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Last week it was my hubby-to-be ‘s birthday. We’re not exactly in the celebrating mood these days yet but when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he replied ‘fire logs’. That’s all he wanted. I didn’t complain, this was the easiest present ever to buy him and I was relieved at the task in hand. However, a birthday just isn’t a birthday without a special birthday dinner.

So I set myself the task of making his favourites… Potatoes, veg and meat! D always informs me that the majority of people eat potatoes, veg and meat for dinner. It’s a not so subtle hint. But it’s time to give in and give him what he has been asking for. Mashed potatoes, cabbage and bacon and duck. But his absolute favourite desert is a tie between Tiramisu and profiteroles.

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The last time I made these little balls of choux, cream and chocolate was when I was in boarding school. Aged 12, in home economics class. Not to give my age away but that was twenty something years ago. I loved making them then and I loved it again this time. Took me a few attempts to get the shape and size of the choux bun just right but I finally got there. And they were yummy, even the oddly duck shaped ones!

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PROFITEROLES

This recipe makes about 60 profiteroles. You don’t have to make them all, but it’s good to have a few test runs to figure out the size bun you want.

For the choux pastry:

  • 250 ml water
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs

To decorate:

  • 100 g dark chocolate (70% cacao)
  • 25 g butter
  • 250 ml cream, whipped
  • chopped roasted hazelnuts, optional

THE HOW

Before starting, measure out all your ingredients. Pre heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C and line two trays with non stick baking parchment.

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Place the butter and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

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Remove from the heat and tip all the flour in. Stir with a wooden spoon making sure no lumps form. When the dough comes away from the side of the saucepan and forms a ball, you’re ready for the next step. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

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Tip the dough into a bowl and add in 1 egg at a time, beating well in between each addition. when all the eggs are well mixed in the choux pastry is ready to pipe.

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Spoon into a piping bag and using a wide plain nosel, pipe onto the baking trays. Leaving a gap of 1.5 inches between each one.

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With the tip of your finger, dip it in water and them smooth out any tips formed on the top from piping.

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Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until puffed up and golden in colour. When you remove them from the oven, make a slit (I use a chop stick) in the side of each bun to let the steam out.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

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To finish and decorate, pipe the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a nosel that will fit into the slit you made in each bun. Pipe the cream into the buns.

Melt the chocolate and butter together. Dip the top of the filled buns in the chocolate and set down. Sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts if you are using them. Leave the buns to cool and the chocolate to set. Dust with icing sugar.

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