Profiteroles are always a crowd pleaser but I’ll admit, I’ve never understood the fuss. The pastry is not particularly delicious on its own – just a little puff of nothing and the words “pastry cream” have never described anything that brings culinary delight to my mind. For our profiteroles, I’ve enriched the pâte à choux with a little extra milk and a bit of sugar and then filled them instead with a rich strawberry mascarpone cream, which has the added bonus of not needing to be cooked. Stacked high on a plate, drenched in white chocolate, and then drenched again in lime slime, well at least now we’ve got something.
This is a messy dessert to pick from. If you want to recreate this for a crowd, I’d suggest maybe arranging them on an elongated plate, at most stacked two profiteroles high to keep yourself safe from any disastrous tumbles. Typically when speaking of a stack of profiteroles, we’re talking about croquembouche, which has the benefit of being held together with hard caramel and spun sugar. For our dessert the profiteroles are glued together with white chocolate then quickly stashed in the fridge so the chocolate has a chance to firm up before everything falls apart. Take pleasure in the sloppy look of this dessert – a pile of profiteroles looking as if Slimer has already had his way with them.
Profiteroles Filled with Strawberry Mascarpone Cream
Makes approximately 60 profiteroles
For the Strawberry Mascarpone Cream:
2 x 475g tubs mascarpone
750ml sour cream
225g icing sugar
18g freeze dried strawberries (available from MEC)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Profiteroles:
400ml cold water
350ml whole milk (3.8% M.F.)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
large pinch of fine sea salt
300g unsalted butter, cubed
425g unbleached all-purpose flour
8 large eggs, beaten
For the White Chocolate:
450g good quality white chocolate
Start by making the mascarpone cream. Pulverize the strawberries in a coffee or spice grinder until they are turned into a fine powder. Using a hand or stand mixer, combine the mascarpone and sour cream and mix until smooth. Add in the icing sugar, strawberry powder, and vanilla extract. Mix until thickened and chill until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
To make the profiteroles, combine the water, milk, sugar, salt, and butter into a large pot. Heat gently until the butter melts then bring the mixture up to a boil. Take the pan off the heat and dump in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, beat the flour in the pot. Return the pot to the heat and continue to stir the mix until it thickens and the paste stops sticking to the sides of the pot. At this point – to save your forearms – if you have a stand mixer put it to use and transfer the paste into the mixer. If you feel like you have something to prove, go ahead and continue in the same pot. Slowly beat in the eggs, being sure each addition of egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. By the end the mix should be smooth and shiny.
Fill a piping bag with the paste. On several parchment-lined baking trays, use a 1″ round piping nozzle and pipe the paste into roughly 1 1/4″ balls. Use a wet finger to smooth out the top of each profiterole and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown. While hot, transfer the profiteroles to a cooling rack and pierce each with a toothpick to release the steam inside.
When ready to assemble, make a small hole in the bottom of each profiterole. Using a piping bag that’s been fitted with a small round piping nozzle, fill each profiterole with the strawberry mascarpone cream. In a bowl, add the white chocolate and melt in the microwave on high power for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time until the chocolate is smooth and just melted. With a small spoon, paint the bottom of each profiterole and stick to a large platter, forming a large circle – this will be the base of the tower. Use any misshapen profiteroles to fill the inside of the circle. Continue up the tower, painting a small amount of the chocolate on the bottom of each profiterole to help stick them together. As you continue up, you may find the structure unstable – a quick stash in the fridge will help solidify the chocolate and keep everything in its place. Once completed, drizzle the tower in the remaining chocolate and refrigerate until ready to serve. Douse in lime slime when your guests are watching.