What’s the difference between cream puffs, profiteroles and eclairs? I guess it depends on where you are. Cream puffs and profiteroles are the same—choux pastry shells with a pastry cream filling and topped with chocolate, powdered sugar or caramelized sugar. In Britain, cream puffs are made with puff pastry, not choux pastry. What about eclairs? An eclair is choux pastry with a custard filling.
In the Philippines, most cream puffs are made with custard filling. Profiteroles are simply small cream puffs. Eclairs are elongated cream puffs with a chocolate glaze.
At home, we call these delectable morsels cream puffs. Alex made these cream puffs—mini-sized—my contribution was topping it with caramelized sugar.
Profiteroles (Cream Puffs)
- 1 recipe pâte à choux
For the pastry cream filling:
To finish the profiteroles (cream puffs):
- 1/3 cup caramelized sugar
- Make the pastry shells. Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Line a baking sheet with non-stick paper or a silicone mat.
- Spoon the pâte à choux into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.
- Pipe the pâte à choux on the lined baking sheet into rounds about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter. Position the rounds at least two inches apart.
- Bake the pastry shells at 400F for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 375F and continue baking for another five to ten minutes, or until the pastry shells are dry to the touch and makes a hollow sound when tapped with the fingertip.
- Transfer the pastry shells to a rack to cool.
- While the pastry shells are in the oven, make the custard. In a pan, mix together the sugar, starch-flour mixture, salt, milk and one cup cream. Stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour half of the flour mixture into the beaten egg yolks, mixing to incorporate.
- Pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan, stir well, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly, until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the custard to a bowl and lay a sheet of cling film directly on the surface to prevent skin from forming. Cool to room temperature then chill in the fridge until needed.
- Using a wire whisk or an electric mixer, whip the half cup of chilled cream until soft peaks form.
- Make the pastry cream filling. Take the chilled custard out of the fridge and fold in the whipped cream. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
- Using a small pointed knife, poke a hole on the side of each cooled pastry shell.
- Pipe the pastry cream filling into the pastry shell by inserting the round tip into the hole and pressing the piping bag. Do not overfill the pastry shells. You'll know you've overfilled them if the filling oozes out of the hole.
- Arrange the filling pastry shells on a silicone mat (a rack is an even better idea). Spoon the caramelized sugar over them and leave to set.
- Serve the profiteroles (cream puffs) immediately or chill in the fridge in a covered container before serving.
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