Birthdays would simply not be the same in our house without that old staple of profiteroles.

Profiteroles are a great way to cater for a large group, as they can be prepared in advance then filled and topped just before serving.


3 cups of water

100 grams of butter, unsalted

300 grams plain 00 flour

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of sugar or honey

1 vanilla bean, scraped

6 eggs

Double cream or Creme Patissiere to fill

Dark chocolate

Liqueur (Amaretto, Tia Maria, Mozart etc)

Pre-heat oven to 225°C

In a large saucepan combine water, butter, vanilla, sugar and salt and bring to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously until a smooth paste is formed.  Allow to cool slightly before adding the eggs one at a time (or you will get scrambled eggs), beating well with eat addition.

As the egg incorporates, the dough will form a thick glossy ball, coming away from the sides of the pan easily - this may take some time and a lot of elbow-grease, don't panic.

Allow to sit for few minutes before piping dessertspoonfuls of the pastry mix onto a lined baking sheet. 

Bake in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes or until puffed up, then reduce heat to 175°C and cook for a further 30 minutes. 

Pierce the base of each profiterole and return them to a cool oven, allowing to dry out well with no sticky centres.  Once cooked through and crisp, allow to cool on a wire rack.

When cool, fill profiteroles with whipped double cream or Creme Patissiere.  Melt dark chocolate, adding a teaspoon of butter to improve gloss and stir through liqueur, drizzling over profiteroles, serve with strawberries, raspberries or fresh cherries in kirsch.

Alternative:  Add the zest of an orange and a pinch of saffron to the water at the start of the cooking process.  Use Cointreau in the chocolate and serve with threads of orange zest or candied peel.