Some years ago I dabbled in catering. I quickly found that the most popular dessert items were tiny sweets that could be eaten in one or two bites. Profiteroles one such dessert that everyone seems to love. They are basically cream puffs, but instead of whipped or pastry cream inside, small scoops of ice cream become the filling.
Pâte à choux is a basic pastry recipe that can be modified in numerous ways. For this I’ve used the very basic recipe that is simple to prepare. The buttery puffs are a blank canvas for the fresh strawberry sauce and ice cream, which are the stars.
Now let’s talk about the ice cream filling. Homemade is especially good, but to make things easy, buy a pint of the very best strawberry ice cream. One trick that will make things that much easier is to form the scoops ahead of time and freeze them on a plate or tray lined with waxed paper. When it’s time to serve, just cut the puffs in half, place a small scoop of ice cream inside, and serve with strawberry sauce.
For Pâte à Choux:
- 4 ounces butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 pint homemade or store-bought strawberry ice cream
- 2 cups strawberries
- 1-2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Pâte à Choux:
Bring butter, water, and salt to a boil in a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan. Add the flour all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. Lower heat and cook for 1-2 minutes until the dough comes together in the center of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, or grease well with butter. Once the dough has cooled, add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag. Pipe into 18 one inch rounds that are about one inch tall onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350° F for an additional 15-20 minutes. The puffs should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Use a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the side of each puff to let steam escape. Set on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
For filling and sauce:
Puree the strawberries, sugar, and vanilla in a blender, adding a little water, if needed, until smooth. Set aside.
When puff have cooled completely, using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut each puff in half horizontally. Place a small scoop of ice cream onto the bottom half and top with the other half. Place two or three onto a small serving plate and top with the strawberry sauce.
- Prep time: 1 hour
- Cook time: 35 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Makes 6 servings.