So we’ve now come to the end of another week of Victorian recipes and a Victorian meal. Are you as full as I am? Amongst the many desserts and vegetable dishes (I’m not quite sure why they were listed under the sweets portion of the menu), the Queen was served “Les Choux glacés à la Duchesse” which translates to “Iced Puff Pastries” or in my mind “Profiteroles”. Now no matter how you slice it, whether with the Victorian version of the recipe:
Or the modern day recipe that I have below, I will fully admit that this is not one of those “Shake-and-Bake” recipes where you can blink and be done with it. It’s got steps, lots of them, and it’s a wee bit finicky and pain-staking. Having made it sound like oh so much fun, I can say one thing for it… it’s delicious and super-duper impressive! Especially if you make a tower out of them. Have a mother-in-law you want to impress? This will do it! You can try making this dish with non-dairy ingredients, replacing the butter with margarine and the milk with soy/almond/cashew milk, but I’m not 100% sure how well it will come out.
½ cup water
½ cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Vanilla Pastry Cream:
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
60 g (1/3 cup or 2.1 oz.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons corn syrup
In medium sized sauce pan, bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to boil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Using wooden spoon, stir in flour until mixture forms ball and film forms on the bottom of the pan.
Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, and continue to mix the pastry dough for another minute so that it can cool a bit. One at a time, beat in 3 of the eggs, beating well after each addition until the dough is smooth and shiny.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip or spoon, pipe (or spoon) the dough into twenty-four 1 ½ inch wide mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water; and using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over the mounds, gently flattening any peaks in dough.
Bake in 425°F oven until the mounds are puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake until golden and crisp, about 10 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and let them stand in oven for another 15 – 25 minutes to dry.
Transfer the pastry mounds to a wire rack, and using the tip of a knife, poke hole in bottom of each profiterole. Let the pastry cool completely. (If you are making these ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours, then re-crisp in 350°F oven for 5 minutes, then cool again before filling.)
Vanilla Pastry Cream:
In bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ½ cup of the milk, the sugar and cornstarch. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the remaining milk over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edge. Gradually whisk the warmed milk into egg yolk mixture. Return the combined mixture to the saucepan and cook, whisking, until thick enough to coast the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, and then stir in the vanilla. Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap, laying the wrap directly on the surface of the cream (this way a skin doesn’t form). Refrigerate the cream until chilled, about 3 hours. (If you are making this ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)
In heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water*, melt together the chocolate, butter and corn syrup, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, leaving the bowl over the saucepan to keep warm.
* Click here to see my tips on using a double boiler.
Using a piping bag fitted with ¼ inch plain tip, pipe pastry cream into each profiterole through the hole in the bottom. Dip the tops of each into the glaze. Let each stand until set, about 20 minutes. (If you are making these ahead: Refrigerate them for up to 4 hours.)