Friday, October 30, 2009

Profiteroles with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

A 'Better Late Than Never' tribute to Julia Childs. Ever since the movie Julie and Julia came out last summer, I've wanted to try one of her French classic recipes.

About a month ago, I saw an old episode of "Jacques and Julia Cooking at Home" on television in which they made two beautiful desserts, one of which was profiteroles with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

I have always had an affection for pate au choux since it's one of the first things I learned how to make when I started to enjoy experimenting with cooking at 12 years old.  I loved making creme puffs filled with whipped cream! Fudge was the other treat I learned to make about the same time.  My version of ice cream profiteroles combines the similar treats of my youth.  

Profiterole is the name for the small puffs used to fill with ice cream. Choux, meaning 'cabbage' in French, is the name for the larger puffs used to fill with whipped cream or Crème Chantilly. Profiteroles can be used to fill with many sorts of savory fillings for appetizers as well.

The chocolate sauce recipe adapted from the same cookbook was also amazing! The profiteroles can be baked ahead, filled with ice cream and frozen until ready to use.

For my profiteroles, I used dark chocolate ice cream but vanilla is the standard. Is your mouth watering yet? 

Profileroles with Ice Cream

Adapted from Julia and Jacques - Cooking at Home
Printable Recipe

Pâte à choux

Makes about 40 small or 20 large puffs

1/2 cup water*
1/2 cup milk*
6 Tablespoons butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup unsifted flour
5 large eggs (4 for the choux and 1 reserved for the egg wash)

*Julia's recipe calls for all milk, other traditional recipes call for all water. I found 1/2 of each just right.

Preheat the oven to 375F and adjust racks to fit two baking sheets.

In a saucepan, add the water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar and place over high heat and stir as the butter melts. Bring to a boil and immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir rapidly with a wooden spoon until the flour is incorporated and forms a paste.

Place the pan over medium heat and stir vigorously. The dough will leave the sides of the pan and gather into a soft lump. Continue stirring the dough in the pan to dry it slightly, for a minute or so, until a white skin forms on the bottom of the saucepan.

Remove from the heat and scrape the lump of dough into the bowl of a food processor. Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, so the eggs do not cook when added. Meanwhile, break 4 of the eggs into a measuring cup or bowl and crack the fifth egg into a separate small bowl. Pulse the dough in the food processor a few times to break up the lump. Then, add 1 of the eggs and process for about 5 seconds. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs, processing for a few seconds after each egg is added. It will only take about 30 seconds to process all 4 eggs. The dough should have a soft paste consistency. (Alternatively, this step can done in the pan the choux was cooked in, adding the eggs one at a time and stirring with the wooden spoon to incorporate fully.)

Line the cookie sheet (or 2 sheets if you are making small puffs) with parchment paper or silicon liner. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the dough. Or, you can use a plastic storage bag with a tiny corner snipped off with a scissors. Pipe about 1-4 tablespoons of pastry onto the cookie sheets, depending on how large or small you choose to make your puffs, leaving about 1-1/2 inch space between each puff.

Remove a little of the white from the reserved egg and beat lightly. Lightly brush the top of each puff with the egg wash.

Place the sheets in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes for little profiteroles or 40-45 minutes for larger ones. The puffs should be a deep golden brown all over when they are done.

When the puffs appear done, turn off the oven and prop the oven door open about 2 inches with an oven mitt. Allow the puffs to dry out in the oven for 30 minutes or so before removing. Cool completed before using or storing.

When cool, baked puffs can be stored for a couple of days in a closed plastic container or frozen for several weeks in airtight containers or freezer bags.

Chocolate Sauce for Ice Cream Profiteroles

Makes about 2 cups

1 cup heavy cream or half and half
6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup strong espresso or 1 tsp instant espresso powder mixed with a little warm water
Vanilla extract, rum, cognac or bourbon, optional

In a small saucepan, heat the cream to a bare simmer. Add the chocolate and espresso into the hot cream and whisk until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or other optional flavoring.

Cool before using.

Store covered in the refrigerator.


  1. Oh, these are terrific! Cream puffs is something we do a lot with our catering business. Your's are perfect :)


  2. They are perfection on a plate Susan!

    You did a beautiful job, and fabulous photos as always.

    I hope you have a lovely weekend. xo

  3. You chose a great recipe! Can't beat espresso in chocolate sauce- such a depth of flavor.
    Happy Halloween!

  4. I love making choux pastry. I never think it is going to work and then voila there it is.
    I agree that all chocolate recipes should include a little espresso.
    The best thing about freezing these full of whipped cream is you can pop them in your mouth still frozen.

  5. Susan..that photo of Julia and Jacques is so cute in the background:) You did great..I don't think mine ever looked so pretty.
    Will you get that movie?
    I think it is one I would like to have:)Glad your petit break is over ..for us:)

  6. Susan - beautiful presentation! They look delicious..I can think of a number of fillings that would be good with the puffs.

  7. Susan, AWESOME! I made profiteroles with the kids in camp one summer and they looked nothing like yours, LOL! Yours are perfection! What a great tribute to Julia!

    Love the cocktail! Happy Halloween!

  8. Susan, mmmm mmmm good! Beautiful presentation. You sure know how to make a girl drool all over herself...not really, but they sure look good. I haven't made any in such a long time, over a year. That may have to change...
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. I'm copying and pasting as soon as I finish commenting! Wow, these look really good and the choclate ice cream would be my first choice too :) I can't wait to try them having never made anything like it.

    That eye ball cocktail would be perfect for Halloween entertaining.

  10. ohmygosh, Susan... they ARE perfection! My DH LOVES Profiterolesm I really should try making them.

  11. WOW!!! cream puffs filled with ice cream sound wonderful and what a SPOOKY cocktail for halloween.

  12. What a great recipe of Julia's to try! I would love these. They are perfect. So pretty. I remember your crazy cocktail..definitely perfect for Halloween! Thanks for joining me for the flashback.

  13. since i'm not particularly a cook, i'm licking the computer screen. YUM!

  14. Profiteroles were one of the first things I learnt to bake as well - yours look so stunning! Also very, very addictive :)

  15. Pâte à choux is one of the first things that I learned to make as a teen. We ate lots of cream puffs, but I've never made profiteroles. Susan, yours look so scrumptious ... just beautiful. I bet that they were every bit as tasty as they are pretty. I can definitely picture Mack snacking on these in a couple of years. :)

  16. Every time I see the cover of that book, I spring a leak. I passed it up years ago at a discount book store, for reasons even I didn't understand.

    The Profiteroles look and sound delicious. And I couldn't take my eyes off that awesomely-creepy cocktail. Here's looking at you, kid.

  17. Susan, the Profiteroles look sinful with that chocolate sauce! Julia would be proud :-)

  18. I don't know if I just didn't look properly, but I don't see the butter listed in the ingredients and I would love to know what amount is needed for the puff pastry! thank you :)

    1. Thank you so much for bringing that omission to my attention! I've made the correction which should show 6 tablespoons of butter to make the choux pastry. Hope you enjoy them!


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