Christmas profiteroles

I know I’ve been slow updating on my progress in the Bake Off competition I mentioned previously, and anyone who follows me on Twitter will already know the outcome, but here’s my week 3 pastry round update – I made profiteroles and got through to the final!

These are chocolate choux buns, with a chocolate orange and brandy cream filling, decorated with white chocolate and holly berries and leaves, to look like mini Christmas puddings.

For the competition, I decided I needed to up the ante on presentation, so I also made fondant icing snowmen and penguins, which turned out rather cute if I do say so myself!

The actual profiteroles were great, a festive flavour combination that would hopefully please anyone who doesn’t like actual Christmas pudding.

The judges must have liked them too, as I was put through to the final round, in which I went head to head with two other bakers  in the festive cake round – I will probably post the update on that when I can’t stand any more family Christmas time tomorrow…

Christmas profiteroles (adapted from Holly Bell’s recipe)

  • 60g cold butter, cubed
  • 150ml cold water
  • 55g strong white flour
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs

For filling and decorating

  • 75g marscapone
  • 50g orange flavoured dark chocolate
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 1-2 tsp brandy
  • 50g white chocolate
  • holly leaf and berry decorations (I got mine from Asda)

Start by getting all your ingredients laid out, as there’s no time for faffing about when making profiteroles! Holly’s instructions for making the pastry and baking the profiteroles are pretty comprehensive so I won’t repeat them, just add in the cocoa powder at the same time as the flour and sugar.

For the filling, start by melting the chocolate in a small bowl. Leave to cool, then beat in the marscapone and brandy (to taste, my taste is for a strong kick!) In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold into the chocolate mixture a third at a time. Use a piping bag to fill each of the profiteroles, piping into the hole you made to let the steam out.

To decorate, melt the white chocolate then spoon on top of each bun, letting it run down the sides. Add a few leaves and berries, then leave to set.

Someone at work said they were like profiterole canapes, which I think is a great idea if you’re having a Christmas party! Just keep them in the fridge and get them out about 30 mins before serving.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

As these do have a nice good glug of brandy in, I’m going to enter them into this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by Choclette, who chose alcohol as the festive theme. Excellent choice!

Advertisements

Profiteroles

The last time I tried to make profiteroles, it was a bit of a disaster

Pastry that didn’t quite puff, creme patissiere that was ever so slightly scrambled eggy – it ended up going straight in the bin.

I don’t like the idea of something so simple defeating me, so I decided it was time to try again.

I went with a whipped cream filling as I thought it might go better if I faced my issues one at a time – creme patissiere will have to wait for now.

I was very pleased when I opened the oven and found lovely golden puffed up balls – that retained their shape after having the holes poked in to let the steam out.

Profiteroles are no longer my nemesis!

Profiteroles (from the Little Loaf) with glossy chocolate sauce (from the Chocolate and Coffee Bible):

Makes 16 large-ish profiteroles

  • 60g strong plain flour
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 150ml cold water
  • 50g butter, diced
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Sift the flour and sugar together onto a piece of baking paper or foil, ready to shoot into the dough. Heat the water and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. As soon as it gets to boiling, remove from the heat and tip the flour in, all in one go. Whisk like mad until it forms a ball of dough that comes clean from the sides of the pan.

Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, then add in the eggs a little at a time, whisking constantly. Stop when you have a thick glossy mixture – you may not need all the egg. Use two teaspoons to place small balls of dough on a lined baking tray, greased and sprinkled with a little water to help create steam. Bake at 220 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden, puffy and hollow sounding.

Poke a hole in the bottom of each using one blade of a pair of scissors, then return to the oven for another five minutes to dry out. Leave to cool while you make the filling and sauce.

For the filling and sauce:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 10g icing sugar
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 175g dark chocolate
  • 25g butter

Whisk the cream and icing sugar until just thick enough to pipe. Use a piping bag to fill each profiterole through the hole you poked in the bottom.

For the sauce, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until all the sugar has dissolved, then add in the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour over the profiteroles while still hot (if you don’t want to eat them all at once, the sauce can be kept in a jug and reheated later).

Strawberry meringue roulade and other baking disasters

This week has not been a good one for baking in the hinny house.

I started the week with enthusiasm, ready to bake chocolate coconut profiteroles. It’s been a few years since I last made choux pastry, and I’ve never made creme patissiere, but I was still fairly confident – how hard can it be?

Well the answer to that is very.

The choux pastry was too thin,  so the profiteroles came out as domes rather than balls – although they did have the right taste and texture, so they could have been used were it not for the creme patissiere…

Attempt 1 completely burnt onto the bottom of the pan – immediately thrown into the bin.

Attempt 2 I thought was going well, until I went to pour it an discovered the rather unappetising lumps at the bottom – a moment’s consideration, then into the bin.

Following this massive failure (which i was too traumatised by to take photos) I was left with 4 egg whites – so naturally my next baking attempt was meringue.

Pavlova seemed a bit easy (I know, the previous disaster taught me nothing…) so I decided to go for a meringue roulade. A strawberries and cream meringue roulade, to be precise.

The above picture shows said attempt at a roulade, but as you can see what I actually got was a sloppy strawberry mess.

I’m really annoyed, because I knew before doing it that I was making a mistake, but decided to place my trust in the original recipe… error!

The recipe called for the roulade to have the fillings put in and be rolled up straight away. The fillings inlcuded whipped cream, which predictably melted on contact.

As i rolled it, the cream flowed out, taking several strawberries with it.

Despite it’s slightly unconventional look, it did actually taste ok, and the friendly pony thinks ‘sloppy’ is the best thing a food can be, so it wasn’t an absolute failure.

The recipe works, as long as you dont try and put cold cream on hot meringue straight away!

Strawberry meringue roulade (loosely based on this one)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 50g icing sugar (estimate)
  • 100g strawberries (estimate)
  • 3 tbsp strawberry jam

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until thick and stiff. Whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until glossy. Line a 30 x 20 cm baking tin with greaseproof paper and spread the meringue to fill it. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until crisp and lightly golden on top.

Turn the meringue out onto another piece of greaseproof paper, dusted with icing sugar. LEAVE TO COOL!!!!

Whip the cream until thick, then fold in icing sugar, a bit a time, to taste. Spread a layer of jam on the meringue, followed by a layer of cream, and then scatter the strawberries all over before rolling up from one of the long edges.

Your slice of delicious meringue roulade should look far neater than this one!