I made profiteroles this weekend for dessert and boy did they surprise me. They not only surprised me with their incredibly simple recipe, little amount of ingredients and ability to turn into a beautiful puff, but also with their name. I am talking about what we in literal termed US, call a cream puff. I was looking up recipes for them and discovered the word cream puff and profiteroles is interchangeable; I quickly learned a little history lesson on this tiny pastry.
A cream puff was originally called a profiterole or choux à la crème. They are made from choux pastry and it is believed they were created for Catherine de Médicis who was the wife of Henry II of France.
I had watched Anne Burrell on the Foodnetwork make them so I felt prepared to tackle what I expected to be a challenge. The easiest recipe ever; 1, 2, 3 and you’re done. The only thing that scared me was the piping part. I used a gallon sized bag which wasn’t a problem, but it’s a sticky dough, and I had a hard time making them look ok. Although, my little sister was here and is always the one to keep her overly dramatic sister calm. We wet our fingers, and patted down the points, and put them in to bake not thinking they were going to turn out anything like a normal cream puff.
When I opened the oven door my eyes started to tear up. Yes, it could’ve been from the smoke caused by the butter I used to grease the pan because we didn’t have parchment paper, but I like to think it was because they were so beautiful. Round, golden and light appearance. To use my little bit of French I learned from six years of French classes; ils étaient parfaits. I had to put an “Autumn” spin on them so I added hazelnut and cinnamon into the vanilla filling to taste.
They were so fabulous, and easy that my older sister, Kara, and I decided to make them for the office Thanksgiving lunch. 54 profiteroles later patiences fully in-tack we were still fans. I should be their spokeperson because I have nothing bad to say about them rien du tout.
Custard Filling- Add Hazelnut and Cinnamon to taste. Makes enough filling for 8-12 puffs.
- 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
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