Friday, July 15, 2011

Pate a Choux (Bless You)

222-years ago, on July 14th, the French stormed the Bastille, igniting the French Revolution.  15-years ago, on July 14th, I vowed to honor and cherish the man whom I call hubby, til death do us part.  In honor of my sweet man, and in reference to the French and hubby's favorite bike race, le Tour de France, I decided to try out a special new dessert, Profiteroles.  They are basically cream puffs filled with ice-cream instead of pastry cream.  Since ice-cream is the one food that hubby could solely live off of, I knew he would enjoy these treats.  The french influence comes from the Pate a Choux (payt ah shoe) dough used to make the pastry puffs.  Topped with homemade chocolate sauce, they make a sumptuous ending to any meal.

Once again, America's Test Kitchen came to my rescue with a great recipe for these tasty tidbits.  This is from their Family Baking Book.


1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425-degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.  Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip.  Beat 2 large eggs and 1large egg white together in a small bowl.
2.  Bring 6 tablespoons water, 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (in 1/2-inch pieces), 2 tablespoons milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour until incorporated.  Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly using a smearing motion, until the mixture looks like shiny, wet sand, about 3 minutes (175-180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).

3.  Immediately transfer the hot mixture to a food processor.  With the machine running, pour the egg mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream and process until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to process until a smooth, thick, sticky paste forms, about 30 seconds.

4.  Fill the pastry bag with the warm dough and pipe 1 1/2-inch mounds on the baking sheet (6 across, 3 down) spaced about 1-inch apart.  Use a wet finger to even out the shape and smooth the surface of the mounds.

5.  Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees and continue to bake until fairly firm and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes longer.

6.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cut a 3/4-inch slit into the side of each pastry with a small knife to release the steam.  Return the pastries to the oven, turn the oven off, and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Let the pastries dry until the center is just moist (but not wet) and the surface is crisp, about 45 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

7.  While the pastries cool, use a 2-inch ice cream scoop to scoop mounds of ice cream onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Wrap with plastic and freeze until needed, up to 1 week.  (I used 31 Flavors Jamocha Almond Fudge and it was sooooo good.)

8.  When ready to serve, use a small knife to slice open the pastries about 3/8-inch from the bottom.  Arrange ice-cream scoops on the bottom halves of the pastries, and replace pastry tops over the ice-cream.  Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce (recipe below).  Unfilled pastries can be stored in a plastic bag for 1 day or frozen for 1 month.  Re-crisp them in a 300-degree oven for a few minutes.

Chocolate Sauce

1.  Bring 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut in 4 pieces), and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan.  Off the heat, stir in 8-ounces finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate, cover, and let sit until the chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.

2.  Uncover and whisk gently until smooth, trying not to incorporate too many air bubbles.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  The sauce can be refrigerated for 2 weeks and re-heated until smooth.

Hubby and I when we were young and naive.

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