâte à choux (cream puff pastry). I saw somebody make them on tv recently, so I thought I'd give it a go.

My baked puffs cooling on the rack.

I read that the name of the pastry, pâte à choux (literally, cabbage pastry), is a deformation of the original pâte à chaud (hot pastry). The origin of the pastry is attributed to one of Catherine de Médicis' chefs, who made the dough and dried it out on the fire before baking it. I also read that it's called that because the puffs look like little cabbages.

My recipe comes from Julia Child and it is extremely simple. First, you bring some water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil. You remove it from the heat and stir in some flour. When the mixture is smooth, you stir in eggs, then put the pot back on the heat and stir some more to dry it out a bit. This stage goes pretty quickly, which is why I didn't take any pictures of it.

The puffs are sliced open to dry.

Next, you put the dough into a pasty bag and pipe it onto a baking sheet in little round shapes that you then smooth out with a brush dipped in water or egg. These go into a moderately hot oven for about twenty minutes, then you poke a small hole in each puff with skewer to let the steam out and bake them for another five or so minutes.

Fill each puff with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

After they've cooled a bit on a rack, slice the top third off of each puff and open them up. Scoop out any soft dough and let them dry a little more. Then fill them with vanilla ice cream, put the lids back on, pour chocolate sauce over them and serve.

Top with chocolate sauce and serve.

A standard portion is three profiteroles. I made twelve puffs. That means we had them two days in a row. And, since I made them in France, they have absolutely zero calories.


  1. LOL regarding zero calories!
    They look awesome! Did you make the chocolate sauce from scratch, too?

    What you say is easy sounds like a lot of work to me. I guess that's why I need to continue to visit you so that you can try out your "easy" dishes on me!

  2. You really do take a lot of care -with showing us each stage. Thanks for the tips - I might even give them a go now

  3. niiiice. Simon like profiteroles. Profiterole yummy. 12 is one serve - Simon is BIIG machine.

    I will have to have a bash at this one day. I know these things are never as easy as you make them look, but this looks way too much fun not to be done.

    Word verification is dishea. Dishey, eh?

  4. "since I made them in France, they have absolutely zero calories."

    I love that logic! Does that apply to everyone who cooks in France? It should!

  5. Gorgeous! I'll have to show this post to my students. We watched Alton Brown's episode about Pâte à choux, and that inspired me this year to make a batch of mini eclairs... for the first time! It was fun, and not difficult, but the results are impressive!

    Yumm yumm!


  6. They do look yummy...the ones I have always seen normally have cream inside...but I suppose if you are eating them straight away, ice cream will be fine..:-)

  7. I have never heard of these; I enjoy learning about food. Thank you for your food posts!

  8. Oh I love them. When I am in France 9 or a good French restaurant here), it's either Profiteroles or crème caramel.

    As far as calories afterwards, I double my time on the treadmill :-)

  9. With a cup of hot tea, please.

  10. Your culinary skills are impressive and your postings about your creations make the dishes tempting.

    I salivate just reading your blog.

  11. Profiteroles are one of my all time fave! Mum and Granny used to make them all the time. Sometimes Mum would pipe a thick home-made custard into ours and drizzle real choc over the top. I could never get enough of them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  12. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!! ZERO calories?!!! I'm there!!!
    Alex and I are coming to your region on Feb. 15/16. Just wondering if we may have the pleasure of meeting you guys?! We'll be staying in Chiverny.... I'll send you an email... Have a great weekend and keep up the cooking/baking 'til we get there!!!

  13. Anytime profiteroles are on the menu in France, they are my first choice. Love them!!

    I should try making them too. I remember helping my mom make them and really, I don't think they're difficult but as Walt says, the beginning goes quickly so you must pay attention. Thanks for the memory, Walt!


  14. cheryl, yes, I made the chocolate sauce, but it came out a bit thick. The second time it was thinner and better.

    french fancy, go for it!

    simon, be sure to take pictures...

    jennie, why not? I think it should be the law.

    judy, we've been watching some AB - a friend made some dvds for us - but so far we haven't seen that episode.

    anne, I will have to try them with cream or custard.

    urspo, if you get the chance to try them, I highly recommend it.

    beaver, two of my favorites!

    lewis, coming right up!

    victor, just keep a napkin handy.

    muzbot, I really do need to try the custard version. Also, doing them savory with a mushroom/veal or chicken filling would be good.

    leesa, looking forward to your message.

    bettyann, you bet!


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