Once you get the knack of profiteroles, you’ll never want to stop making them. How else can you so elegantly devour quite so much cream and chocolate?
Equipment and preparation: You will need a piping bag.
For the choux pastry
- 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
- 60g/2oz plain flour, sifted
- 2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- 2 tsp caster sugar
For the filling
For the topping
Preheat the oven to 210C/190C Fan/Gas 7.
To make the choux pastry, put 110ml/4fl oz water in a saucepan with the butter and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and tip in the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan into a ball. Return to a low heat and cook the pastry for a few minutes, beating it constantly. Tip into a large bowl to cool.
Beat the eggs into the pastry in stages, beating until the egg is incorporated before adding more. You may not need all the egg, you are looking for the mixture to fall from the wooden spoon in a reluctant drop (about 5–7 seconds). Your mixture must not become too loose or it will spread and not rise.
Place the mixture into a piping bag with a plain 1cm/½in nozzle.
Line a large baking sheet (or two) with baking paper and pipe 25 small balls, allowing each enough room to rise. Gently smooth the top of each ball with a wet finger as this will make it crisper.
Bake for 20–30 minutes, or until deep golden and crisp.
Turn the oven down to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Make a small hole in the bottom of each choux bun with a skewer – move it about in the middle, but do not pierce through the other side. Place the buns back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven for 5 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
To make the filling, lightly whisk the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until it just holds its shape. Place it in a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Put the nozzle into the hole and pipe until the cavity fills with cream. The bun should feel heavy.
To make the topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, or in a microwave. Leave to cool slightly, then dip the top of each choux bun halfway into the chocolate and allow the excess to drip off.
Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the chocolate before it sets. Once the chocolate has set, assemble the profiteroles in a stack to serve.
The unfilled choux buns will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Give them a crisp up in a medium oven for a few minutes and they’re good to go.