So tiny and yummy, nobody could blame you for eating two. Or seven.
I know the old blog has been very Pumpkin Heavy these days, so I think I will call this the last of the series. Until I do more. Okay?
We had a get-together at Friend MaryLou’s house a couple of Sundays ago, and the theme of the evening (we always have a theme) was Food You Can Eat With Your Hands. I made some lovely lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce to be jabbed with a toothpick for ingestion, and for dessert, I made these little guys–pumpkin profiteroles. Lovely, not only because they are alliterative, but because when you bite into them, you are rewarded with a mouthful of yummy pumpkin pastry cream. Try them; I think you’ll like them.
Haven’t worked with pâte a choux much? Fear not; I am here to help with an episode of PMAT Live!
As a bonus, this recipe makes about 36 puffs but more pastry cream than you’ll need to fill them, so you’ll have leftover cream for Just Plain Eating. You’re welcome.
Wow your friends and family with impressive but easy-to-make profiteroles filled with a not-too-sweet pumpkin pastry cream lightened with a bit of whipped cream. Yummy.
For the Shells
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
- 1.75 ounces unsalted butter
- scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2.5 ounces all purpose flour
- 2-3 large eggs
For the Pastry Cream
- 1 cup milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, (I used demerara)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, , or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- heavy pinch apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice
- several gratings of fresh nutmeg
- 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy whipping cream
To Make the Shells
- In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter, salt and sugar just to a full boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and dump flour in all at once.
- Stir vigorously until incorporated. The dough will be the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Cook, stirring, for a minute or two to dry the dough just a bit.
- Remove from heat and stir to cool down a bit. You may also transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If using a mixer, turn it on medium-low to allow the dough to cool.
- Either by hand with a wooden spoon or in a mixer, mix in the first egg. Stir and stir, because it will take a bit to force the egg to mix with the heavy dough.
- When the egg is completely incorporated, add the second egg and mix in. Check the dough--it should just barely flow. Refer to the video for the proper consistency. If the dough is a little dry still, break the third egg into a bowl and beat it well. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of beaten egg at a time until the dough is Just Right.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (or a zip top bag) with the dough. Squeeze out small mounds of dough on a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and bake at 300F for another 10-15 minutes, or until the sides of the puffs are firm. Only check them after 15 minutes total baking time to keep them from falling.
- When done, remove and let cool on racks. Fill with pastry cream and refrigerate until serving time, no more than 4 hours.
To Make the Pastry Cream
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except for vanilla and whipping cream.
- Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Mixture will be extremely thick. Once it boils, continue to cook and whisk for another minute.
- Immediately pour mixture into a fine mesh strainer and push through into a bowl. Stir in vanilla.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold. To speed things up, you can also stir the pastry cream over an ice bath.
- Whip the cream to medium peaks. Stir in a portion of the pastry cream, and then whisk all the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.
- Fit a pastry bag with a star tip (the sharp points of a star tip will help to cut a hole in the bottom of the profiterole to fill it).
- Pipe each puff full of pumpkin pastry cream. Serve as is or dust with powdered sugar. You can also make a cream cheese drizzle if you want, but these puffs are pretty rich and yummy on their own. You won't even miss the glaze. Promise.
If you're feeling kicky, pipe the pate a choux into either full-sized or mini eclairs instead of profiteroles. An espresso and/or chocolate glaze would be perfect on pumpkin eclairs.
You can make the shells a day or two in advance. If you do, cool them completely and store them in a zipper bag at room temperature. Before filling, recrisp them in a 325F oven for ten minutes, cool and then fill.
If you’d prefer to lighten these up a little, reduce the amount of cornstarch to
2-3Tablespoons and lose the whipped cream.
What Others Are Saying...
Elizabeth @Mango_Queen says
Wow ! These little profiteroles look so puffy and delightful! I’ve been thinking of making some puffs for a long time. Glad you generously shared this recipe. Gracias, Jenni! You’re an awesome pastry chef!!!!
Thanks, Betty Ann! Please do make some–they are very yum and honestly pretty easy to make! 🙂
I’ve never made anything with pâte a choux before, but I made these today, and they turned out very well (although I only got about 20 shells out of the dough).
Some of my shells deflated though as they cooled – does that mean they weren’t done all the way, or were they not the right size?
First of all, congrats on no longer being a pate a choux virgin! You probably got fewer shells because you piped them a bit larger than I did. The shells I made for the profiteroles were smaller than the ones I demonstrated in the video. Also, if they deflated, that means that they weren’t all the way dried out on the sides. I say in the video to bake them at a high temperature and then lower the temperature to dry out the insides and firm up the sides. You can kind of make up for that after the fact by throwing them back in the oven for a few minutes at 350 to crisp up. They won’t gain any more volume, but they won’t be soggy, either. I hope you enjoy your first try, and I’d love to hear how your second attempt goes!
Choux is one of the baker’s best kept secrets when it comes to an elegant dessert. Everyone thinks they’re so hard and yet they’re one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. I’ve never tried the multiple temp step down as you have here – I only do a two step. I will have to give that a whack.
I see you have gone pumpkin crazy in your other posts – glad you’ve got it all out of your system LOL.
I agree, Libby! Choux is “easy-fancy!” I could probably get away w/a two-step temp for the oven, but I tend to be a bit of a micro-manager sometimes! 😆 Not sure if the pumpkin is all out of my system; the season isn’t over yet! 😉
I am really due for a batch of choux here soon and was cruising the web looking for maybe something a little different. What I did run across was a Cream Puffs filled with Vanilla Instant Pudding. I’ll bet they put Cool Whip on them too HA!
Oh, my! :/ 😉