Monday, June 29, 2009

100-Mile Desserts: Profiteroles with Fruit Whipped Cream


We heard from our favourite local organic strawberry farmer that this season has not been so good for strawberries. With the late frost during the first week of June, and the extremely hot weather that followed, the berries are now all but over. Luckily, we did manage to put several quarts into our freezer for winter use, but for now we are just trying to enjoy the last of the fresh berries in as many ways as possible. The 100-Mile Dessert recipe for today was profiteroles (cream puffs), filled with a honey-sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries. The recipe comes from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, slightly modified to meet our 100-mile criteria. They are an impressive, yet not difficult dessert to make and can be filled with a variety of sauces, creams or fruit. Here's how to make them:

Profiteroles with Fruit Whipped Cream

1 cup water
5 Tbsp organic butter
1 cup unbleached organic flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup
4 large eggs

1) Preheat oven to 400F. The key to successful puffs is to have the high heat that quickly expands the egg-rich dough.
2) In a sauce pan bring water, butter and maple syrup to a boil.
3) Then add the flour and salt, stirring constantly to get a nice smooth dough.
4) Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
5) Beat in one egg at a time, stirring well to bring the sticky clumpy dough back into a smooth consistency. It can also be blended in a food processor for a few seconds to make a smooth dough.
6) Lightly oil baking sheet. Drop mounds of dough 2 inches apart on the sheet. Use about 1/4 cup dough for large profiteroles, or 2 1/2 Tbsp for small ones.
7) Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, then reduce heat and bake at 350F for another 15 minutes.
8) Restrain yourself from opening the oven until the profiteroles are done - otherwise, you risk the puffs not rising properly!
9) When the puffs are firm, let them cool and then score a horizontal cut about 1/3 of the way through the middle of the puff.
10) Fill with favourite cream or sauce and replace the top - we used 500 ml organic whipping cream blended with 2 Tbsp honey, and then mixed in 2 cups fresh strawberry slices.

Makes about 12 large profiteroles or 20 small ones.

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