Choux à la Crème, or cream puffs, as we colloquially call them in the States was one of those treats I'd heard umpteen times on movies and on television but had never tried.
As a child, it seemed that cream puffs (along with other delicacies) were reserved for "foodies" and gourmands. It wasn't until I moved to Manchester that I began to see towering centerpieces of profiteroles, stuck together with melted chocolate and wrapped in gauzy gold strands of spun sugar that I became comfortable with them.
Like many French desserts, profiteroles are mistakenly labeled as being ultimately difficult to make, but these were no trouble at all. Breaking with tradition, I 86ed the idea of piping custard into each bun and opted for the uber American delicacy of Cool Whip. Still taking a shortcut (but one that I think works), I chose not to temper any chocolate (hard to do with a toddler running around the kitchen!) and gave each robust 'role a creamy, chocolate buttercream hat.
1 cup all-purpose/plain flour
1 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 scant tsp salt
For the filling:
1 small container Cool Whip
For the topping:
Chocolate buttercream, homemade or store bought, your preference
alright, let's cook:
Immediately remove from the stove and, with a wooden spoon, stir in flour. Continue to stir until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. This should take about two minutes.
Allow to cool for two minutes.
Add the first egg along with the sugar and mix with a wooden spoon. Mix until the batter comes back together and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Continue to add the remaining eggs, one at a time, incorporating the mix completely before adding the next egg. (Take it easy, this bit kills your arm!)
Once ready, transfer the mix to a piping bag and pipe filled circles. Wet a finger, and smooth down any pointy tops.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake until the puffs are golden brown and feel light and hollow. Should take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool before filling with cream and topping with chocolate.
For the filling, pipe in some Cool Whip.
For the topping, using a palette knife, frost each profiterole with chocolate buttercream.