The inspiration for this utterly fabulous dessert came from a friend – let’s call her Polly – who, while pregnant, ate an entire box of frozen mini-eclairs, without waiting for them to thaw out first.
You can get away with that sort of thing when you’re expecting, but people are generally less understanding if you try to do it under non-pregnant circumstance, which let’s face it, is most of the time. Fortunately, these ice-cream puffs are on-hand when you need some frozen creamy choux pastry action.
I first made them last summer, when Kipper and I went to visit ‘Polly’, now no longer pregnant and having recently moved to London. We wanted to take something lovely with us as a treat, so knocked up a batch of choux pastry buns which we could pack into a tupperware and take on the train. Upon arrival at Polly’s flat, we unpacked the proto-profiteroles and Polly nipped downstairs to a local deli which had a highly convenient gelato counter. Mere moments later she was back, bearing two large tubs of delicious, creamy, chocolate and vanilla gelato. It was simple work to spoon it into the choux buns and devour them, standing at the kitchen counter.
We did let Kipper and Polly’s daughter have a couple of ice-cream puffs too. Mmmm.
Subsequently, I made another batch of these delectable ice-cream puffs for visitors, and even went to the trouble of drizzling melted chocolate over the filled profiteroles before serving. I’m not sure it was worth it – a simple mouthful of creamy vanilla ice-cream surrounded by crisp, light choux pastry is sufficient indulgence without any chocolate adornment. That’s my opinion, anyway. You are, as always, free to go wild with the chocolate if that’s what floats your boat.
Finally, a quick note about choux pastry. People often seem to think it’s some kind of super-scary highly technical kitchen wizardry too complex and difficult for mere mortals to attempt. To this I say, “rubbish” (if I’m feeling polite). Just follow the instructions, and you will be rewarded with lovely choux puffs, all ready to fill with ice-cream. (You can also fill them with whipped cream, chocolate mousse, and all sorts of other things. That’s for another post.)
This made 20 small ice-cream puffs. You can make fewer larger ones if you prefer.
- 75g plain flour
- 150ml water
- 60g butter
- 2 eggs
- 400g ice-cream (or thereabouts), to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease and flour a baking sheet.
- Sift the flour onto a sheet of paper and set aside.
- Heat the water and butter together in a saucepan until the butter is melted and the mixture is just boiling. Remove from the heat, tip in the flour in one go (whoosh!) and beat together vigorously until all the flour is absorbed.
- Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture no longer sticks to the sides of the pan, but forms a soft ball of dough.
- Allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. The dough should take on a glossy, satin-like appearance.
- Pipe or dollop teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets and bake at 200C for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 170C and bake for a further 20 minutes, until golden and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and immediately slit open each bun with a sharp knife, before leaving on a wire rack to cool - this allows the steam to escape and prevents the insides of the choux buns going soggy.
- Once cool, spoon a dollop of ice-cream into each choux bun, and pile onto a serving plate. Store in the freezer if not required straightaway - you can then serve them straight from the freezer.
- You can drizzle melted chocolate over these if you're feeling extra-indulgent 🙂