Eclairs or cream puffs or profiteroles – all are twists in basic choux buns
Some memories hang on forever like the taste of eclairs when we used to return from our monthly gorcery shopping. This is the time when I was 5-6 years old and lived with my parents and younger sister in Jeddah – KSA. I have still not forgotten that taste and to date also I simply love this dessert. It consist of basic pastry shell called choux (pronounced chauw) which is filled traditionally with pastry cream. Variations include ice-cream or fresh whipped cream. It is then drizzled with chocolate sauce. It has European origin and Eclairs and profiteroles just differ in shapes – former being oblong and later rounds. Cream puffs is just the American term for profiteroles. The shells themselves are neither sweet nor savory so they can also be filled with cooked mince meat [left over from lasagne for example] and topped with tomato sauce [from pizza]. Now thats a lot of education!
Talking about the recipe, it is very easy to make with few basic ingredients but a little tricky. You got to measure the ingredients accurately, cook the batter perfectly and then bake them carefully. Most important however is to never open the oven while they are baking. Keeping these things in mind, you should be on your way to making perfect profiteroles. The recipe doesnt need credition since almost all recipes you will find have same ingredients and proportions. Some people however use milk instead of water but I have not tried it personally.
Water 1/2 cup
Butter 1/4 cup
Flour 1/2 cup
Eggs 2 larges
Vanilla essence few drops
Salt a pinch
Fresh whipped cream or ice-cream
Chocolate sauce for drizzling
1. Place butter, water, salt and vanilla essence in a sauce pan.
2. Heat on medium heat, until it begins to boil.
3. Remove from heat, add flour immediately mixing with wooden spoon.
4. Return to heat. Keep on mixing until a ball forms and mixture comes in the center.
5.Turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
6. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition with the spoon.
7. Continue until all the eggs have been added and incorporated.
8. At this point mixture should be well binded and shiny.
9. Drop spoonfuls on a greased baking tray. You can even pipe them with decorating bag.Make sure you leave enough space between them as they will expand.
10. Bake in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6 for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.
11. Turn off the oven and leave in oven only for 5 minutes. This is to make sure that they don’t fall off.
12. Cool and fill with desired filling and drizzle with chocolate sauce.
Note: To fill, either cut in half, put cream and sandwich together or inject cream (ideally they are hollow inside) with decorating bad fitted with round tip.