Profiteroles aka Crème Puffs

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By Chef Ed Dychauco

Pots and Pans

Thursday, January 16, 2014


WAY back when my late sister Gloria started her small business, Pots & Pans Home Bake & Coffee Shop inside Juan Sia Enterprises in 1976, to be exact, one of very first items to appear and became a mainstay in her shop was this little sweet caramel covered crème-filled dessert called crème puffs.

Also known as ‘profiteroles’ (smaller version) or choux a la crème (technically, this is a French dessert), Americans call them crème puffs, it became a hit among the dessert lovers and was a sought-after item in the shop.

We used to sell it at about P1.00 for a 3” puff, filled with luscious home-made vanilla custard cream and drizzled with amber color caramel that gives the needed crunch and sweetness and over-all texture to this decadent dessert.

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It was one of our best sellers, of course.

I can remember our ever-loyal customers enjoying it as it is or as a dessert after their fill of spaghetti or ‘palabok’ and sometimes, ‘siomai’ and fresh ‘lumpia.’

In the Unites States, most crème puffs are filled with sweetened whipped crème, which really looks very nice, then sprinkled with some powdered sugar.

But it doesn’t taste as good as the made-from-scratch custard crème, I should say.

With same recipe, when made into elongated size and shape, it is now called Eclairs.

Most eclairs are, again, filled with cream and the top dipped with chocolate or chocolate sauce.

When one of my nieces got married some time ago, I decided to make the ‘Croquembouche,’ a grandiose version of the profiterole that somehow became known as a “towering dessert” in Cagayan de Oro City!

Funny I cannot recall how that name came to be.

But I do know somehow I pioneered the very famous “dessert buffet” way back then which is now the fad in almost all weddings and grand celebrations.

Croquembouche is a dessert usually served on weddings in France and Italy.

It is also used as a wedding cake, which I also did quite a few times in the last 30 years.

Accented with some fresh flowers and fruits, it is a wonderful and beautiful piece to behold and savor after the meal.

With the use of caramel, the profiteroles are stacked together to form a conical shape wonder.

The not-so-bland hollow puffs can also be filled with savory fillings like chicken, meats and other vegetables.

This time, it becomes an hor d’oeuvre, small finger foods served before a meal during cocktails or before the main meal.

Another dessert that is made from this is the very popular Gateau St. Honore.

Though this dessert may sound very fancy and high-end, this is actually very easy to make and bake.

With the right ingredients and the right temperature of the oven, this is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

The tricky part of making this is the temperature of the oven.

Personally, I would bake them in a 425-degree oven for the first 30 minutes or so, or till they are fully “puffed,” then decrease the oven to about 325 degrees for another 30 minutes or more till they are light brown and somewhat dry (inside).

As for the filling, one can use sweetened whipped cream (plain or chocolate), custard crème, vanilla pudding (commercially available in powdered form), fruit crème (as a variation), or any savory stuffing.

1 cup water
½ cup butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 pcs whole eggs

Boil together water and butter.

Once the butter is melted, add the flour and hand mix them well.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat with the paddle.

Gradually add the egg one at a time till well blended.

Drop by tablespoonful to an ungreased cookie pan.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or so.

Then lower to 325 degrees and continue baking till shells are light brown.

Once the shells are cool, split them in half or pipe in the filling. Top with powder sugar, melted chocolate or caramelized sugar.

[Email address: potsnpans1976@yahoo.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 16, 2014.

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