The perfect combination of crunchy and chewy, warm and cold, light yet decadent,… Ice Cream Profiteroles are probably one of the most iconic French Dessert ever for a reason: they are simply heavenly!
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What are Profiteroles
Profiteroles are a classic French Patisserie dessert that is composed by three elements:
- Choux Pastry Buns
- A Cream Filling: Ice Cream, Whipped cream or Pastry cream
- Warm Chocolate Sauce
Profiterole Origins are linked to 17th Century French Pastry, but funnily enough, they are known to have been served as a savoury dish at the time. Today, Profiteroles are a sweet Patisserie dish that can be served with different types of Cream Fillings and topped with a warm Chocolate Sauce.
I know that for some people, a Profiterole is filled with Whipped Cream or Pastry Cream but for me, Profiteroles are made with Vanilla Ice Cream while Choux à la Crème are filled with Cream!
More Choux Pastry Recipe Ideas:
What is the difference between eclairs and profiteroles
The main difference between Eclairs and Profiteroles is the shape given to the Choux Pastry: one is thin and long while the other one is small and round.
The filling of the two pastries are often also different; a profiterole is always filled with a cream (whipped cream, pastry cream, custard,…) while a Profiterole can also be filled with Ice Cream.
Also, Eclairs are usually finished with a glaze and Profiteroles with a Chocolate Sauce.
Are Cream Puffs and Profiteroles the same?
They are very similar and can often be mixed up. And to be honest, it is fair enough because there are no real definition of what a Profiterole is and how it is different from a Cream Puff.
Since a Profiterole Bun is made the exact same way as a Cream Puff and they can be both filled with a Cream, I would say that for me, the main difference is that Profiterole can be served frozen (not Cream Puffs / Choux à la Crème) and that Warm Chocolate Sauce is usually only served on top of Profiteroles – not Cream Puffs.
What are Profiteroles made of?
The only way I have ever had Profiteroles in Belgium and France was with Ice Cream and a Warm Chocolate Sauce. For me, it’s that contrast between the frozen Ice Cream and the Warm Chocolate Sauce that defines the dessert. My classic Recipe is made with 3 elements:
- the small pastries made out of Choux
- the vanilla ice cream filling
- the warm chocolate sauce
Choux Pastry Buns
The Choux Buns for Profiteroles are made the exact same way any Choux Pastry is made: by adding Flour to a mix of Water, Melted Butter (and optionally Sugar or Salt) in a Pot on the stove to dry it out, then mixing in Eggs.
The Choux Batter is then piped on a baking tray and baked in the oven until they puff and become golden brown.
I topped my Choux Buns with a Craquelin topping to bring a deliciously crunchy texture to the profiteroles but it is completely optional!
Like I explained above, technically you can use Whipped Cream, Custard, Pastry Cream (or any type of thick cream really) to fill the Profiteroles but for me, Profiteroles are always made with Ice Cream.
I always go for the Classic combination of Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.
If you would like to fill your Profiteroles with Cream instead of Ice Cream, make sure to check out my classic Pastry Cream recipe!
The thick, glossy and delicious Chocolate Sauce is made from two ingredients only: Dark Cooking Chocolate and Milk. All you need to do is warm up the milk and use it to melt the Chocolate.
Like always when it comes to Chocolate, using the best quality you can find makes all the difference. Using a chocolate with a high percentage of Cacao (I try to always go for a 70% Chocolate) will also improve the taste of the sauce. There is no added sugar here – what you really want to taste is the intense flavour of chocolate!
Tips to make the best Profiteroles
How do you keep profiteroles crisp
Unfortunately, there is no magic tip to keep profiteroles (or choux pastry) crisp for days. Choux are a ratter fragile pastry and their texture will be highly influenced by temperature and humidity. They are best eaten within 2 days and can be kept in an air-tight container at room temperature or in the fridge.
Read more about tips to make Crispy Cream Puffs here
Can you freeze Profiteroles?
Well, that’s the great thing about Profiteroles (and again, Choux Pastry in general): they Choux Buns can be frozen very easily, and you will just need to prepare the chocolate sauce / vanilla ice cream last minute! There are two ways of freezing Choux Pastry:
- Prepare the choux batter and pipe it on a baking tray. Place the baking tray in the freezer and once frozen, move the choux in a container for a few months. When ready to be eaten, baked them the traditional way with an extra 5 to 10 minutes to thaw in the oven.
- Make and bake the Choux Buns. Leave them to cool down completely then freeze them in a container. Leave to thaw in the fridge and place back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp again.
Note that if frozen after being baked, the Choux will most probably deflate when thawed and you will not get the same crisp finish.
Why do profiteroles collapse?
Profiteroles collapsing can mean two things:
- They were not dried enough when first cooked in the pot and/or too much eggs were added to the mixture and the batter was runny
- The Profiteroles Buns were not baked for long enough and/or the oven door was opened before they were fully puffed.
It’s the humidity contained in the raw eggs that will make the choux pastry puff so it is important to get the right amount of eggs in the batter and let them puff in the oven for long enough.
How long do Profiteroles last
The main thing to know is that although the Profiterole Choux Buns can be made in advance (and even frozen), the final dessert should always be put together at the last minute and eaten straight away for obvious reasons: the ice cream will melt and the chocolate sauce will harden.
More Classic French Desserts:
How to make Pastry Cream
Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears
Triple French Chocolate Tart
Plum Vanilla Custard Tart
French Buckwheat Crepes
Easy French Apple Cake
Classic Profiteroles Recipe:
Classic French Profiteroles
Craquelin Topping (Optional)
- 40 gr (3 tbsp ) Unsalted Butter
- 20 gr (1 1/2 tbsp) Brown Sugar
- 50 gr (1/3 cup) Plain Flour
Choux Pastry Buns
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) Water
- 60 gr (1/4 cup) Unsalted Butter
- 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 75 gr (1/2 cup) Plain Flour
- 2 Eggs
1 tub Vanilla Ice Cream
- 150 gr (5,5 oz) Dark Cooking Chocolate
- 150 ml (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) Full Cream Milk
Craquelin Topping (Optional)
- Melt the Butter and set aside to cool down. In a small bowl, mix the Flour and Brown Sugar. Pour over the melted Butter and stir with a fork or a small spatula until completely combined.
- Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and spread as thinly as possible with a rolling pin. Place on a flat tray and transfer in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.
Choux Pastry Buns
- Place the Water, Butter and Sugar in a medium size pot on medium heat. When the butter has melted, drop in the Flour at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dough over the low/medium heat to remove as much moisture as possible. Keep on stiring until a thin pellicule forms at the bottom of the pot (see note 1). Transfer into a large bowl (or the bowl of your Mixer) and leave to cool down for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Beat the eggs together in a seperate bowl. Slowly start to add the mixed eggs into the rest of the Choux batter, a little bit at the time. Mix well between each addition of eggs until they are fully incorporated, then add a little bit more eggs and repeat (it is easier to do this step with a Stand Mixer). The pastry should be fluid and shiny, not too liquid or too hard (see note 2).
- Preheat your oven on 180'C / 350'F and grease the bottom of a baking tray (wipe any excess of grease with a paper towel).
- Place the Choux Pastry in a piping bag with a large round nozzle. Pipe small mounds of pastry, leaving room between each choux as they will puff in the oven.
- Optional: Take the Craquelin out of the fridge. Use a small cookie cutter, about the size of each choux, to cut out the craquelin and place them over each choux.
- Put in the oven for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden, then open the oven door to let the steam out and directly re-close it. Leave them to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes – If they Choux are not baked enough, they will fall down once cold. Transfer the Choux on a cooling rack and leave to cool down completely.
- Chop the Dark Cooking Chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl.
- In a small pot, heat up the milk until it starts to boil then directly remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Wait 30 seconds then stir with a spatula to melt the chocolate. Keep stiring until the chocolate is fully melted, shiny and glossy (see note 3)
Putting the profiteroles together
- When ready to serve, slice each Choux in half. Place a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on the bottom of each Choux and place the Choux lid back on. Re-heat the Chocolate Sauce to be fluid if needed then pour it over the Profiteroles. Serve straight away.
- Press the dough again the sides of the pot to dry it out as much as possible using the wooden spoon or spatula, . If the dough is not dry enough, it will not puff in the oven.
- It is important to check the consistency of the batter before adding all the eggs; sometimes the choux will need a little bit more or a little bit less eggs. To know that the choux batter has the right consistency and you can stop adding more eggs, place a finger against the batter and lift it up. Holding your finger straight (parallel to the ground), the pastry should slightly fall back to form an oval. If the pastry looks too stiff and doesn’t fall back, add a little bit of egg. If the batter look to be super runny, you have added too much eggs.
- If the chocolate has not fully melted, place the bowl over a small pot filled with a little bit of water on low heat. The “Bain-Marie” will finish to melt the chocolate without burning it.