Ready, Steady, Bake: Patisserie
Have you ever been on holiday in France? As you wonder down the quaint streets, with the beautiful unique chateaus, you might catch the waft of a tempting aroma coming from one of the shops. You get a little closer and are greeted with an absolutely glorious display of baked goods! Ranging from the classic croissant to the intricate opera cake, you are sure to find something tasty to enjoy.
A delicate treat you are certain to see is a choux creation – whether that be in the form of eclairs, profiteroles or the very impressive croquembouche, this pastry is a firm favourite in France. This should come as no surprise, as choux was invented by Pantanelli in the country in 1540. Interestingly, Pantanelli was actually from Italy but created it after he moved to France with Catherine de’ Medici and her court.
A healthy twist
This week’s recipe is a real crowd pleaser – profiteroles. This version can give you the indulgence without the guilt with low fat spread instead of butter and low fat custard as the base of the filling instead of double cream. If you are desperate for the latter, you could always supplement it with low fat squirty cream – make sure you serve it as quickly as possible though; the spray cream does have a tendency to melt and deflate quickly.
Low calorie chocolate profiteroles*
Makes: approx. 15. Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes (plus cooling)
- 75g reduced-fat spread
- 175ml cold water
- 125g plain flour, sifted
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2tsp cornflour
- 300g low-fat vanilla custard
- 60g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- Handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Put the spread and water into a pan and bring it to the boil. Let it properly bubble for about 10 seconds and then shoot the plain flour in – all in one go. Stir this vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds, until the mixture comes cleanly away from the sides. Allow to cool slightly for 10 minutes, then beat in the eggs, a little at a time.
- With a tablespoon, spoon out 15 drops of the mixture on to the trays, then bake for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. After you take them out, work quickly to pierce a small hole in the side of each profiterole with a skewer. Put them back in the oven, turn off the heat and leave the door slightly open, allowing the profiteroles to dry out for 45 minutes.
- Mix the cornflour with 1tbsp water and stir into the custard. Heat in a pan, stirring until very thick, then pop on the lid and cool completely. Once cool, transfer it into a piping bag and squeeze into each profiterole (through the hole you made earlier) – fill each to your own preference. If you are using squirty cream, then just put the nozzle inside and fill.
- Melt the chocolate slowly in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Spoon over each profiterole, and then top with a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts. Serve immediately if using spray cream, or if you’re using the custard mix then these can be stored in the fridge (once chocolate has set) in an airtight container for a day or two.
*Please note, the image used here is from stock photography. For a link to the original recipe and their picture, please click here.