Salted Double Chocolate and Pistachio Profiteroles

I've started running. Should I start a post about profiteroles with that? 

Well, when I say running I mean I've just finished week three of the Couch to 5K app and more than half the time is actually spent walking but, good intentions etc etc. I like to think about profiteroles when I get to the last part, which incidentally is up a MASSIVE hill. I think about how many I could eat after said hill. And then I restrain myself when I get home, 'cause I'm good like that ;)

Tomorrow is my day off 'running' but I'll be walking into town instead for a coffee and to continue my hunt for a warm weather coat. I've found the perfect coat in Primark but they only have sizes 8 and 20 so I keep going back to check until they have the right size in. They reassuringly told me they get deliveries in everyday but they don't know what will be delivered. The price of fast fashion eh?!

I've actually never make choux pastry on this blog which is kind of embarassing for a baking blog that's been going for two years. I'm here to rectifiy this now and I forgot how easy it is to make choux pastry actually. I think it can seem scary but it's not, as long as your have everything set out ready because the main thing is that you need to work quickly. 

I really think the salt is needed otherwise all the elements can get a little lost but the salt really brings out the flavour of the chocolate. Alternatively, you could try salted pistachios. I think this would work just as well. These are the perfect little size but if you're after a bigger dessert why not pipe them as eclairs instead? I couldn't say how many you'd get but the method is still the same. 

Salted Double Chocolate and Pistachio Profiteroles
(adapted from Leith's Baking Bible)

makes around 24

for the choux pastry:
85g unsalted butter, cubed
220ml water
105g plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
pinch of salt

for the chocolate creme patissiere filling:
4 egg yolks
65g caster sugar
15g plain flour
15g cornflour
350ml whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 vanilla pod
20g dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

topping:
180g dark chocolate, broken up
50g pistachios, crushed
fleur de sel

To make the choux pastry:

  1. Heat the butter and water in a pan until the butter is melted. 
  2. Sift the flour and salt three times onto a sheet of greaseproof paper.
  3. Bring the butter and water to the boil then turn off the heat and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until a firm, smooth paste forms and all the ingredients have come away from the sides of the pan. Don't overbeat it.
  4. Tip the paste onto a cold plate and spread it out to make a thin layer. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then return to the pan. 
  5. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and beat well after each addition. Once all the eggs have been added the paste should be a 'reluctant dropping consistency'.
  6. Spoon the paste into a piping bag and pipe the buns onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  7. Bake in the oven at 200 C / 400 F for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pierce the bottom of each bun with a knife, leave the buns bottom up on the tray and bake for 5 more minutes.

To make the custard:

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium sized bowl until the colour is a pale gold. Whisk in the flour and cornflour and set aside. 
  2. In a pan, split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into the milk, throw in the pod and heat the milk until simmering. Let it simmer for 30 seconds and remove from the heat. 
  3. Pour half over the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour the egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the milk. 
  4. Place over the heat again and keep whisking until the mixture thickens. Take off the heat and transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder until smooth. If necessary push the custard through a seive to smooth out. Place some clingfilm over the top, right against the custard and pop in the fridge to cool down. 

To assemble:

  1. When the custard is lukewarm and the buns are cool, fit a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and fill with the custard. Push the nozzle into the hole in the buns and fill each bun with the custard.
  2. Finally, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Dip the top of each profiterole in the chocolate and sprinkle with crushed pistachios and a little fleur de sel.