the hinata diaries

Monday, February 27, 2006

My first profiterole!

Now that I'm slowly conquering my fear of baking, I decided to set my sights a little higher (and, more specifically, daintier) this weekend by embarking on my first profiterole. The attempt was a bit of a debacle, but proud to report that at the end of the (long and sweaty) day, the (few) completed profiteroles were a success and would pass any blind taste test.

25 simple steps to making your first profiteroles:
  1. Start with the profiterole recipe in Donna Hay's (your only baking cookbook). Confidently exclaim to self, "That looks simple!"
  2. Lying on the sofa, daydream in front of said book about all the exotic fillings and toppings you can combine.
  3. An hour later, settle on Earl grey creme patissiere with toffee, Rasperry curd with white chocolate and nougat and Ginger and pumpkin puree with ginger icing.
  4. Run to friendly neighbourhood grocery store excitedly.
  5. The grocery store has no raspberries. Substitute with nectarines while wondering how one extracts juice from a nectarine. Push all negative thoughts out of head - people can taste negative energy.
  6. The grocery store only has big ass pumpkins. Contemplate drinking pumpkin soup for dinner every day for the next week. Decide to instead grab a can of candied yams while harboring suspicions that the yams are infused with enough sugar to send a grown person into convulsions. Breathe in and think more positive thoughts.
  7. Get home and make the profiteroles in 3 batches of 20 each. Easy peasy. Eagerly pull first batch of golden, puffy profiteroles out of the oven.
  8. Watch in horror as first batch deflates in front of your eyes.
  9. Re-read the recipe. Ohhhhhhhhhh.
  10. Second batch is done, correctly this time. Eventually though, these deflate too, though not as much as the first lot.
  11. But, you think you've figured it out this time. Third batch comes out perfect, hooray!
  12. While profiteroles cool, make earl grey creme patissiere. This is easy peasy too. Transfer cream to a ziploc bag with a tip cut out - read that all the cool home chefs do this instead of using a proper pastry bag.
  13. Using a chopstick, poke hole in bottom of one of the good profiteroles and insert ziploc bag nozzle. Squeeze gently.
  14. Watch in horror (again) as cream explodes through the opposite (the ass) end of the bag and towards you.
  15. Repeat several times.
  16. Run back to grocery store and buy a proper piping kit. Bring home. Insert newly purchased plastic piping bag in newly purchased metal piping tip. Wonder what that funny plastic thing that was included in the kit is for. Transfer cream to new piping bag, making sure to drop half the cream on the floor in the process.
  17. Using the same chopstick as before, poke hole in another one of the good profiteroles and squeeze. Squeal again as metal tip goes flying off the front and cream once again comes flying out the ass end.
  18. Husband comes home. Run to door with despairing look on face. He instinctively attaches that funny plastic thing to the bag. It works perfectly now.
  19. Fill 15 of the profiteroles before running out of cream.
  20. The profiteroles pass the taste test, and are sweet without being cloying. Decide to skip the toffee. And the nectarine curd. And the candied yam puree.
  21. Stare at remaining empty profiteroles wistfully. In a final burst of energy, decide to make some orange curd using already squeezed orange juice in the fridge.
  22. Curd is too runny. Dump in copius amounts of cream cheese. Dump in all the cream cheese in the fridge. Still a bit runny, but it might do. For a bit of flair, toss in chopped glace ginger and prepare to pipe.
  23. The glace ginger jams the piping tip. And the curd-cream cheese mixture is still too runny. (You can tell because it's also running down your face and hair). Scream "I give up!" to no-one in particular.
  24. Transfer all unfilled profiteroles to a glass baking dish. Spread curd mixture over and top with more profiterole shells. Chuck in fridge for another day. Think of it as an avant garde tiramisu that might revolutionize the history of modern dessert (positive thoughts).
  25. Return to the 15 good earl grey profiteroles. Stare at them appreciatively. Serve sparingly, approximate one per loved one.

Misadventure aside, I am now secure in the knowledge that, having mastered the art of profiterole baking and piping, that I could make these again in a jiffy (the curd recipe goes out the window though). Got rave reviews from the lucky people who got a puff or two each, and was even considering making another batch tonight. We'll see :)


Makes 30

  • 1 cup water
  • 100g butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Combine water and butter in saucepan over low heat. Once mixture simmers, add flour and beat with wooden spoon till smooth. Once mixture leaves side of the pan (this can happen extremely quickly - mine was almost immediate), remove from heat and gradually beat in eggs.

Pipe an approximate 3 tsp of mixture per profiterole onto non-stick baking pan, leaving generous space between profiteroles to accomodate rising. (The profiteroles will approximately double in size in the oven.)

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until light golden. Turn off oven and wedge oven door ajar using a wooden spoon or similar. Leave profiteroles in oven for a further 20-30 minutes or until golden. (Note: Err on the side of longer here to prevent profiteroles from collapsing). Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

(Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2)

Earl grey creme patissiere

  • 2 cups milk
  • Earl grey tea - 2 teabags or the equivalent in loose leaves
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornflour (or cornstarch)

Bring milk and tea to boil in a large saucepan. If using tea leaves, strain to remove leaves. If using tea bags, remove the tea bags and discard (duh).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar till thick and pale. Add cornflour and whisk again.

Slowly pour in hot milk, whisking continuously.

Return mixture to saucepan over medium high heat. Simmer rapidly and whisk continuously to prevent a 'skin' from forming, 5 minutes or till thick.

Remove from heat. Cover cream with non-stick baking paper or clingwrap to cool, allowing the paper/wrap to adhere directly to the surface of the cream.

To fill profiteroles, transfer cream to piping bag with small nozzle. Poke a hole in the profiterole and fill gently.

(Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2)


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