Everybody loves profiteroles! It's also one of Mum's favourites. I've been making these babies since high school. The very first time I mad them though was out of a box from White Wings with packet mix, and then I started making them from scratch. I know that I had many many failures, trying so many recipes and not being able to get it quite right. Do you remember the show "Suprise Chef"? Well, if you don't, it was a cooking based reality show (way before reality shows were big). Taken from Wiki: "Surprise Chef was an Australian cooking television show that aired on the Seven Network from 2001 to 2003. The show revolved around chef Aristos Papandroulakis, who would surprise an unwitting Coles supermarket shopper with an offer to cook dinner for them in their own home. If taken up on the offer, Aristos then set himself to cook a filling meal using only the ingredients available to him from their pantry, fridge or what groceries they had bought." I absolutely loved watching this show, I never missed an episode.
Well, on one of the episodes of Suprise Chef, Aristos made profiteroles and I used his recipe and they turned out absolutely fantastic! I seriously only ever used this recipe, simply printing it off the Channel 7 website and using that same piece of paper with the recipe everytime I wanted to make profiteroles. The show was eventually stopped but I still used the same recipe until one day... I LOST MY RECIPE! I tried going on to the website to print another copy but it must have been ages after the show ended because I couldn't find Aristos' recipe again. And I think that was what became the end of my profiteroles, I was adament that no other recipe worked (I tried so many and kept failing).
It was probably only about a year ago that I attempted to make these babies again after stopping for so long, and they came out fine! I used the chocolate eclair recipe from Donna Hay's Simple Essentials: Chocolate for my choux pastry and found a recipe for creme patissiere from Taste. You can also find some decent profiterole recipes on there. What I've learnt about profiteroles is that they can be quite temperamental according to the weather conditions too. A hot day yields absolutely beautiful puffs whereas a cold day could quite possibly mean profiteroles that don't quite "puff" up or completely flat pancakes. It's got something to do with the temperature of the eggs. I've also had the case of seeing great looking puffs in the oven only to have them sink as soon as I open the door. You've also got to make sure that you "cook" the flour properly and that you don't overbeat the eggs.
Recently for a friends 21st I offered to bake something to bring to the party, I thought I would suprise her with a pretty profiterole tower. It was a very warm day that Saturday and I was whipping my own cream which didn't end up as stiff as I had hoped it to be. The theme of the party was a pink and purple cocktail party (which really meant finger food). In order to take on the theme my original idea was to make profiteroles dipped into pink and purple coloured chocolate. Upon melting my white chocolate something went wrong and the chocolate didn't quite melt correctly (I suspect that it was on too high of a heat). I had to abandon that idea and luckily I always have a stash of chocolate buttons in the cupboard.
Ryan suggested that I make a croquembouche instead but I didn't want to be cooking up toffee and thought that using cream to hold the profiteroles together would be easier. Silly silly me... So I stacked them all up into a beautiful tower and put some little pink candy butterflies to make it all girly and tie into the "pink" of the pink and purple theme.
So I loaded my profiteroles into the car, drove with the air con on high and then... with my crazy driving went over a speed hump a little too fast totally forgetting I had fragile goods in the back seat. As soon as I went over that speed hump I knew my masterpiece had been ruined. I was too scared to look at it until reaching Di's place. I had a peep into the cake box and my heart absolutely sank. While waiting for Di to come out I gave Ryan a call and told him what had happened. "Is it salvagable?" he asks me... I had no hope at all. I thought that if we could get our hands on some cream and fruit or something I could try and rebuild my "tower" somehow and cover up the mess (it was late arvo on a Saturday meaning most shops were shut). On the way to Ryan's place we managed to find a little supermarket on the way and Di ran in and came out with a can of whipped cream and a packet of raspberry lollies. Good enough I thought.
So we arrived at the Birthday Girl's house and I get to work on fixing my poor tower. It seriously looked like a car had ran over it or something. But luckily it was only one side which had collapsed so I just made sure that that ugly side was facing away from view. It ended up being more of a profiterole mound or hill by the time I was done. When I realised that there were a couple of tables around the place set up with platters I was kind of cut knowing that my "masterpiece" would be bound to one corner. I could have just simply came with a tray of profiteroles instead of putting in all that effort. By the time most of the guests arrived it had already gotten dark (we were outside) so you couldn't see it, the fact that alot of people didn't even see the profiteroles meant they didn't go as quickly as I had hoped. But that's okay, those that knew I had baked went on the hunt for them =)
One of the birthday girl's friend had full pro camera gear and my profiterole "tower" caught his attention, I warned him of the ugly side and to avoid taking a shot of it. Even after all the mess it looked fabulous in this photo =).