Profiteroles with Chantilly Cream and Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache

As far as I'm concerned, Pâte à Choux is magic. How else would you explain the miraculous transformation of an uninspired, sticky blob of dough into a hollow, golden and light-as-air pastry? All in the absence of chemical leavening like baking powder or baking soda?

Sure, chefs will tell you that it's the water in the dough that turns into steam in the oven, blowing a large bubble in the center of the pastry, not unlike blowing a bubble gum bubble. But I say it's magic, and I'm sticking to my story.

Profiteroles, croquembouche, eclairs, beignets, French crullers and gougères are all born of the same egg, butter, water, flour mixture called Pâte à Choux. The dough can be baked or fried and stuffed with various fillings.

These are filled with Chantilly whipped cream (sweetened vanilla cream in fancy-speak) and smothered in bittersweet chocolate ganache. While chocolate and vanilla seem like rather "standard" flavours, they are irresistible in this combination. I blame factory produced desserts for the association of vanilla with bland, one-note flavour. Whipped cream with good quality vanilla extract has an incredibly comforting and complex aroma that will make you want to stick your face in the bowl. Don't believe me? I dare you to make these. There is nothing quite like freshly baked choux pastry, richly scented vanilla cream and velvety smooth ganache.

Sweet or Savory Pâte à Choux
Yield: 4 dozen bite sized profiteroles


  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (for sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (for savory)
  • 5 3/4 ounces flour
  • 1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Boil water, butter, and salt or sugar. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam.

Use a piping bag to fill puffs with cream. Fill puffs soon before serving to prevent pastry from becoming soggy.

Chocolate Sauce (Ganache)
Makes about 1 cup

5 oz bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until it steams and bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently stir until chocolate and cream are uniformly combined. Cool until thickened, pourable consistency.

To reheat, set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (in double boiler arrangement).

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown and Food Network
Image property of beetsandbites

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