Profiteroles, chouquette, eclairs. They all start with the same choux pastry dough! And this can be finicky to learn, as I have experienced. So here’s my version that I’ve finally feel like I’ve mastered and some tips from friends a long the way. Here, we have a festive version of the classic profiteroles, or cream puffs.
Choux is a fairly basic and straightforward dough…that is if you follow instructions precisely and find a recipe with the right measurements like this one below. One key thing is to make sure the consistency of the dough is correct before you start piping. Although hard to judge in the beginning the first step in that is ensure the flour is added into the boiling liquid. Not warm, but boiling! Choux is unique in that the dough is first cooked before it’s baked.
Remember to thoroughly mix between steps
There’s nothing actually finicky about choux dough like sponge cakes, which need proper care for whipping egg whites. I’ve found that even when you’ve beaten it down, it’s still alright! But thoroughly mixing between stages is crucial in attaining that perfect dough consistency in the end. In the flour-butter stage, the dough should form a nice ball, peeling itself away from the pot as you stir over the stove. Then when eggs are added, I kept adding until that smooth, flow consistency resulted. Since eggs can vary in size even within the same egg carton, I suggest that close to the end, beat a single egg in a separate bowl and add a bit of egg at a time. That way you won’t accidentally add too much egg! Although err on the side of more egg than less.
Evenly piping the dough into a ball shape will help the profiteroles maintain their spheres when baking. Too flat and you might end up with silly-looking hats! Keep a close watch on the profiteroles as they bake, without opening the oven. Over-baking can result in pretty dry cream puffs.
Lemon Mascarpone Profiteroles
- 1/3 cup (75 g) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup (150 ml) milk (or soy milk)
- 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (150 g) flour
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup mascarpone (8 oz)
- zest of a lemon
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- Combine butter, milk, sugar, salt in a small pot. Melt on medium heat until mixture boils.
- Immediately add the flour to the boiling liquid and stir on heat until a dough forms. It should unstick itself from the sides of the pot. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Mix in each egg one at a time, fully incorporating each egg between additions. The dough should be smooth and have a consistency similar to whipping stiff peaks. As a test, the dough should barely drip off from a spoon or spatula.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Transfer dough into a piping bag (or ziploc with one corner cut). Pipe out the dough in circles about 1.5-2 in diameter.
- Place a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven and bake the profiteroles for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Cream the mascarpone, lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth. Add heavy cream slowly while mixing. Add powdered sugar and whisk until medium peaks form. Adjust with cream and sugar as necessary to create a pipeable filing. Chill in fridge until ready to use.
- Once profiteroles have cooled to room temperature, use a knife to slice them in half horizontally. Fill a clean piping bag with the mascarpone filling. Pipe a swirl in each and enjoy!
- When transferring batter or filling to a piping bag, it's easiest if you fold the tip up and rest the bag in a cup/mug. If using a ziplock, cut the corner right before you start piping.
- Choux based on Julie Soucail's "How To Cook French Pastry"
- Filling based on Bon Appétit
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