6 February 2015

1.01 Basic Profiteroles – Advanced – Baking & Desserts

Might as well start off with a bang!

I’ve always loved profiteroles and éclairs, however the prospect of making them myself seemed quite daunting based on what other people had told me following their own attempts. If you hear similar comments, please do not be dissuaded as they’re actually much simpler than they seem.

I have included this as an ‘Advanced’ recipe because it is a little too fussy to fit into the ‘Intermediate’ category. The full recipe may seem lengthy and scary at first, but if you try it a few times, you’ll see it’s really not so bad! I can usually whip out a batch of these in about an hour (and I have witnesses).



3 cups milk
1/2 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract/essence
6 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cornflour/cornstarch

Crème Pâtissière (a.k.a. Crème Patisserie, “crème pat”, or pastry cream) is, basically, just a fancy name for thick custard. There seems to be some sort of stigma when it comes to using cornflour to thicken crème pâtissière. Any purists can feel free to do things their own way, I’m just here for the food.

When making profiteroles, I would usually make the crème pâtissière while the pastry cases are baking in the oven. Gotta love that time management!


1. Add milk and vanilla into a largish pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (NOTE: You will need a pot big enough to mix all of the ingredients in later.)

2. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large jug (or a mixing bowl with pouring lip) until combined, then add the cornflour and continue to whisk until pale and thick. (Once again, the jug/bowl needs to be large enough to mix all of the ingredients in.)

3. Once the milk has just started to bubble, remove the pot from the heat and pour carefully into the egg mixture while whisking.

4. Continue to whisk together for a further 5-10 seconds to ensure it is combined, then pour the custard mixture back into the pot and return to the heat, whisking constantly. (Or, at least, whisking as much as you can be bothered. The mixture will become thicker the longer it remains on the heat. WARNING: Mixture could curdle or split if you leave it on the heat for too long and/or don’t whisk diligently enough.)

5. Once the desired consistency is reached, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool. (For filling profiteroles or tart cases, etc., you would want the mixture to be fairly thick, but be careful otherwise it can get too thick and basically solidify into a big lump when it cools. You may want to strain the mixture before you chill it if there are some lumps, but who really cares? This isn’t Masterchef! TIP: Place a sheet of cling film directly onto the surface of the crème pâtissière, this will stop it from forming a skin.)

6. Once cooled, it is ready to be used as a filling!

A video of this recipe is also available on YouTube - http://youtu.be/wnS4hOwrnuk.



1 cup warm water
100g butter
3/4 cup Grade 00 white flour
4 large eggs (from the fridge)

Grade 00 flour is used mainly for making pasta as it is the finest grind available in most supermarkets. The first time I made choux pastry I had forgotten to buy a new bag of regular white flour. Hoping for the best (yet preparing for the worst), I substituted some leftover Grade 00 flour instead. My optimism paid off and now this is the only flour I use for this recipe. I don’t even bother sifting it and it always turns out fine! If it’s easier, however, just use regular plain white flour (and remember to sift it).

Traditionally in baking the eggs would be at room temperature, but I find that cold eggs work better for this recipe as I add them right into the hot batter, which in turn brings the temperature down faster. While I did say ‘large’ eggs, I often use XL or even Jumbo size. The more egg in the mixture, the puffier the profiterole, as there are no added raising agents.


1. Preheat oven to 200°C (approx. 390°F), line some trays with baking paper and set aside.

2. Whisk the eggs together in a jug and set aside. (The aim of this is to break up the yolks in order to make the eggs easier to incorporate into the batter, and also to allow them to lose a little bit of the chill from the fridge.)

3. In a medium-sized pot, heat the water and butter until simmering, then turn down to a medium-low heat and leave for a minute or two. (Please make sure you don’t use a small pot as you may have a difficult time when it comes to adding the flour and mixing.)

4. Add the flour to the pot and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until all flour is incorporated and there are no lumps. (Sometimes you won’t be able get rid of all the lumps. It isn’t the end of the world. Just do your best and then move on to the next step.)

5. Continue to beat for another minute or so until the batter forms into a ball and does not stick to the edges, then remove the pot from the heat.

6. Transfer the batter into a large mixing bowl and beat in the eggs a bit at a time. (I usually pour in 1/4 of the eggs to start with, beat like mad until it’s mixed in, then repeat this process until all the egg is incorporated. BE WARNED: As soon as you add the eggs and start mixing, the dough will immediately split into small pieces coated in an eggy mess. DO NOT GIVE UP. Just keep mixing and it will start to come together again. This can be quite a workout and a bit messy the first time you try it!)

7. Transfer the batter into a piping bag and pipe mixture into balls on the prepared trays, ensuring to leave enough space between for them to inflate as they bake. (The bigger you pipe them, the longer they will take to cook, and the more filling they will require. I usually pipe mine to around 2.5cm (1 in) depending on what I will be using them for. Some people prefer to spoon the batter instead, so if it’s easier for you, then do that. If you pipe the mixture into logs, you will get éclairs instead, and there’s nothing wrong with that! TIP: Wet your finger and flatten any raised points to prevent burning and make your profiteroles more uniform.)

8. Bake for 25-35 mins or until golden brown and puffed. (If you have piped them smaller, this may only take 20 mins or less, whereas if you piped them bigger, this could take 40 mins or more.)

9. Turn the oven off, but leave the profiteroles inside for another 15-20 minutes with the door slightly ajar. (I usually just wedge it open with the wooden spoon.)

10. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then they’re ready to be filled!

A video of this recipe is also available on YouTube - http://youtu.be/65yvJU3xd2s.


It may seem pretty obvious to most of you what happens now, however some crazy beginners may be attempting this recipe, so I should probably make sure I cover all the bases!


1. Using a chopstick (or something similar) pierce the pastry shell to allow the piping nozzle inside. (I usually fill from the top of the pastry case and conceal the evidence by dipping into chocolate or toffee. This helps to keep the filling inside the profiterole and not on your clothes when you bite into it!)

2. Transfer the cold crème pâtissière into a piping bag with a small nozzle. (TIP: Place the bag inside a large glass tumbler to make it easier.)

3. Fill the profiteroles. (You shouldn’t really need instructions on how to do this, but for those who do: place the tip of the piping bag into the hole you made in the pastry case and squeeze gently. Try not to overfill them or the pastry could burst. Go slowly so you can maintain maximum control.)

4. Dip the filled profiteroles into melted chocolate or toffee and put aside or into the fridge to set. (Toffee is my nemesis. Try as I might I just can’t get it right, so I always use chocolate instead. I prefer the texture and flavour of chocolate over toffee anyway, so it’s not really too much of an issue. Plus, sometimes there’s enough left to make chocolate-dipped strawberries or cherries! TIP: Use a 50/50 mix of dark chocolate and milk chocolate. I find that this seems to get the best colour and flavour.)

5. Once chocolate/toffee is set, apply profiteroles generously to face. Rinse, repeat. (Or don’t rinse, who cares? This isn’t Next Top Model!)

Makes anywhere from 10-35, depending on how big you’ve piped them.

A video instruction of this step is also available on YouTube - http://youtu.be/A2axR6MtqvA.

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