Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate Sauce
Profiteroles – little choux buns filled with cream and covered in a chocolate sauce – make a rather special ending to a dinner party.
This recipe is from The Delia Collection: Chocolate. Serves 6-8 (makes about 30)
First of all, as you are going to need to 'shoot' the flour quickly into the water and melted butter, cut out a square of baking parchment and fold to make a crease, then open it out again.
Sift the flour straight on to the square of parchment and add the sugar. Next, put 5 fl oz (150 ml) of cold water into a medium saucepan, together with the pieces of butter, then place the saucepan over a moderate heat and stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture comes up to the boil, turn off the heat immediately, as too much boiling will evaporate some of the water. Then 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, although an electric hand whisk will save you lots of energy.
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. Then beat in the beaten eggs – a little at a time, mixing in each addition thoroughly before adding the next – until you have a smooth, glossy paste. At this stage, hold the greased baking sheet under cold running water for a few seconds, and tap it sharply to get rid of excess moisture. This will help create a steamier atmosphere, which in turn helps the pastry to rise.
To make the profiteroles, place teaspoonfuls of choux paste on the baking sheet, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) between them, and bake on a high shelf in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. After that, increase the heat to gas mark 7, 425ºF (220ºC) and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the buns are crisp, light and a rich golden colour. Pierce the side of each one to let out the steam, then return them to the oven for a couple of minutes to crisp up, then cool them on a wire rack.
To make the chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate, together with 4 fl oz (120 ml) water, in a heatproof basin fitted over a saucepan of simmering water (being careful that the base of the bowl does not touch the water), stirring until you have a smooth sauce. Just before serving, split the choux buns in half, fill each one with a generous teaspoonful of whipped cream, then join the halves together again. Spoon or pour the melted chocolate over them and serve immediately.
Note: Don't be tempted to put the cream in the profiteroles too far in advance because this tends to make them soggy.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400ºF (200ºC).