Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Profiteroles think they're so fancy.

Oh hey profiteroles, I didn't notice you there...which is funny, because you're staring right at me in all your buttery savory-sweet goodness, judging me.  I guess you think you're pretty awesome huh?  With your European-sounding name, and your predilection towards being accompanied by an entourage of fabulous creams and warm sugary sauces...served all over the world in fine restaurants and bakeries.  Ooooh, I'm so special and complex that you could never make me.  That's what you're thinking.  Well you know what, jerk?  You're wrong because I've totally done it.  And it definitely was NOT hard at all.  

Keep giving me the eye like that and I'll tell them all your secrets, profiteroles.  Oh, I'll do it.  Like that you began life as an unappetizing blob of greasy paste cooked on the stove top in a humble pot, that gets even grosser looking with the addition of eggs?  You think you can hide that with your just barely browned adorable final appearance, but don't deny your roots profiteroles.  We all know how you started now, and it's not pretty, even if it's called pate a choux.

In short profiteroles, stop judging.  Seriously.  I totally made you, and now everyone reading can too. You're not that fancy.  So drop the act.  Pfff...

...okay, fine. I love you and you are SO DELICIOUS.

from Michael Ruhlman's Ratio
makes about 24

8 ounces water
4 ounces butter (1 stick)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounces flour (a scant cup)
8 ounces eggs (4 large eggs)

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium to small sized sauce pan.  Reduce heat to medium and add flour.  Stir rapidly for about a minute or two, until dough is pulling away from the sides of the pan. (Michael notes that this helps the flour to cook and gets rid of some of the water.)

Remove the pan from heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes (the paste still needs to be hot for the next step, but be sure to let it rest).  Add eggs to pan one at a time, stirring rapidly until combined with the paste. (Michael also very helpfully notes here that it seems at first like the dough won't accept the eggs, but don't worry, it will.  The paste will become flat rather than shiny and slippery, when the eggs are fully incorporated.

On parchment lined baking sheets, spoon out golf ball sized portions of the paste.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350˚F and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took about 18), until lightly browned and cooked through.

Let cool on racks and serve as soon as possible - these simple yet exquisite treats are really best texture-wise the first day you bake them.  Slice in half horizontally and serve filled with ice cream, pastry cream, pudding, whatever, and topped with your favorite sweet sauce!

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