Friday, 28 September 2012

Profiteroles with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Ganache

I have wanted to make profiteroles (also known as cream puffs or choux à la crème) for a long while since a baking demonstration I attended earlier this year. However, the recipe produces a large quantity of puffs and it was not possible for my family to finish them all even if I give some away to neighbours. A couple of weeks ago, I had a party at my place and I took this opportunity to try the recipe out.

It had been quite a few months since the class and I could not remember clearly the steps so there were lots of trial and error. I did not bake my first batch of puffs long enough and they deflated when I removed them from the oven. Then I over-baked the second batch! I finally got the third and subsequent batches right.

The term profiterole is traditionally used for small versions of cream puffs filled with whipped ice cream and topped with chocolate although the usage varies and can include other fillings. Profiteroles are usually eaten for dessert, often served from a large cone-shaped pile, particularly on special occasions.
As I was preparing this for a party, I filled this with whipped cream as ice cream melts quickly. This recipe for cream puffs produces a light and airy puff which was lovely with the light whipped cream and  topped with Chocolate Ganache.

Recently, Anuja of Simple Baking make these beautiful Choux Swans and I really wanted to do some as well. I used some of the batter to practise making these swans. It wasn’t easy to get the swan heads and I must have done at least 20 and only a few turned out right. I’m quite happy I made a few pretty looking swans.
Puff Pastry (about 100 small servings)
Recipe by PA Trainer Tay Tong San
  • Unsalted butter or margarine 210 g
  • 10 eggs (60 g each)
  • 300 g cake flour, sifted
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 450 g water
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Cook water and butter on the stove till it comes to a boil. Switch off the fire.
  • Add flour and baking powder to the butter and water mixture and stir till the flour is blended in and becomes a thick paste.
  • Place the mixture into a mixer and beat on medium speed it till it cool to touch.
  • Add in the eggs one by one, ensuring that it is well mixed in after each addition.
  • Place the puff pastry batter into a piping bag and pipe them out in circles of about 2.5 cm. Or you can use a spoon to drop the batter onto the baking tray directly.
  • Bake at 200 degrees C for about 17 minutes till the puffs are evenly browned. Do not open the oven door while the puffs are baking or the puffs will sink.
Cream Filling
  • Non-dairy whipping cream 500 ml, whipped till it becomes stiff and fluffy.
Chocolate Ganache
Recipe from Joy of Baking
  • 4 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • Heavy whipping cream 90 ml
  • Unsalted butter 14 g
  • 1 tablespoons cognac or brandy(optional)
  • Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. (Can also heat the cream and butter in the microwave.) Bring just to a boil.
  • Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand, without stirring, for a few minutes. Stir gently (as you do not want to incorporate air into the ganache) with a spoon or whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.
How to make choux pastry swans

Here are notes from Anuja’s blog post.

  • Using a ¼” (6 mm) tip on a pastry bag, pipe out the swan heads, aiming aiming for something between a numeral 2 and a question mark, with a little beak if you’re skilled and/or lucky (I used a toothpick for the beak).
  • Remove the tip from the bag and pipe out the swan bodies. These will be about 1.5” (40 mm) long, and about 1” (25 mm) wide. One end should be a bit narrower than the other.
  • After the puffs are baked cooled, take a swan body and use a very sharp knife to cut off the top 1/3rd to ½. Cut the removed top down the center to make two wings.

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