After many adventures in the kitchen of Westminster College which included exploding roly polies and Pithiviers on the run, we finally got on to make something worth of the name bomb: profiteroles which, in Argentina, are called little cream bombs.
To make them, you have to start by making a pâte à choux which you can then use to make small profiteroles or a big ring for the Paris Brest for example.
Contrary to what you might read in countless cookery books, these gorgeous-looking profiteroles are NOT easy to make. I suppose it’s not that bad when you’re using an electric whisker but when you’re doing it all by hand, man that’s a whole other story. I will not be making them like this again unless I am at gunpoint or I am asked to do them for a test at college in which case I will not have a choice in the matter.
Pâte à choux (basic recipe) adapted from Técnicas y recetas básicas by Blanca Cotta
Water, 1 cup
Flour, 1 cup
Salt, a pinch
Butter, 70g (o margarine)
How to make:
1. Place the water, salt and butter in a small pan and bring to the boil.
2. As soon as it boils, add the flour all in one go, as you stir quickly with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky, uniform mass that comes off the sides of the pan (stir continually over the heat so that it doesn’t burn.)
3. Take the dough off the heat and put in a bowl. Wait a few seconds so that it loses a bit of heat but do not let it go cold.
4. Whisk the eggs and add, little by little, to the paste, stirring well after each addition. If you add the eggs gradually like this instead of whole as the classic recipes would indicate, you will avoid the split and you won’t have to whisk endlessly to bring it back together again.
5. Once you’ve added all the eggs, put the pâte à choux in a piping bag (remember that as they cook, the profiteroles will double or treble their size) and form little balls on a greased and floured baking tray. Leave some space between the balls. If you don’t have a piping bag, use two teaspoons. They work equally well. Press them down gently with a wet finger.
6. Bake the bombs in a very hot oven first, until they puff up, and then carry on cooking them in a very low oven, until they are dry and goleen. If you are too impatient and take them out as soon as the bombs puff up… their internal humudity will flat them and you will believe you have flopped. This step is fundamental to dry them out on the inside and to make them keep their shape.
Note: It makes a world of difference if you actually spray your bombs as you put them
in the oven. That extra steam will help them puff and grow.