Pâte à choux (“paht ah shoo”), sometimes called cream puff dough, is also the base for eclairs and — my personal favorite — adorable profiteroles. I love them filled with ice cream, whipped cream or mousse. For this recipe, I chose to pair a sweetened ricotta and rum-soaked prune filling with a fresh lemon glaze. The tangy sharpness of the lemon complements the rum-tinged sweetness of the filling. I think small profiteroles have the best proportion of pâte à choux to filling. Three make a perfect serving. I serve them with a summer plum sauce from my larder, but a chocolate ganache or raspberry coulis would also be wonderful.
- Makes about 30 profiteroles (1-1/2” each)
- Pâte à Choux
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 eggs
- Ricotta Filling
- 2 tablespoons pitted dried prunes, diced (about 6 prunes)
- 1 tablespoon rum
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
- Lemon Glaze
- 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Pâte à Choux: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, butter, sugar and lemon zest. When the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved, add the flour. With a wooden spoon, mix to combine well and cook for 1-2 minutes to dry the mixture. A ball of dough will begin to form a coating on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the dough ball to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix at a slow speed. Add one egg at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next egg. While mixture is still warm, load into a plastic pastry bag and pipe quarter-size balls onto the parchment paper, spacing them 1” apart. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 10 more minutes. The profiteroles will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped at the base. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Ricotta Filling: In a medium bowl, soak the diced prunes in the rum for 10 minutes. Add the ricotta and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Cover and chill until needed.
Lemon Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, lemon zest and most of the lemon juice. Taste for tartness. If needed, add more lemon juice. Cover and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Assembly: Make a small hole mid-way up the profiterole. Pipe or spoon in 1-1/2 teaspoons of the ricotta filling. Place the filled profiteroles on a screen over a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon glaze over them, letting the excess drip off. Let set for 20 minutes. Serve with a raspberry, chocolate or plum sauce. Only fill and glaze the profiteroles you want to serve. You can freeze extras for up to 1 month if tightly sealed. Thaw and crisp frozen profiteroles in the oven, then fill and glaze them as noted above.
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