Basic profiteroles

Basic profiteroles

sixteen 5 cm profiteroles
Vanessa Levis


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Choux pastry, sweetened or unsweetened
1 egg
a pinch of salt
2 cups see method for ingredients, cream to fill the profiteroles
or flavoured whipped, cream to fill the profiteroles


  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. Using a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm plain tube, pipe choux pastry into small, high mounds, well apart, on the prepared tray. Pipe each mound with one steady pressure, and release the pressure before lifting the bag away, to avoid a long tail. For 5 cm profiteroles, make mounds about 3 cm in diameter.
  3. Alternatively, take spoonfuls of the pastry and, with another spoon, push them off onto the baking tray. Do not try to change the shape of the choux pastry when putting it out, or it will rise in bumpy shapes instead of round ones.
  4. Beat the egg with the salt and brush over the pastry mounds, pushing down the tails (the egg glaze may be omitted if the puffs are to be iced; just push down the tails with a damp finger).
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 15–20 minutes or until the profiteroles are golden brown, firm and light in the hand. If the pastry is becoming too brown before it is cooked through, cover loosely with a sheet of foil.
  6. Make a slit or hole with the point of a knife in the side of each profiterole. Return to the turned-off oven and leave with the door ajar for 20 minutes to ensure that the puffs are thoroughly dried out (this is the secret of puffs that will hold their shape without collapsing). Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Fill by piping the desired filling through the holes in the sides, or by carefully cutting off the tops with a serrated knife, spooning in the filling and replacing the lids. Unfilled profiteroles will keep in an airtight container for 1–2 weeks.


  • Chocolate profiteroles

    Fill Basic profiteroles with either 2 cups Crème pâtissiere or 1 cup cream that has been whipped with 2 teaspoons icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla essence. Pile into a serving dish and sift a little more icing sugar over the top. To make the hot chocolate sauce, break 185 g dark chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon rum or brandy (optional). Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate melts. Cook for 1 minute longer, then pour the sauce into a heated jug and serve with the profiteroles. Serves 6–8.

    Coffee profiteroles

    Dissolve 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder in 2 teaspoons hot water and allow to cool. Whip 1 cup cream with 2 teaspoons sifted icing sugar, the coffee and 2 teaspoons brandy or whisky (optional). Fill Basic Profiteroles with this mixture and ice tops with 1 quantity Coffee Glacé Icing. Serves 6–8.

    Praline profiteroles

    Whip 1 cup cream and mix with 1/2 cup Crème Pâtissière and 2 tablespoons Praline (right). Fill Basic Profiteroles with this mixture and sift a little icing sugar over the tops. Serves 6–8.

    Orange profiteroles

    Rub 3 sugar cubes over the rind of 1 orange until the sugar is saturated with orange oils. Squeeze the juice from half the orange, and pound the sugar cubes with 2 teaspoons of the juice until dissolved. Whip 1 cup cream with this orange syrup and 2 teaspoons brandy (optional). Use to fill Basic Profiteroles. To make the toffee topping, slowly cook 90 g caster sugar in a small, heavy saucepan, tilting the pan frequently from side to side so that the sugar heats evenly, until it melts and caramelises to a golden brown. Dip the base of the saucepan in cold water to stop further cooking. Dip the top of each profiterole in the toffee and place on a wire rack to set. Serves 6–8.

    Cream puffs

    Whip 1 cup cream with 1 tablespoon icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla essence. Fill Basic Profiteroles with this mixture and sift more icing sugar over the tops. Serves 6–8.


  • Praline is a confection of caramelised sugar and almonds, crushed or ground to a fine powder. Equal quantities of sugar and almonds are used. Sometimes about half the almonds are replaced by hazelnuts, but the method remains the same, as do the uses for the final product. Praline may be sprinkled on ice cream, a cold or hot soufflé or custard; added to a butter cream or crème pâtissière, to fill cakes and cream puffs; or used to decorate the top and sides of large cakes. Praline keeps well in an airtight container; it may also be stored in the freezer.

    To make praline, cook 250 g caster sugar and 250 g whole unblanched almonds in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat until the sugar melts, turning the nuts over to brown evenly. Continue cooking until the sugar has become nut brown in colour. Pour into an oiled tin or plate. Allow to become quite cold and hard, then break into small pieces and crush with a rolling pin, or grind in a blender or nut mill. Store in an airtight container, or in the freezer. Makes about 1 cup.
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