Since it's Chinese New Year, I thought that I'd make the very auspicious-sounding Profit-eroles. Geddit?
Ok, bad joke.
But anyway, these delicious little morsels are always great as party food, and allows you to have dessert done and dusted in advanced.
First, the Choux pastry. This is basically the same pastry as eclairs, so you can take the recipe and just change the shape if you're so inclined.
I got this off Taste.com.au and it works every time!
1 cup water
1 cup flour
Bring the water and butter to a boil.
Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the flour. Vigorously I've heard somewhere (don't quote me, though) that the secret to puffed, gorgeous profiteroles is making sure that the gluten is well-worked.
SO WORK IT! *insert relevant hip-hop song here*
Once the flour is incorporated, work in the eggs, one at a time, making sure that each one is mixed in before you add the next.
You'll end up with a slightly spongy wet-ish batter.
Put aside to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C (fan forced). I've found that you can probably afford to turn the heat down slightly from that - the pastry needs to 'dry out' slightly inside, and baking it for slightly longer at a slightly lower temperature helps that process along.
Using two teaspoons, spoon heaped amounts of the pastry mixture onto a lined baking tray.
Using wet fingers, pat down any peaks that can end up burning in the oven.
Bake till puffed and golden brown.
Armed with a sharp knife and a pair of tongs, carefully pierce the bottom of the profiteroles and place back on the tray, pierced side up, and put back into the oven with the door ajar. MAKE SURE THAT THE OVEN IS TURNED OFF! You don't want burned pastry. This will help it finish drying out.
Then, move on to the custard.
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 3/4 cup milk
Vanilla bean or vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with sugar.
The mixture will turn a very pale yellow, and although the original recipe says to use caster sugar, I wouldn't worry too much about it - it ends up being dissolved anyway. Also, I used a mixing bowl to start off with, but really, you could do this in a saucepan. Less washing up is always good.
Whisk in the flour, and when that's incorporated, add the milk and vanilla and place the saucepan on VERY LOW HEAT. Trust me.
Keep whisking. This is not a good time to walk away, be distracted by the TV, or do the dishes. WATCH THAT SAUCEPAN LIKE A HAWK.
And keep stirring!!!
Very soon, you'll see the mixture begin to thicken.
At this point, burning will follow quickly. I think what happens here is a little bit like the Tangzhong method in baking. For the science behind it, click here. Basically the starch (flour) will thicken in the process of water and heat and will so contribute to the texture of the custard.
Still, I'm not too crazy about this particular recipe as I find the custard a touch too runny, but feel free to use any piping custard recipe you'd like.
The profiteroles can last about a week when stored in an airtight container, in the fridge.