Monday, August 30, 2010

Eavesdropping on Profiteroles


Lately, I've been travelling a fair bit for work.  I see that statement in print and it sounds sorta glamorous.  Like I've been jetting off to Milan and Paris for business meetings.  But nope, that's really not how my life works.  In my case, I travel to a small, rural'esque town where there are more cows than people and there is only one cab from the airport.  The aforementioned cab has no seatbelts and smells suspiciously like an "herb."  Oh, and the driver sings Katy Perry's California Girls... in Spanish.  Yup, it's a glamorous life I lead.

These trips have given me ample opportunity to eavesdrop on conversations at the airport.  What?  A girl's gotta have some way to pass the time.  In my defense, I only eavesdrop on interesting conversations.  If you're talking about how the switch to solid foods is impacting your baby's diaper contents, you can rest assured I am NOT listening in.  In the last couple of weeks, I've learned that pharmaceutical sales reps order lunch for hospital staff when they come to pimp their drugs.  Well you should know that the legal research software rep always brings free pens and stacks of post-its when he comes to visit my work so beat that, all you doctors dining on gourmet sushi.  I've also learned that a tanning salon tan makes you look thinner.  The girl espousing that gem forgot to mention that fake n' bake may also give you cancer, but whatevs if it makes you look skinnier, right?  And most importantly, I've learned that "The Situation" makes $60,000 for each episode of the Jersey Shore.  Good to know his abs are worth more than my seven years of post-secondary education.  Way more.


However, the best conversation involved cream puffs.  Don't they always?  I gathered that the woman was a wedding planner delivering edicts to her wedding planning minions.  What?  My powers of eavesdropping are now like a finely tuned Spidey sense.  So, the wedding planner is planning a rehearsal dinner and the bride wants to serve cream puffs.  Except, the wedding planner calls 'em profiteroles, with the full rolling r's.  The cream puffs are to be served individually on perfect china plates, complete with gold rims.  There will be two raspberries alongside.  Not one or three.  Two.  There will be a sprig of mint on each plate.  I mean, would you want a profiterole without a sprig of mint?  It all sounded so pretty and perfect that I decided then and there that I was going be a wedding planner.  And if I couldn't be a wedding planner, I'd at least make some profiteroles.


Note to self: Do not make profiteroles when it's three hundred degrees in your apartment.  The dough is temperamental and it needs to hold shape to some extent when piped out.  When piped, it should look like the profiterole in the front of the picture below.  It should NOT look like the blobby mess that is the profiterole in the background.  Also note that pressing your face against the oven door and staring at the perfectly puffed pastry blobs in your oven provides much amusement.  Finally, note that some deflation when the pastry blobs come out of the oven is normal.  You should not put all the deflated puffs in a bowl, top 'em with a couple of giant heaping spoonfuls of pastry cream and eat them while watching episodes of the Jersey Shore.  Nope, that would be a bad idea indeed.


Now, let us discuss pastry cream.  I have seen variations on pastry cream including chocolate cream, mocha cream, coffee cream, orange cream, and even mint-scented cream.  You can flavor your cream as you wish.  However, I'm a purist and believe that a plain pastry cream, with the slightest hint of vanilla, is perfection (as evidenced by the fact that I ate the first batch of pastry cream on its own and had to make a second batch to fill the darn puffs).  Fill your pastry bag with the pastry cream, turn the puff over and pipe the cream into the bottom of the now hollow puff.  You can also slice the puffs in half and slather them with a generous serving of pastry cream, sandwich style. 


Now that I have perfected my profiteroles, I would like to offer my wedding planning services to the blogosphere.  Rest assured, I charge less than $60,000 and unlike The Situation, I won't subject you to my (nonexistent) abs.


Profiteroles

6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs


Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Butter a large baking sheet.

Bring butter, water, and salt to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until butter is melted. Reduce heat to medium, then add flour all at once and cook, beating with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from side of pan and forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well with an electric mixer after each addition.  You may not need all three eggs.

Transfer warm mixture to pastry bag and pipe 18 mounds (about 1 1/4 inches wide and 1 inch high) 1 inch apart on baking sheet.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes total. Prick each profiterole once with a skewer, then return to oven to dry, propping oven door slightly ajar, 3 minutes. Cool on sheet on a rack.


Pastry Cream

5 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp heavy cream


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed and add the cornstarch.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, butter, and heavy cream.

Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.


Adapted from Epicurious and Ina Garten.

63 comments :

Jennifurla said...

I can't belive her makes 60k per episode! He is set for life at this rate. These look yummy

The Mom Chef said...

You kill me. If you ever travel to the cows and one-cab town in North Carolina where I live, please let me know and I'll save you the herb experience by picking you up myself so you can smell pizza-flavored Goldfish (and probably eat a few off the seat) instead.

Yours cream puffs are gorgeous. I like pate choux so much more than profiterole (which makes me think of profiteers....which is what wedding planners are). Did I say that?

Ameena said...

Who is this "Situation" character and why does he make more in two epsidoes than I make in a year? I need a reality show.

Okay Azmina, why are you busy helping people immigrate when you clearly need to be a professional chef? These profiteroles are the most amazing dessert I have ever seen. Seriously.

Kate said...

So, I remember going to a conference in Florida in the middle of winter. Everyone was oh, wow you got to go to Florida! Right. I have no clue WHERE in Florida because the conference hotel was at the airport so we dragged our bags over there then met for two days in the conference center in the BASEMENT of the hotel. I saw the light of day once during the meetings when I ran to the in-hotel store to buy a dress for the fancy dinner at the end - since I didn't remember to pack mine. At the fancy dinner we all celebrated the fact we were escaping the basement :-) And, folks think business travel is glamour and glitz. LOL. Great blog!!! I could use some of that pastry cream right now. Kate (kateiscooking)

Pure Mama said...

wow, seriously wow... these look amazing! I want to eat them in finished state or in a bowl with pastry cream; either way, I'm good :)

and p.s. you're hilarious! Love your posts; you should be making at least as much as 'the situation' for your posts alone, not to mention your 'real' job!!

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

I love it when people eavesdrop and it results into something as decadent as this!
Goodness! how sexy is that photograph with the raw dough on the baking sheet. Love the angle! I'm always so scared to try baking puffs but I guess if you think its easy enough to make I'll give it a shot too!

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

Is it safe to admit that I eavesdrop on conversation while in any kind of public transport and airport included?

It makes for the best stories and things you will ever hear! I mostly get leads of good eat out places from different areas! So its not bad right? of course.

And the cream puffs look amazing!! See I told you its a good thing that eavesdropping. Go Azmina go! We want more of it :)

Priyanka@thehealthydiary said...

I think I am going to come and live where you are! Your food takes me to food heaven.

I have a very sharp ear and overhearing conversations is like second nature to me ;)

Amy K. said...

when i'm with my husband and i blurt out, "oh my god, did you just hear what she said to him??" he's like, "wuh? what are you talking about?" I blame it on his height...maybe he's too tall to hear anything up there.

anyway, good work on the eavesdropping! maybe you should look into the international spy/wedding planner gig.

and yumski on the profiteroles!

lequan@luvtoeat said...

Oh my oh my Azmina, those are some kick arse profiteroles! When I opened your blog, I seriously took a double take at your gorgeously plated dessert, no kidding! I was talking to my daughter and got all distracted by your profiteroles as they appeared. Part of the reason why I don't attempt anything like this is because I'm I'd be tempted to eat all the cream too, even before they had a chance to touch the puffs. You did a wonderful job here with these babies. Sounds absolutely divine. Oh, and I love that you didn't go cheap and filled the whole puff with cream. Now that's what I'm talking about!

fortheloveofyum said...

I was chuckling throughout your post. I'm positive all of us can relate to the eavesdropping! Jersey Shore is a guilty pleasure of mine, it reminds me of some people I grew up with in RI, hehe.

And oh my goodness, those profiteroles look heavenly! Super delicious!

Belinda @zomppa said...

You are funny. I'll remember note to self...Katy Perry in Spanish. Goodness.... If an overheard conversation can elicit this, I can only imagine what talking to you must do!

Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having said...

I wonder how much Sookie makes. I could be her, no problem.
I tried making eclairs on a really hot day once and they didn't rise at all. I've haven't attempted choux pastry since, but after looking at your pics I'm now craving pastry cream (grand marnier flavoured)filled puffs!

Sana said...

Since, I am now a world traveler I have spent my summer people watching at the airport. I have even spent the night in one. And it's sooo much better than tv. I may even show up at the airport just to watch on a boring Thursday night. I kid.

I won't lie I have never heard of profiteroles. Or maybe I have and I am just clueless. But these look amazing and I am going to print off the recipe so my mom can make some for me post fasting.

Heather said...

Please refer to my "chouxsaster" from my 24x24 French food challenge. ;) It was quite hot in my apartment too, so I can back you up there!

I think yours look good enough to eat a whole bowl full with some whipped cream on top.

Subterfuge Diva said...

I really should eavesdrop more often at airports when I travel, if it means I can come up with something as lovely as these profiteroles! Call me weird, but I think that rough dough shot is pretty sexy too.... See what your posts have done to me?? Yes, a reality show producer should contact you soon, I can feel it in the air!

We Are Not Martha said...

I love eavesdropping, too :) And it's it SO depressing that The Situation makes that much??? ARGH, what the heck are we doing?? Well, things we can be proud of, I SUPPOSE.

These profiteroles look stunning! They remind me of my mom and I have yet to try my own!

Sues

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

I will go with cream puff rather than Profiteroles :D About the baby story,I just went to a baby shower and there are so many things to learn/know about baby. Close my ears for that.

Your cream puff look amazing especially with a drizzling chocolate syrup over them. Gotta love Ina Garten. She's great :=)

Nesrine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nesrine said...

those those profiteroles look ..GREAT!!
though am not a profiterole fan but I may change my mind now

Mo said...

Hahaha these bring me back... to a kind of gross story.
I went to a French-immersion elementary school, meaning for the first 7 years of schooling, half of my days were spent in a classroom where everyone spoke French, the paperwork was French, the textbooks were French... etc. This also meant that 90% of my classmates were French. So whenever there was a class party, at least one French parent ALWAYS brought in profiteroles. This was fine, because I had no problem against cream-filled pastries (what third grader does?). But then my sister graduated from 6th grade (yeah, I know, wow) and there was this big party at the school. There were profiteroles there, naturally. Because my sister was hanging out with her friends and I didn't know anyone there except my mom who was mingling with adults, I had nothing to do but pace back and forth in front of the plate holding the profiteroles, taking one each time I passed. Needless to say, when a child with a very small stomach consumes 20 profiteroles, bad things happen. :| So now, while the thought of cream-filled choux pastry is lovely, I can't do profiteroles. It's 'cause I'm weird. Make it an ├ęclair and I'm all over it. That's irrationality for you! :P

But these do look lovely - I've never experimented with choux pastry before and I really should get on that!

BakingWithoutaBox said...

Love the eavesdropping. Can pick up some juicy tidbits and really the conversation's in public so it's fair game. $60k per episode! Really? That's more than my starting salary as an attorney. Gotta get me some abs. Wait, no, not happening as I love delicious things like those cream puffs. Yum. Great job! Even the deflated ones sound tasty.

~Lisa~ said...

I adore reading your blog! And those cream puffs are so much better than the situations abs. hehe $60K? Thats just ridiculous!

Eileen said...

Oh those look sweet! I made some awhile ago with blueberry whipped cream. So many choices of filling. I think it's time to make them with custard!

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

Those profiteroles look amazing and I agree with you on the purist point of view. I absolutely loved your post. Funny how much information you can gather by just listening. Have not gotten into Jersey Shore, but do watch Real Housewives of New Jersey. Have a great week!

Sonia said...

wow those looks sooo good!
I love to eavesdrop too! I get so frustrated when I'm listening to something good and my boyfriend starts talking...hehe
I made the chinese pancakes last night...ate the entire recipe...

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

Wedding planning sounds fun, but I think you went with the better choice! What glorious little goodies! They couldn't possibly look any more perfect!

Magic of Spice said...

You crack me up...I don't know how you can get through a post without falling over laughing yourself :) These look absolutely spectacular, and I seriously think you have a shot at the wedding planner gig :)

penny aka jeroxie said...

I have to try making these! So YUM!

Monet said...

Can we please go eavesdropping together? You are so funny and talented...not only do you write such funny/witty blurbs, but you also give me amazing recipes that make me drool. Thank you for sharing!

Le said...

I LOVE eavesdropping on people's conversations! Haha. I've heard just as many funny stories as you have. These profiteroles look yum. I don't think I could ever make them, the whole pastry making thing just freaks me out. Knowing me, it'll fall apart. I mean I just managed to perfect shortcrust pastry, so I need a bit more time to move onto that. hehe

An Open Book said...

its my fav nd im so lazy to make em, i buy it from the store :)
but now that i have a recipe to fall bak on, im gonna give it a shot!

PS: love eavesdropping ;)

Simply Life said...

wow, that is impressive! I need to start eavesdropping more and then coming up with incredible creations! :)

Kristen said...

It's amazing what a wealth of information you can pick up at the airport! Those cream puffs look delicious, though eating them all in a bowl with the cream on top would be a lot easier on the chef!!

The Duo Dishes said...

Now you can make croquembouche! :) If you make the puffs bigger, you can stuff them with some fun savory items. That's next on our list.

J+K said...

Reminds me of my longtime friend, Charlie, who always asked me to bring my cream puffs to the party! I need to make some cream puffs for Charlie...

Evan @swEEts said...

People watching and eavesdropping are two of my favorite things to do especially when traveling :) Your cream puffs look delicious.. and they're surprisingly easy to make (at least I thought so when I had to do it for Daring Bakers). Did you hear The Situation is going to be on Dancing with the Stars?

Pacheco Patty said...

Too funny! Real people are way more interesting than television. I remember being embarrassed by my grandmother staring at people in public and she would always say they don't notice that I'm staring at them. Now my kids tell me the same thing but I just deny it and say I am not staring at them but it's hard to listen to their conversation and not look at them, just a little peek, lol! By the way, such a beautiful tray of cream puffs, yum!

Mary said...

Those profiteroles are perfection! YUM!

Great blog; happy I found you!!!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

Joanne said...

What I really like to do is half eavesdrop, half completely make up things about people. It's a fun game.

I kind of want to be a wedding planner too. Or just a caterer. I'd totally be a caterer. Or maybe I'll just make profiteroles, and then I can be you. Sound good? These look awesome! I am SO impressed.

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum said...

WHOA. Looks awesome!

Baking Barrister said...

I totally and completely eavesdrop on people when I'm out in public as well. I feel like people are no longer concerned about privacy and thus talk about the most personal things in earshot of others. Some of the more interesting conversations I've heard involved someone discussing her plastic surgery, teenage boys (traveling sports teams, ugh) talking about the shit 16 year old girls apparently engage in, and a lawyer discussing a high profile case which I was able to figure out. Yeah!

Uh, anyway, congrats on making cream puffs! This is one thing I'm afraid to tackle. My piping skills suck.

Sara said...

I love to eavesdrop on people, especially at airports, airplanes and on buses. Recently I was on a bus to nyc, which is hour and thirty minutes. Woman sitting behind me was talking on her cell and crying to her boyfriend who apparently forgot her birthday. It was entertaining and also helped me pass the time on the smelly bus. Loved your recipe for the cream puffs, I will have to try it one of these days, eventhough I suck at baking! Thanks for the Recipe!

Cristina said...

Those are fun conversations to listen in on. I'd rather those kinda conversations than children screaming and crying at the top of their lungs in the airport. :)

Looks like you've mastered the profiteroles. They look so professionally done and beautiful presentation with the drizzle of chocolate and raspberries - I'm sure you've put that wedding planner to shame!

Nirmala said...

To die for. Do you eat all these treats by yourself or do you bring them to the office?!

Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

You're too funny and your profiteroles are perfect! I want one - its my birthday, I'm imagining the sweet deliciousness of the cream filling with just a touch of bittersweet chocolate at the end!

Radhika said...

I do eavesdrop when I am in Airport or other public places but haven't heard any interesting conversations as you did. I just can't wait to make this decadent profiteroles but still I have to wait alteast a week or so for my apt to cool down. It is freaking hot here for September :(

Stella said...

Wow Azmina! Your puffs look perfect. I love profiteroles too-they're so good.
On a different note though, do people really talk about their kids diaper stuff like that? Remind me to never do that if I ever have a baby (smile). Ugh.
p.s. I posted some egg rolls that I always make. I thought of you when I posted them, but I know some people don't like tofu. They're good though, and you obviously are a lover of egg rolls;)

Tanvi said...

Hey Azmina,
Havent been lucky enough till date to hear such interesting converstaions !! would love to :)Thanks for visiting my space and the lovely comments.
This stuff .. i means the puffs are new to me...but they look yummy!
And about desi cooking...I m a big fan of flavors from home! Like the videshi stuff too but may be once or twice a week!Actually find it too cheesy & buttery at times! :)
Btw are you a lawyer or a photographer ???...just kidding!:)
Keep in touch!

polwig said...

I love profiderols, they are really really good frozen too,the custard is like ice cream in a crunchy shell.

Valerie said...

I want to make 60K with my abs... or my creampuffs... Unfortunately at this point in my life (or ever to be honest) I do not have abs... I also do not have creampuffs right now, which is a crime. You're a lawyer, don't you agree, not having creampuffs is a crime??!!
They look awesome Azmina!!!
www.vandeflier.com

Shirley said...

It looks perfect with the chocolate sauce! I once made eclairs and all but one deflated, and I was bummed. Until I ate one... they may have been ugly, but they tasted good!

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

You make my sides hurt :D

Love the prrrofiterrrrrroles!

Lys ~ Cooking In Stilettos said...

See, when I see this I think that perhaps I'm just scared of baking for absolutely NO reason. GREAT photos and will be trying this recipe.

Angela (the diet book junkie) said...

haha...i love eavesdropping on other people's conversations, especially at wine tasting events. (you can imagine the hilarious philosophy that comes out of people's mouths.) that girl you heard mentioning the fake bake, i wonder if that was me :p

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

I tried to post earlier today, think my comment went ... somewhere? SO ... will try again: 1) love that you spelled eavesdropping correctly. Of course, lawyers should, but most Facebook people do not. 2) Those profiteroles are AMAZING! I told you I momentarily blacked out in enjoyment looking at them ... banging my head on the keyboard revived me. YUM!

The Cilantropist said...

I dont know how I only noticed this post now, but I loved reading it (ie, you are hilarious and make me laugh) and your profiteroles look delicious (ie, I am drooling on my keyboard). ;) Happy Labor Day!

Kathy Diaz (found baking) said...

Hahaha! I was cracking up reading this post. Ahhh, the enjoyment of eavesdropping. It's true about "The Situation" by the way. On another comment, your cream puffs are beautiful. They don't look like messy blobs, they are puff-perfection.

Kelsey said...

these are better than the version they sell at la collina bakery nearby!! WOW!! <3

Bria @ West of Persia said...

Love this post. You make me laugh, LLL! Btw, I can feel my abs getting puffy just looking at those profiteroles. Ha! They look excellent!

Foodessa said...

As long as all that eavesdropping served up these fabulous profiteroles...you won't get any flack from me ;o)
You seemed to have done a fabulous puff n cream...absolutely excellent!

BTW...very nice of you to introduce yourself today...it was a pleasure.

Flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Danielle said...

Wow, those look beautiful! You can't even see the cream filling so it looks like a little surprise inside.

Wheels and Lollipops said...

Come visit me in Paris !!! I also love to listen in on airport/metro conversations. The puffs look great would go nicely with my morning coffee :)

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