It was a lot of fun to research this post. I went through numerous old White House menus from several centuries and I re-read my two White House cookbooks from the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. A common theme emerged. Ever since Thomas Jefferson brought back the method for making ice cream from France, it has been a popular choice to end formal meals. Granted, it takes many forms as ice cream, sherbert, ices (like my melon peach ice) and granitas, but the concept is the same no matter how they dress it up with molds, fresh fruit and other sauces. The kitchen would (and probably still does) keep on hand a variety of sauces and frozen creations, so they could turn out desserts quickly and easily.
Profiteroles are made from pate a choux, cream puff base. It is a very easy process to master and a great tool to have in your repertoire if you haven’t made them already. They can be savory (later on I will put up a post on gougeres) or sweet, as they are in this case.
For today’s post I nestled some key lime ice cream into fresh profiteroles and topped with some of my basic ganache. We may not have been entertaining a head of state, but we were celebrating the midpoint of HS exam week and our first entrant into the school spelling bee!
Profiteroles, with the basic method for Pate a Choux – Makes eight large puffs
1/4 c. butter (one part)
1/2 c. all-purpose flour (two parts)
1/2 c. water (two parts)
So this is my basic formula, which you can scale up easily. Preheat the oven to 400, then put the butter in a saucepan on medium heat.
Add the water and bring it to a boil.
When it is boiling, dump in the flour all at once.
Turn off the heat and whisk like mad. It will be lumpy and then it will come together in a smooth ball.
Whisk in an egg. Beat well. It will look like a slimy mess and not want to come together, but keep going.
Once the first egg is completely incorporated, add the second and do the same thing. Whisk, whisk, whisk. You’ll end up with a lovely golden paste.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet and drop spoonfuls of paste onto the sheet. Give them lots of room to spread.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 for another 15 minutes.
At this point I like to split them and let the steam out. I also remove any extra dough inside that moist to keep them crispy.
Put one puff on each plate and fill it with a large beautiful scoop of ice cream. Top with warm ganache or a sauce of your choice.
Petit fours are the other most common dessert choice across the years. We’ll tackle those little delicacies one weekend soon.