Profiteroles

Hugely popular, these chocolate-topped choux pastry buns simply cannot be beaten.

Makes 18-20 profiteroles;  Prep:  15 mins;  Cook:  20-25 baking, plus cooling

Ingredients:  50g (2oz) butter; 60g (2 1/2oz) strong plain flour, sifted; pinch of salt; 2 eggs, beaten

Filling and topping:  284ml (10 fl oz) pot of double cream whipped; 200g (7oz) plain chocolate chopped

  • Preheat oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6.  Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  • In a small heavy-based saucepan heat the butter with 150ml (1/4 pint) water until melted.  Bring to the boil.
  • Remove from the heat.  Add the flour and salt and stir in vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth ball.  Allow the pastry to cool slightly.
  • Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy.  Put teaspoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray.
  • Bake for 10 mins then increase the oven temperature to 220oC/425oF/Gas 7.  Bake for a further 10-15 mins, or until the buns are crisp and golden.
  • Remove from the oven.  Pierce each bun to allow any steam to escape.  Leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Put the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl and melt over a pan of barely simmering water until smooth.
  • Cut each bun in half and fill generously with the cream.  Dip each top in the melted chocolate and place on top of the filled buns.  Serve at once.
  • Cooks tips:  Sprinkle a little water over the baking sheet after greasing.  This increases the steam in the oven and helps the buns to rise.  Give the topping a tasty twist by using orange-flavoured chocolate and adding 3 tbsp orange juice when melting.
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