A rich, creamy custard filling inside light, airy, crispy, perfectly baked choux pastry shells, and then drizzled with a luscious chocolate sauce on top – there’s a reason why these classic Chocolate Profiteroles (Cream Puffs) are so popular!
One of my most popular recipes on the blog is this choux pastry tutorial with all the troubleshooting tips for making absolutely PERFECT choux pastry every single time. I’ve been making choux pastry for a long time, but for the last two years, I’ve only published a grand total of TWO recipes with my choux pastry on the blog – these pumpkin cheesecake profiteroles (cream puffs) and chocolate eclairs.
It’s time to change that, and I figured I’ll start with these Perfect Chocolate Profiteroles (Cream Puffs), a favorite holiday dessert for many! Perfectly baked choux pastry cases filled with creamy creme pattisiere and topped with a luscious chocolate sauce. It’s simple, classic and addictively delicious.
Chocolate profiteroles (or cream puffs) were a BIG part of my childhood, even though the cream puffs that I grew up with were different from the classic. They had a filling that was sweeter than classic creme patissiere, but that’s a recipe for another day. 🙂
Today, it’s the classic chocolate profiterole’s turn to shine!
I won’t be going into specifics about homemade choux pastry, because you can find all the details for that in this post right here. If you’d like to know how make PERFECT choux pastry without fail every time, you should definitely read that troubleshooting post. There I talk about everything from ingredients and quantities to what to look for at each step of the recipe, and other tips and tricks to make sure you’re on the right path to making crispy on the outside, custard-y on the inside, choux pastry with a big, airy pocket for a creamy, delicious filling.
For this chocolate profiteroles (cream puffs) recipe, I piped choux pastry that was about 2 inches in diameter. It gave me choux pastry shells that were about 2.5 inches in diameter. I get 25 shells total, with this recipe.
The creme patissiere (pastry cream) recipe that I used for these chocolate profiteroles is this one that I shared recently. However 1 batch of that pastry cream recipe is only enough for about 18 of these choux pastry cases. So I made 1 1/2 batches of that pastry cream recipe to fill these bad boys. You can check out that post to find out how to make rich, creamy (and gluten-free and dairy-free!) creme patissiere for all kinds of desserts.
The chocolate sauce drizzled over these chocolate profiteroles is also the perfect pairing because it’s not too sweet, and I add a touch of bourbon to it for an extra kick. It doesn’t make the sauce boozy, but adds another warming layer of flavor. You can leave out the bourbon if you like, and just add extra cream or water to the sauce in its place. I love pouring warm chocolate sauce over the profiteroles just before digging into them, so I always serve the profiteroles and sauce separately. And I also love pouring plenty of it! Honestly, I have a hard time trusting anyone who doesn’t want delicious chocolate sauce over their profiteroles! 🙂
Chocolate Profiteroles with Pastry Cream (Cream Puffs)
- 1 ½ batches of pastry cream for 30 servings ingredients as follows
- 3 cups milk
- 9 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 1.5 tbsp vanilla bean paste / extract / 1 vanilla bean pod
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 4.5 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 6 oz semi sweet chocolate
- ⅓ cup cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp agave / corn syrup optional
- 2 tbsp bourbon optional
- Preheat oven to 420°F.
- Prepare choux pastry dough according to the recipe here. When the choux pastry dough is ready, place it in a pastry bag that has a large round tip (or simply cut the tip off of the pastry bag).
- Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper and mist the surface with water (either using a mister or lightly sprinkle water with your hands - this is an optional step).
- Pipe 1 - 1 ½ inch round choux pastry mounds on to the baking sheet, with at least 1 inch space between each. (When piping choux pastry, keep the tip slightly embedded just under the surface of the piped choux pastry. This is to ensure the piped shape is as smooth as possible). Then gently flatten the pointy tip with a damp finger.
- Transfer the piped choux pastry to the oven, and immediately lower the heat to 375°F. Bake in preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes in the center of the oven, or until the choux pastry shells puff up and are golden brown on top. Do not open the oven door at least until you have reached the 25 minute mark.
- Remove from the oven, and prick each shell with a toothpick and let them cool down completely.
- Follow the instructions in this recipe to make pastry cream (with scaled up ingredient quantities).
- When the prepared choux pastry has been chilled, place the pastry cream in a piping bag with a bismarck filling tip, or round tip (about ½ cm). Keep it chilled until needed.
- Place all the ingredients, except for the butter and bourbon, in a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat over medium low heat (or over a double boiler). Stir and melt the chocolate to get a smooth, shiny sauce. This can be done in the microwave as well.
- While the sauce is warm, add the softened butter and bourbon and whisk to mix completely.
- Use immediately. If it cools down too much, you can warm it up again in the microwave in 15 second intervals.
- Cut an ‘x’ on the bottom of the choux pastry (see photos in the post). Pipe in the pastry cream (with a bismarck tip), until the pastry cases are almost full.
- Place the profiteroles on a plate and keep in the fridge (covered) until ready to serve. The cases are best filled as close to serving time as possible, to prevent them from getting too soggy.
- Dip them in the chocolate sauce or pour the warm chocolate sauce over the profiteroles just before serving.
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