This week marks Valentine’s Day and whether you celebrate or not, host a Galentine’s evening with pals or have an indulgent dinner date, it’s a good excuse for a mid-February treat if you ask me. We’ve always tended to make dinner rather than go out, so the meal we make becomes a fun shared activity, rather than any over the top, commercialised gesture. These salted caramel and chocolate cream profiteroles look impressive but are actually simple to make. As long as you beat your choux well, you won’t end up with scrambled eggs, and letting out the steam means the buns will be nice and crisp. This is a great Valentine’s pud as you can make most of the elements ahead – and just fill, make the caramel drizzle, assemble and serve. The more rustic they look, the better – otherwise you may as well have just bought them! To make the profiteroles, you will need:
75g plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 large eggs, beaten (I halved the quantities below to make less profiteroles).
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas 6. Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a heap on a sheet of baking paper.
Put the butter, along with 150ml water, in a pan over a medium heat, and warm until the butter melts. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
Use the baking paper as a funnel to quickly add the flour mixture to the butter, then remove from the heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. The mixture should form a thick paste and come away from the sides of the pan.
Gradually add the egg, beating vigorously between each addition, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. You might not need all the egg – the dough should have a dropping consistency.
Lightly grease the baking sheet and use two teaspoons to create walnut-sized blobs of the mixture on the baking sheet, leaving space in between for them to rise. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until risen, gold and crisp. Pierce the bottom of each with a sharp knife to release the steam and bake for a further 3 – 4 minutes before leaving to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling and the caramel. For the chocolate cream, simply whip 400ml double cream with 2 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract until it just holds its shape. Then fold in 100g melted and cooled milk chocolate. Chill for 10 minutes then whip again and spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. While it sets, make the salted caramel sauce. You will need:
200g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
60ml double cream (I used Elmlea)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt.
Put the sugar and 6 tbsp water in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a rolling boil and swirl the pan for 3-4 minutes, allowing the mixture to bubble and darken until you have an amber-coloured caramel.
Remove from the heat and add the butter, cream and salt.
It will bubble wildly but keep whisking until it’s smooth. Set aside to cool a little but not too much, or it will solidify.
Insert the nozzle of the piping bag into each profiterole and gently fill with the chocolate cream.
Stack the profiteroles in a bowl and drizzle over the just-warm salted caramel sauce and a wee sprinkling of sea salt flakes, if you like.
Perfect for sharing – or not! What are you baking this weekend or for a Valentine’s treat?
Recipe via The Great British Bake Off Christmas (but perfect for any special occasion!).