I read every comment posted on my recipes, for better or for worse. And I noticed that some of them said things along the lines of, "Thanks Kerry, we like this pissaladière pasta, but how do I make pissaladière?" And that was one of my original goals for this column: to show people how to make French food fast, and easy. And what is French food without the classics? So, here is the first is the series of canonical French classics, without the fuss, that I will be peppering into French in a Flash.
I begin with the end: dessert. French pastries are legendary, and, for the most part, they are best left to patisseries. I find nothing wrong with buying a beautiful tart on the way home from the subway. But some French baking is so easy, and so different from what we're used to making, that things like profiteroles become homemade pantry-staple bombshells. All it takes to make the world's most elegant ice cream sandwich is flour, butter, water, and eggs. French food may be fabulous, but it's hardly exotic or esoteric to the American pantry. Add chocolate chips and store-bought ice cream, and you're done.
Though the classic is vanilla, I can't resist strawberry ice cream in these profiteroles—it's like eating a cold, creamy, chocolate-covered strawberry. But if you want to go double-chocolate (or triple-chocolate by adding a spoonful of Dutch cocoa to your choux pastry with the eggs) or classic vanilla, own it. This recipe is one that I cannot keep my hands off of.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 11.5-ounce bag good quality dark chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 pints good quality strawberry ice cream (recommended: Haagen-Dazs Five)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a covered saucepot, bring the butter, water, sugar, and salt to a boil. It is important to cover the pot so that the amount of liquid remains exact.
Take the pan off the heat, and dump in the flour. Stir vigorously to combine with a wooden spoon, and return to pan to medium-low heat. Stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan, and forms a ball. Spoon the dough into a bowl, and set aside to cool slightly. Soak your pan now. Thank me later.
Using a wooden spoon or electric beater, add the eggs one at a time, adding the next egg only once the one before it has been completely incorporated into the dough.
Use an ice cream scoop to place 8 round mounds on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet. Wet your finger and tap down any points in the dough that might stick out and burn.
Bake the choux puffs for 10 minutes on 400, and then another 40 to 45 minutes on at 350°F. They should be puffed, cracked, and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
When ready to serve, heat the chocolate and cream gently in a double boiler until smooth and melted.
Slice the pastry puffs in half horizontally. Place one scoop of strawberry ice cream on the bottom half, and top with the top half. Pour the chocolate sauce on top.