Profiterole is a big word for a miniature cream puff. You’ll find versions of profiteroles, one of my favorite desserts, on San Francisco menus as far back as 1851, and the European version, filled with anything whipped and light, dates back to the sixteenth century. One version I discovered called for almond broth, cockscomb, and black truffles. I think I’ll take mine with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 1 cup water, butter, sugar, and salt to a gentle boil over mediumhigh heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter is completely melted. Sift the flour and baking powder together, then add all at once and continue to stir until all the flour is incorporated and the dough becomes a mass that pulls away from the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and scrape the dough into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the dough on medium speed to cool it off a bit. Add the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically. When all the eggs have been incorporated, the dough should be a thick, smooth, and glossy paste.

Scoop the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round 1-inch tip (or use 2 spoons if you do not have a pastry bag) and pipe 24 golf ball-size mounds onto the prepared baking sheets, allowing 2 inches between them so they can spread as they bake; make the mounds as high and round as possible.

Bake the cream puffs for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Do not open the oven door or remove the pans from the oven until the cream puffs are golden brown and well risen. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, slice off the top two-fifths of each cream puff. Fill each profiterole with a small scoop of ice cream and replace the top. Place 3 profiteroles on each plate, drizzle with the chocolate ganache, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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