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Friday, 29 January 2016

Chocolate and orange profiteroles


 On Christmas eve each year the Metcalfs have a family over who we have known for years. Each year we make a pudding, which was my task for that evening. I decided to make some delicious chocolate profiteroles with an orange cream. They went down a treat and I thought that I would share them for people to give them a go. Here's the recipe:

Choux pastry:               Profiteroles:
- 220ml water               - 260g good quality dark  
- 85g butter                  chocolate
- 105g plain flour          - 600ml double cream
- Pinch of Salt             - 3 oranges
- 3 eggs

1. Measure the water into a small saucepan. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and add to the water. Place over a low heat and allow the butter to melt, without letting the water simmer or boil (this would result in less liquid and therefore a stiff mixture that won't rise as well.)
2. Sift the flour and salt 2-3 times to aerate and remove any lumps. Do the last sifting onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Fold the paper in half and fold up the bottom edge a couple of times to create a pocket for the flour to sit (this makes it easier to add it all at once to the water and butter).
3. Once the butter is melted, increase the heat to medium high and have the flour and a wooden spoon close by. As the water begins to simmer, watch it carefully and, as it boils and rises up the sides of the pan, with the melted butter collecting in the middle, shoot the flour in all at once and turn off the heat.
4. Beat the flour in vigorously for just 20-30 seconds, getting into the corners of the saucepan, until the flour is full incorporated, there are not lumps and the mixture is thick and a uniform colour (this mixture is called a panade). Spread the panade onto a plate and let it cool to the touch (cooling the panade allows the incorporation of more egg and so a better rise to the profiteroles).
5. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Once the panade is cool to the touch, return it to the saucepan and ass about 1tbsp if the beaten egg and beat it into the panade with a wooden spoon (make sure you don't put it on the heat!). Once the egg is fully incorporated, add a little more egg and beat again, adding about 3/4 of the remaining egg in additions and beating well to incorporate each addition fully before the next. Initially, the panade will thicken, but as more egg is beat in it will start to loosen and become smooth and shiny.
6. Once about 3/4 of the egg have been added, check the consistency, you need a silky smooth pastry with a reluctant dropping consistency, which means that when you fill the wooden spoon with pastry and lift it up over the saucepan the pastry should fall back from the spoon into the saucepan to the slow count of six. Continue to add the egg a little at a time until you get this consistency (be careful because if you add too little egg the profiteroles won't rise correctly, if you add too much egg the mixture will be too runny and won't keep its shape so also won't rise correctly.
7. Heat the oven to 200'c.
8. Put teaspoons of the pastry onto a prepared baking sheet(with greaseproof paper), spacing the spoonfuls about 4-5cm apart. Use a dampened clean finger to smooth out any peaks or spike on the choux buns. 
9. Bake in the top third of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until well risen and puffed, and a deep golden brown all over. They should be  very firm to the touch on the base where they sit on the baking tray.
10. Remove from the oven and lower the oven setting to 170'c. While hot, turn each choux bun over and use a skewer to make a hole in the base, about 5mm in diameter or the size of your smallest piping nozzle, to allow the steam to escape. Place the buns, base up, on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 5-6minutes to dry the insides. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 
11. While the choux buns are cooling, put the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Give it an occasional stir to encourage melting.
12. Zest the oranges. Put the cream and the orange zest into a bowl and whisk the cream until it is of piping consistency (thick but still soft enough to pipe through a nozzle). Place the cream into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle the size of the hole in the base of the profiteroles.
13. When the profiteroles are completely cold, take one in the palm of a clean hand and pipe the cream into the profiterole through the hole. Once filled, scrape away any escaping cream and return to the wire rack. Repeat with all the profiteroles.
14. Hold one profiterole upside down at its base, using your fingertips, and turn the top of the profiterole though the melted chocolate, keeping your fingers clear of the chocolate (it can get very sticky!!) Carefully turn the profiterole over and place on a serving plate. Repeat with all the remaining profiteroles. 
 When serving my profiteroles I covered them in popping candy and gold glitter to make them a bit more christmassy, and it looked beautiful but any small cake decorating goodies could work on these profiteroles, just make sure you add them whilst the chocolate is still wet to ensure that they stick!

It may seem like a complicated recipe, but once you begin to make it and especially after making it for the first time, it becomes a lot easier than it seems and they are a very impressive pudding to pull out as they are a 'complicated' pudding.

I hope this recipe works well for you, and you enjoy making them. Don't forget to add your own touches to them by decorating them how you like.

Happy Baking!

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