Profiteroles > cream puffs minus the cream replaced by ice cream. This particular recipe, found in my grandma's Food&Wine magazine, was fun to prepare for friends. What made this recipe a little special is the rich caramel-chocolate sauce drizzled over the puffs topped by candied nuts.
Super easy dessert to prepare. Quick prep time. Cost is around $40 (hawaii market price) for a dozen big profiteroles (or 2 dozen mini puffs).
Makes 24 bite sized desserts | Chef Allison Levitt of La Tache, Chicago
1 C Milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1 t salt
1 1/3 C flour
5 large egg beaten with 2 T water
1 T sugar
1 T hot water
1 C (1/4 lb) unsalted pistachios, candied macadamia, almond or other nut
¼ c sugar in the raw
1 C sugar
1 Cinnamon stick
1 C heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (such as Gherardelli cooking chocolate chips)
2 pints vanilla ice cream (pre-scooped into 24 rounds and re-frozen) (Haagen Daz pistachio or peppermint bark makes for a holiday treat).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium saucepan, combine milk and better, vanilla and salt and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add flour and using a wooden spoon, beat until a smooth doughy forms. Reduce heat to low and cook dough for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to dry it out. Remove pan from heat and beat in 5 eggs, one at a time. (will look runny but keep working the eggs in). (also, in my opinion, I would add some sugar to the puff recipe).
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or you will burn the puff bottoms). Drop 1 ½ t size mounds of batter onto the sheet, space them 2 inches apart (or make 12 big puffs on 2 baking sheets dividing the dough evenly). Brush the puffs with the beaten egg wash and bake on 2 lower oven racks for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake for 20 minutes longer or until the puffs are brown and dry. Let puffs cool on the baking sheets (don’t remove too quickly or will tear the bottom off).
Candied nuts: Raise oven temperature to 325 degrees. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet. In medium bowl, stir white sugar into the water until dissolved. Stir in nuts then the raw sugar. Spread the coated nuts on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until shiny. Let the candied nuts cool on baking sheet then break apart.
Caramel-Chocolate: In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cinnamon stick and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring a few times to dissolve the sugar and simmer until a deeply colored caramel forms, about 10 minutes (don’t lower heat or it won’t caramelize).
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove the caramel from heat. Slowly and carefully pour the hot cream, stirring constantly. The caramel will bubble up. Keep stirring until the bubbles subside. Return the pan to the heat and stir to dissolve any hardened bits of caramel. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chocolate and let stand for a few minutes to melt. Discard the cinnamon stick and whisk the sauce until smooth.
Cut each puff in half. Fill profiteroles with ice cream and cover with puff tops. Pour the sauce over the puff and sprinkle with candied nuts. Serve immediately.
Puffs can be frozen for 1 month. Sauce can be refrigerated fro 5 days. Nuts can keep overnight in airtight container.