Does this look like a four-ingredient French pastry? Water, butter, flour and eggs … that’s it. Though they look intimidating, these profiteroles (a.k.a. cream puffs) are simple, versatile, beautiful, and contain no sugar.
Did you catch that when I listed the four ingredients? No sugar. This lack of sweetness is what makes the puffs so versatile. They become a crispy-chewy vehicle for savory or sweet preparations. One batch will make 6 large puffs (as pictured above) or 20-24 mini-puffs (bite-sized). The mini-puffs are a great option for appetizers or a bite-sized sandwich/dessert for a party or luncheon.
how to fill a profiterole
Some of my favorite ways to serve these include:
- a replacement for shortcake in strawberry season (pictured here),
- filled with mocha pudding (pictured previously),
- stuffed with chicken salad and cucumber slices, or
- holding a big scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup drizzled over top.
That last option is courtesy of my sister-in-law who would make homemade fudge sauce and was never stingy with it!
more filling options
As I was making this batch, I started thinking about fillings I hadn’t yet considered. Now I can’t stop thinking about:
- coconut cream,
- sliced turkey with avocado slices and microgreens,
- bruschetta with fresh basil,
- peanut butter cream with jelly,
- bananas foster,
- scrambled eggs with sausage gravy, and
- Italian meatballs!
Some of these ideas are not likely to work well. The one rule to consider with cream puffs is they will absorb liquid and become soggy very quickly, making it difficult to pick up if they are filled too early. For example, the bruschetta mixture would have to be drained well before putting in the shell. A layer of fresh basil placed on the shell before adding the filling will help separate the remaining liquid from the pastry.
Of course you can use instant pudding. The mocha pudding recipe was my first ever attempt at homemade pudding. Do not be intimidated … it is worth it!
But first, the profiteroles!
new and improved
I was looking through other cookbooks to see if I could find any other helpful hints to include and found that many recipes will tell you to bake at 425° for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 325° and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes. I like this idea because it is how we bake pies to get the crust nice and flaky with the hot oven and then bring it down to finish the cooking process without burning the pastry.
Next time I make cream puffs, I will try this new/old method. If I like it better, I will update the recipe with the improved instructions.
Sounds like the perfect excuse to try out some of those other filling options, don’t you think??
NOTE: As you can see, I did try the high/low temperature method and have edited
the recipe accordingly. This post was updated on June 15, 2018.