Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Red, White, and Blueberry Profiteroles

The Fourth of July is tomorrow, weeee!  I'm going to a barbecue with some of my friends in the afternoon, and then going to see some fireworks action at night, and I'm super excited, if the "weeee" at the beginning wasn't a hint. I'm ready for some serious hot dog/hamburger/potato salad/pasta salad action, followed by some pie and vanilla ice cream, and hopefully some old fashioned s'mores.  It's gonna be a gooood day, provided that it doesn't rain! Everyone, cross your fingers and toes, please. 

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I'm sure you've noticed the Fourth of July-appropriate desserts that I have posted in the past few days (and if you haven't, I'll make it easy for you: click here for some red, white, and blue velvet whoopie pies, and click here for a classic cherry pie.  You're welcome!).  Both of those desserts were good old American classics, but, I did want to throw in something that was equally delicious and appropriate for a Fourth of July barbecue, but also something a bit more unconventional.  Enter red, white, and blueberry profiteroles!

Profiteroles may sound fancy and annoyingly complicated to make, but I promise you, they're anything but that! A profiterole is simply a cream puff that's been filled with a scoop of ice cream instead of pastry cream/whipped cream, and then drizzled with chocolate sauce.  Since it is the Fourth of July though, I decided to swap out the chocolate sauce for some fresh blueberry and raspberry sauces, in order to keep the color scheme going to some degree.  I thought that profiteroles would be a perfect option for a barbecue, as the puffs themselves are really not difficult to make, and everything can be made and assembled in advance.  All you'll have to do when you're ready to serve them is take them out of the freezer for a few minutes and pour some of the berry sauce on top, and dessert is done!

I used my favorite recipe for cream puffs for these profiteroles, simply changing out the plain tip for a star tip, just to make them look a little more special.  If you've never made pâte à choux (the fancy name of the pastry dough that makes your favorite cream puffs and eclairs), you might find it a bit strange that the dough actually gets cooked twice, first on the stove and then in the oven.  I've honestly never found it to be too weird, but that may only be because I grew up watching my mom make cream puffs ever since I was little.  The choux pastry shouldn't intimidate you though- it only takes a few minutes to prepare, and only requires one pot to mix everything in!  Just work quickly once you add the flour, and make sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next.  Once you get the hang of making choux pastry, it's sure to become a popular recipe in your arsenal; in fact, it's my go-to option when I need a dessert on short notice, because it only requires a few basic ingredients that I always have at home, and the options are endless when it comes to filling the cream puffs.  

If you want to add something a bit unexpected to your Fourth of July plans, or are simply in need of a last minute, easy dessert, then look no further than these profiteroles.  Filled with vanilla ice cream, they're perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day, and when topped with fresh berry sauces, they're even more light and refreshing.  Enjoy!

Red, White, and Blueberry Profiteroles
choux pastry recipe from Thomas Keller


For the Choux Pastry

1 cup water
5 1/3 tablespoons butter (about 3 oz)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, at room temperature

For the Raspberry Sauce

6 oz fresh raspberries

splash lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons sugar (adjust to sweetness of the berries)

For the Blueberry Sauce

6 oz blueberries

splash lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons sugar (adjust to sweetness of the berries)

1 quart vanilla ice cream


Begin by preparing the berry sauces so that they have time to cool.  In two small saucepans, add each set of the berry sauce ingredients, so that you have one saucepan for the raspberry sauce, and one for the blueberry sauce. Bring the berries to medium heat, and stir occasionally, just until the berries begin to burst and release their juices.  Once the berries are simmering, turn off the heat, and allow them to cool completely.  Once cooled, puree each berry sauce separately so that they become more "liquidy" (if necessary, add water a little bit at a time if you feel that the sauce is too thick).  Strain each sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.  Chill the sauces in the fridge until ready to serve.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper. 

In a saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar, and salt, and bring to a simmer  over medium high heat.  Once the butter has melted completely, reduce the heat to medium, and add all the flour at once.  Quickly begin to stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to pull away completely from the sides of the saucepan and comes together into one ball.  Remove the dough from the heat, set aside, and allow to stand for five minutes. 

After five minutes, mix in the eggs, one at a time (an electric mixer is helpful with this part; I like to simply use a regular hand mixer and mix everything directly inside the saucepan). Scrape down the sides of the saucepan, and make sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another one.  

Once the eggs have been added, place the dough into a large pastry bag that has been fitted with a large tip (I used a large star tip to be extra fancy).  Begin to pipe small rosettes of dough on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about an inch apart.  They won't spread very much during baking, so it's ok if they're a little close together.

Bake the cream puffs at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake another 15 minutes.  You'll know the puffs are ready if you break one open and the inside is hollow.  Allow the puffs to cool completely. 

While the cream puffs are baking, use a small ice cream scoop (I used my cookie scoop) to scoop out small balls of vanilla ice cream.  Arrange the balls of vanilla ice cream on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and then place the baking sheet with all the ice cream in the freezer so that the individual scoops of ice cream become firm.  

Once the puffs have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to slice them in half horizontally.  Place one of the scoops of ice cream on the bottom half of a profiterole and top with a lid.  I decided to make all the profiteroles at once and store them in an airtight container; this way, you can either serve them all at the same time when they're all at the same temperature, or, simply serve as many as you need and keep the rest for later use.  Simply let the profiteroles sit out at room temperature for a few minutes so they aren't so chilled.  When serving the profiteroles, top each with the raspberry and blueberry sauces, and enjoy!

Makes 3 dozen profiteroles


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