August 2, 2010

Monday Sweets: Profiteroles with Coffee Whipped Cream

Each month when I put Southern Living recipes online, there's that one recipe that stares at me for days and screams, "I look so tasty! You just have to make me!" This June recipe screamed the loudest yet this year, and after reading Elizabeth Bard's prose on how delightful she found profiteroles, it officially went onto my Fourth of July pastry menu.

Profiteroles are puff pastries filled with whipped cream or ice cream. This rendition was stuffed with coffee-flavored (Kahlua!) whipped cream and topped with hot fudge.

15 family members raved about their tastiness. One of my aunts kept saying how she doesn't usually like dessert but loved how light this was, and by light she means texture (in calories, it is not). Another aunt was slightly puzzled by the name and asked me no less than four times over a couple of days to repeat the magic word: profiterole (pro-fit-a-roll). All plates were cleared, quickly.

I wasn't so sure if making a puff pastry from scratch would end in disaster. Boiling butter and water was easy. It got more daunting when I had to beat in eggs one at a time, and six eggs for my double recipe was a lot. Each time the batter would turn lumpy and scare me, but as I stirred with all my strength, it would eventually become smooth, at which point I would sigh in relief.
I couldn't help but check the oven as my spoonfuls on mushy butter dough puffed into these cute, crisp balls. I was pleased.

You can make the pastries in advance and store them in a container. This is the only way I would consider serving them to guests. Regardless, be prepared that assembling the three-part presentation takes some time; thankfully, I had some sous chef cousins to assist.

You can buy fudge sauce in a bottle, but I was in the mood and had the time to make it from scratch.

Profiteroles with Coffee Whipped Cream
Southern Living, June 2010

These small cream puffs are surprisingly easy to make. Use a 1-inch scoop coated with cooking spray to drop dough onto baking sheet. Store cooled, unfilled puffs in an airtight container up to 2 days.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 large eggs, beaten
Parchment paper
Coffee Whipped Cream
Hot fudge topping

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Stir together flour and sugar.

2. Bring butter and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat, and quickly stir in flour mixture all at once. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and leaves sides of pan, forming a ball of dough. Gradually add eggs, beating until mixture is smooth and glossy.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

4. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Pierce 1 side of each cream puff with a knife to allow steam to escape. Cool completely on baking sheet (about 20 minutes).

5. Cut each cream puff in half horizontally. Dollop Coffee Whipped Cream onto bottom halves; top with remaining halves. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Drizzle with hot fudge topping just before serving.

Coffee Whipped Cream

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I used Kahlua)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Beat heavy cream at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add liqueur and powdered sugar, and beat until soft peaks form.

Hot Fudge Sauce
Adapted from Southern Living, December 2009

Yield:  Makes 3 1/4 cups

1 (8-oz.) package unsweetened chocolate baking squares
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Melt chocolate and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds or until blended. Add milk, and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated and sugar is dissolved. (Do not boil.) Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Cover and chill sauce up to 2 weeks.

Note: To reheat, microwave sauce in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring occasionally, at HIGH for 15- to 30-second intervals or until warm.

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