Profiteroles with hot chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce

32 Comments
profiteroles

Bite-sized cream puffs with molten peanut butter fudge sauce

I love watching cookery programmes. Whether it’s the jaunty Jamie Oliver cruising round Italy in his camper van and crusading against American obesity, a group of stressed out contestants in the latest series of Masterchef, or simply a boozed up Keith Floyd making friends with the locals, there’s just something about food and TV that makes for a great evening’s entertainment. This year I’ve become slightly obsessed with the BBC’s Great British Bake Off.

I didn’t watch it last year, but am a big fan of crowned king of cake The Boy Who Bakes, and an avid reader of the recipes that both he, and his fellow finalist The Pink Whisk, post on their respective blogs. In last night’s episode, five female quarter finalists battled it out to create beautiful baked cheesecakes, perfectly rolled roulades and towers of croquembouche; a pastry traditionally served at French weddings and celebrations consisting of hundreds of crispy choux buns held together with hardened sugar.

choux_buns_small

Crispy choux buns

I first encountered the towering terror that is croquembouche in an episode of Masterchef earlier this year, when the extremely talented (and slightly scary) Michel Roux tutored the contestants in how to make one. With so many elements which can potentially go wrong – soggy pastry, sagging buns and caramel burns to name just a few – this task is the perfect challenge to set a group of amateur bakers to test their skills and really separate the wheat from the chaff.

As a passionate baker of cakes, I’ve never actually attempted a croquembouche; although they look absolutely incredible, I can’t imagine feeling quite the same sense of celebratory satisfaction pulling off pieces of pastry as I’d get from cutting a cake, blowing out the candles, making a wish. It’s definitely something I’d like to attempt at some point, but without an imminent special occasion to justify it, and largely lacking in fridge space to house one, I can’t see this happening any time soon.

piped_cream_profiteroles

Piping the profiteroles with whipped cream 

Profiteroles are perhaps the younger sibling of a croquembouche – the same light, crispy pastry and creamy filling but infinitely less work, and a great place to start if you’re new to choux. Despite their impressive appearance, these little buns are actually pretty easy to make as, unlike other pastry, they don’t call for any lightness of hand or perfect rolling out. You cook the pastry twice, first making a roux, then baking in the oven at a high temperature to form delicate balls of crispy puffed perfection. If you follow the directions below, you shouldn’t go wrong, but for totally fool-proof instructions I’d recommend a read of this step by step tutorial from Delia.

I’ve used a whipped cream filling below – rather than a traditional crème pâtissière - which is both lighter and easier to make. My topping is an indulgent take on the classic chocolate sauce, adding double cream, golden syrup and peanut butter to create a rich, glossy river which runs over the buns when hot, or turns to a thick, fudgey layer if left to cool. Feel free to experiment with fillings and flavours too; Helen at Fuss Free Flavours‘ Toblerone profiteroles sound great, and GBBO finalist herself Holly Bell has recently posted a tiramisu version on Recipes From a Normal Mum which I’m definitely going to try. Coffee, white chocolate, strawberry, zabaglione and even green tea are all flavours which work well too.

Are there any flavours you’ve made which I should know about? Have you ever attempted a croquembouche? And most important of all, who do you want to win the Great British Bake Off?!

chocolate_fudge_profiteroles

Creamy choux buns drenched in hot chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce

Profiteroles with hot chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce

For the choux pastry (adapted from Delia Smith’s Book of Cakes)

Ingredients:

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

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Cut out a square of baking parchment the size of your baking tray. Sift the flour and sugar onto the baking parchment to aerate.

Heat the cold water and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture comes up to the boil, turn off the heat immediately. Tip in the flour – all in one go – with one hand, while you beat the mixture vigorously with the other. You can do this with a wooden spoon or a whisk.

Beat until you have a smooth ball of paste that has left the sides of the saucepan clean – this will probably take less than a minute. This is the important bit – the dough must have formed a ball of paste which leaves the sides of the pan. Once this texture is achieved, beat in the eggs – a little at a time, mixing in each addition thoroughly before adding the next – until you have a smooth, thick, glossy paste.

To make the choux buns, prepare a piping bag with a medium nozzle, fill with the paste and pipe balls the size of unshelled walnuts onto your baking parchment lined tray. Alternatively use two teaspoons. Leave about 2.5cm between each ball to allow room for expansion.

Bake on a high shelf in the preheated oven for 30 mins, or until crisp, light and a rich golden colour. When done, pierce a small hole in the bottom of each one to let out the steam, then cool them on a wire rack.

For the filling

Ingredients:

300ml double cream
10g icing sugar

Method:

Whip the cream and sugar to soft peaks using an electric whisk. Be careful not to overwhip.

For the sauce (adapted from this incredible Nigella Lawson recipe)

Ingredients:

100ml double cream
50 dark chocolate, chopped
50g peanut butter
1 tbsp golden syrup

Method:

Put all your ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over a gentle flame until melted into a thick, glossy sauce. I used chunky peanut butter – hence the grainy look of my sauce – because I love the nutty crunch of little bits of nut against the light creamy profiteroles. If you’re looking for smooth, shiny perfection, use a smooth brand of peanut butter. If you make this ahead of time, the sauce will thicken as it cools – to reheat simply warm again over a gentle flame.

For the profiteroles:

Fill a large piping bag with your whipped cream. Stick the nozzle into the little air hole you created in the bottom of one of the buns and pipe in the cream, making sure your bun is nicely filled but not bursting. Repeat with all the buns and arrange into a big pile, or individual bowls, drenching in the warm chocolate sauce.

This isn’t a dessert that keeps particularly well as the cream can cause the pastry to go soggy. If looking to impress, fill the buns with cream a maximum of 2 hours before you want to eat them to retain the beautiful crisp texture. But if there’s no-one to impress and you’re looking for a naughty sugar fix, a slightly soggy pile the next day still tastes pretty awesome.

32 RESPONSES TO Profiteroles with hot chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce

  1. They do look lovely, and I am a long time fan of choux pastry – it’s so easy to get along with. I have made 4 wedding cakes to date but never the croquembouche, it looks so intimidating to this home baker. I think you would need a lot of confidence to even attempt it.

    Lovely post (and sauce)

  2. Kavey -

    Sigh. As always when I read your delicious blog, I am left hungry and WANTING!

  3. I have spent several years trying to convince one of my good friends (who is a very good baker) to make me a croquembouche but she keeps refusing. I have no idea why…

    The best profiteroles I’ve ever had were filled with ice cream but I’m not sure how successful I would be at recreating them at home. Your profiteroles look delicious and I love the chocolate peanut butter sauce.

    • Warm Snug Fat – thank you. If I ever brave a croquembouche I promise to post it here (unless it’s a disaster!)

      Kavey – thanks :-) Still think someone still needs to invent a blog/Twitter food delivery service and make their millions!

      London Bakes – there’s a delicious looking recipe for profiteroles filled with ice cream in The Perfect Scoop…definitely want to try. Cold ice cream and hot chocolate sauce? Yum.

  4. You are on such a blogging roll. Everything you’re doing right now is amazing. I feel I need to up my game…after I’ve built up my strength with a pile of these beauties.

    I really need to try choux pastry again. I made it once when I was a kid and it was great, but then I decided it was scary and too difficult. You’ve reassured me it isn’t!

  5. Hot chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce? Oh my! I think I need a cold shower and a little lie down!

  6. Pingback: Profiteroles with hot chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce | Saturday Kitchen Recipe Search

  7. Keith Floyd is my favourite, he is simply fantastic! I kinda want to be like him :P Although without the fairly early death… These look delicious. I just wrote a recipe for choux pastry in my recipe book so I shall be trying something very very similar soon. I just need to pick up a piping bag so I can go eclairs.

    • Miss South – aw, thank you :-) Having lots of fun with the blogging at the moment!

      Fuss Free Flavours – haha, Nigella’s recipes never let you down. This sauce is amazing on ice cream too – her original recipe.

      Frugal Feeding – Floyd is a bit of a legend :-) For your eclairs, you can make a pretty good one just by spooning the mixture out, although a piping bag does make it a bit prettier.

  8. littleloaf, your choux looks great! wonderful coloring! and guess what? i was thinking about making a peanut-chocolate spread – it’s such a great combination!

  9. Oh I’ve never heard of that show before. I must check it out! I remember Keith Floyd-he had a great book of American recipes that I loved to cook out of :)

  10. Manu -

    I have never made croquembouche either… it terrifies me!!! hehehehe But I love profiteroles and that sauce sounds so delicious! I would love to try it!!! Great job!

    • Fleur du Poirier – peanut chocolate spread sounds awesome – poss. even better than that amazing Nutella you made… Looking forward to the post!

      Not Quite Nigella – ooh you should check it out. Very British – lots of sponge, scones and stiff upper lips!

      Manu – profiteroles are definitely the best place to start… One day I will take on croquembouche though!

  11. Never thought about adding peanut butter to chocolate sauce but now I can’t imagine it without! Sounds AMAZING!!! You put me to shame with your amazing recipes.

    • Once you try it, it’s definitely hard to go back :-) Although I made ‘lean chocolate sauce’ recently from a David Lebovitz recipe which was amazing too…no cream or butter but beautifully chocolatey.

  12. This looks just stunning! Delicious profiteroles. I am also a big fan of last years Bake off winners. Amazing bakers and all seem really lovely as well.

    • Thank you :-) And yep, they do all seem lovely…I think something about baking brings out the best in people :-)

  13. Mmmm your profiteroles look so delicious, and that hot chocolate sauce oozing over the top looks divine!!

  14. ginandcrumpets -

    Amazing! I am filled with WANT.

  15. Delicious! Just love anything made from choux. Anything!

    I’m addicted to food shows, too. When I lived in Boston I think I had the Food Network on practically 24/7!

  16. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce!!! That is insane! I soooo badly want some now! I think that would be great over icecream too!

    • Thanks for your lovely comments – these profiteroles are proving very popular. And yep, the sauce is really good over ice cream too. Check out the link to Nigella’s original recipe for the most decadent ice cream sundaes ever :-)

  17. It’s hard not to be addicted to the GBBO – but I’m not telling who I’m routing for! Haven’t made choux for many many years and keep telling myself I should try it. I used to think they were quite easy, but the more I hear about them, the scarier they become. One of the entries (Yummy Choo Eats) for last month’s We Should Cocoa was for profiteroles filled with rose cream which sounded pretty damn good to me, but am really liking the sound of your peanut butter fudge sauce – mmmmm!

    • GBBO is totally addictive…can’t wait for this week’s instalment :-) As for your We Should Cocoa challenge, it sounds amazing! I bake with chocolate pretty much every month so I’m definitely going to check this out…

  18. hot chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce sounds awsome

  19. yum! profiteroles…I never thought they were simple to make. will be sure to try them. love the PB twist

  20. This looks amazing, especially the sauce! Profiteroles seem to be my baking nemesis but your recipe sounds simple and looks great so I may face my fears and give it a go!

    • Definitely do give them a go – I promise they’re not tricky once you get the hang of them (and definitely not compared to those amazing croquembouche from the British Bake Off!)

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