- Course: Dessert
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 12 Times
The first time I ordered profiteroles was in a restaurant in Paris. I thought I was just ordering a simple dessert, but what showed up was quite an impressive presentation—and delicious, to boot. The waiter came out with two perfect pâte à choux, each filled with several small scoops of ice cream. He then poured a warm chocolate sauce over the profiteroles—at what seemed at the time about three feet away from my dish. He then brought slightly whipped cream, which he left on the table. That memory has never left me and I have never treated a profiterole as just another simple dessert since.
Profiteroles can change like chameleons—the flavor of the ice cream can reflect the season—and are great for dinner parties because most of the preparation can be done in advance. The combination of bananas and chocolate makes the perfect comfort food, too.
If you really want to go for it, top with whipped cream. This recipe can be easily doubled. Be sure to serve the chocolate sauce warm.
Banana rum ice cream:
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 7 egg yolks
- 4 very ripe bananas, pureed (2 cups)
- ¼ cup dark rum
Pate a choux:
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
Bitter chocolate sauce:
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- ¾ cup heavy cream, plus more for thinning
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the banana rum ice cream:
Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is warm, 125 degrees.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and place a metal bowl large enough to hold the cream mixture in it. Whisk the egg yolks for 1 minute in a large bowl.
Remove the vanilla from the cream and scrape the seeds back into the cream. Slowly pour a little warm cream into the eggs, whisking as you pour. Continue stirring in the rest of the cream. Once you have added all the cream, pour the mixture into the saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a medium-high simmer, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens, coats the back of a spoon, and is 170 degrees.
Remove the mixture from the heat and immediately pour it through a sieve into the metal bowl in the ice bath. Stir the mixture for several minutes to speed the cooling.
Using an electric mixer, beat the banana puree and the rum until smooth. Whisk the banana mixture into the cream mixture. Stir until cool.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Make the pate a choux:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a 2-quart heavy-duty saucepan combine the water, butter, milk, sugar, and salt, and bring to a high simmer until the milk mixture is scalding, stirring until the butter is completely melted.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add all the flour at once and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture is a thick paste. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to dry out the mixture.
Transfer the choux paste to the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture at low speed for 1 minute to cool it down. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough should be soft and sticky.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain ¼-inch round tip. Fill the bag with the choux paste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe out the choux paste 1 inch apart into rounds 2 inches in diameter and about ½-inch high. You should have 18 in total.
Bake the pate a choux in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the profiteroles from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Turn them over and gently pierce the bottom of each profiterole with a sharp knife. Reserve.
Make the chocolate sauce:
Place the chocolate, cream, butter, and vanilla in the top of a double boiler or metal bowl set over simmering water. Melt gently, then stir until smooth. If you want a thinner sauce, add a bit more cream. Be careful not to overheat the sauce or it will seize up. If it does, just stir in more cream. Serve warm.
Assemble the profiteroles:
Cut the profiteroles in half crosswise. Scoop some ice cream into each bottom half. Replace the tops and place 3 on each of the 6 dessert plates. Pour some warm chocolate sauce over them, and serve.
© 2003 Lora Zarubin