Friday, December 10, 2010
Profiteroles with Eggnog Ice Cream and Rum Sauce
I’m one of those people that likes the idea of eggnog, but can never really manage to taste more than a sip or two because it’s so incredibly rich. But since I like the flavors quite a bit I decided to make an ice cream that showcases the same ingredients but cuts back on some of the eggs and cream while still maintaining the desired creaminess and luxury of eggnog.
Profiteroles are such a delicious way to enjoy ice cream, so this is my preferred vehicle to enhance this presentation. A great pâte à choux adds texture and balances the richness of the ice cream. The Rum Sauce is made with brown sugar, butter, a little cream and a dash of rum and brings a level of delicious festivity that is completely irresistible.
Pâte à choux is a wondrous pastry. Legend has it that a chef by the name of Panterelli invented it in 1540, years after accompanying Catherine de' Medici and her court from Florence to France for her marriage to King Henry II. In the nineteenth century, Antoine Carême, who was the very first celebrity chef and responsible for the emergence of haute cuisine, perfected the recipe that is most commonly used today.
If you’re looking for a fun and delicious idea for a holiday dessert over the next few weeks, I highly recommend this truly luscious combination. I think you’ll find it will bring a collective sigh of pure enjoyment from just about everyone at your table. In fact, you may want to double the profiterole recipe for a repeat performance in case you receive a standing ovation. Cheers!
- Pâte à choux is a classic light pastry that forms the base for éclair, croquembouche and cream puffs. It’s not difficult to make. It just requires that you try not to hurry the process. What makes it all work are a few simple techniques. 1) Once you add the flour to the water and butter, make sure you stir and cook the dough for a couple of minutes so there is a steam rising and a film appears on the bottom of the pan. This cooks out the taste of the flour. 2) Take the dough off the heat and beat it in a mixer or with a wooden spoon until there is no longer any steam rising. This helps to dry out the dough in preparation for incorporating the eggs. 3) Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix thoroughly before adding the next. The dough will look lumpy at first but will smooth out beautifully. Scrape down the bowl after each addition. 4) The pâte à choux is ready when it is smooth and shiny and falls from a spoon in gloppy sheets. 5) Always use an egg wash to ensure even, pretty browning. 6) The test for baked pâte à choux is when a piece feels very light and sounds hollow when tapped.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can easily use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture.
- I love the experience of opening the oven door and finding this lovely soft piped dough transformed into all these beautiful billowy pastries that are so light and gorgeous. The term choux means cabbage in French, so these little gems are meant to look like rustic visions of cabbage. In some cultures the dough is fried, such as beignets and churros.
- I use a serrated knife to slice the profiteroles.
- The principal spice in the ice cream is nutmeg. I add just a small dash of cinnamon and a smaller pinch of cloves to warm it up and echo the spiciness of eggnog.
- The ice cream and the sauce can be made ahead of time. I prefer fresh profiteroles eaten the same day but you can freeze the baked profiteroles in an airtight container. Thaw, cut in half and crisp in a 350 degree oven for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Profiteroles with Eggnog Ice Cream and Rum Sauce
Eggnog Ice Cream
1 1/2 C milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1 t rum
1/2 t vanilla
generous 1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
slight pinch of cinnamon
even slighter pinch of ground cloves
salt, to taste
Bring milk to a simmer over moderate heat.
Whisk the yolks and sugar together in a bowl until thickened and light yellow. Gradually add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook the custard over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Be very careful not to let the mixture heat too quickly or boil.
Immediately pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container and stir in the cream, rum, vanilla and the spices. Whisk thoroughly. Add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled thoroughly.
Freeze in an ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface. Cover and put in the freezer to firm up.
Makes about 1 dozen small profiteroles
1/2 C water
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/8 t salt
1/2 C flour
splash of water
small pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and add flour all at once. Cook and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth, pulls away from the sides of pan and leaves a noticeable film on the bottom of the pan. This will take a couple of minutes.
Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle for a few minutes until there is no longer any steam rising from the dough. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. The dough will go from looking lumpy to very smooth. Continue to add eggs one at a time and beat until you have the same results, scraping down the bowl after each addition. While the dough is mixing, make an egg wash combining an egg, a splash of water and a tiny pinch of salt. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. Place the pâte à choux into a pastry bag fitted with 1/2" plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2" mounds. Wet your index finger with cold water and smooth the tops of each piece of piped dough. Brush each piece lightly with egg wash.
Bake until golden brown and puffed, about 22 to 24 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
1 oz (2 T) butter
1/4 C dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 T heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 t rum
salt, to taste
Melt the butter over medium heat and combine with the brown sugar. Lower heat a bit and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the cream and continue cooking for another 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and rum. Add a pinch of salt, to taste. Cool.
To serve, gently slice the profiteroles in half crosswise and put 3 on each plate. Place a scoop of Egg Nog Ice Cream into each profiterole and replace the tops. Drizzle lightly with the Rum Sauce and serve immediately.