Sunday, January 9, 2011

Do you have a true weakness for desserts? Most of us do…..whether it be cake, pie, cookies, ice cream I am pretty sure one of my favorite desserts to prepare and to eat would be Profiteroles. You know, the little brother of the Cream Puff…..more elegant, more versatile, and it is easier to fool yourself into eating a dessert…after all, it’s little!

I’ve tried dozens of recipes for Profiteroles, and this is my favorite. Tiny little crispy puffs filled with the smallest scoop of coffee ice cream, then drizzled with warm chocolate sauce. Each serving should be made up of 3 filled Profiteroles, topped with the warm chocolate sauce, and finished off with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a tiny sprig of fresh mint. (Isn’t it wonderful we can buy fresh herbs all winter long?)

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Of course, if coffee ice cream isn’t for you, try your favorite. Just make sure it will go with the chocolate sauce with Port….trust me, you won’t want to miss the sauce!

For profiteroles:

1 quart coffee ice cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
 3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
For chocolate sauce:
 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
 7 ounce fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Somerset Ridge Tawny Port

You will need several pieces of Equipment: a small (about 1 1/2-inch) ice cream scoop; a large pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch plain tip

Make profiteroles:
Chill a small metal baking pan in freezer. Form 18 ice cream balls with scoop and freeze in chilled pan at least 1 hour (this will make serving faster).
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Butter a large baking sheet.
Bring butter, water, and salt to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until butter is melted. Reduce heat to medium, then add flour all at once and cook, beating with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from side of pan and forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well with an electric mixer after each addition.
Transfer warm mixture to pastry bag and pipe 18 mounds (about 1 1/4 inches wide and 1 inch high) 1 inch apart on baking sheet.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes total. Prick each profiterole once with a skewer, then return to oven to dry, propping oven door slightly ajar, 3 minutes. Cool on sheet on a rack.
Make chocolate sauce:
Heat sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling pan occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.
Remove from heat, then add cream and a pinch of salt (mixture will bubble and steam). Return to heat and cook, stirring, until caramel has dissolved.
Remove from heat and add chocolate, whisking until melted, then whisk in vanilla and Port. Keep warm, covered.
Serve profiteroles: Halve profiteroles horizontally, then fill each with a ball of ice cream. Put 3 profiteroles on each plate and drizzle generously with warm chocolate sauce. Don't forget the glass of Tawny Port with your dessert!

: •Ice cream balls can be frozen up to 1 day (cover with plastic wrap after 1 hour).
•Profiteroles can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Recrisp on a baking sheet in a 375°F oven 5 minutes. Cool before filling.

Sound good? Of course, there is Crème Brulee, apple pie, bread pudding, Pavlova, chocolate cake, peach cobbler, strawberry pie, pecan pie, angel food cake with 7 minute frosting (pink frosting, please)……see, I do love desserts! And I wonder why I am a 4’cube!

It is back to the studio come tomorrow. I'm anxious to return to my new project. But I will always have time to blog....sooner or later!

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