Saturday, April 16, 2011

Profiteroles With Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients for the profiteroles:
1 cup milk
6 T unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon water
confectioners' sugar, for garnish

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Ingredients for the vanilla ice cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise
6 large egg yolks

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Ingredients for the chocolate sauce:
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips (1 1/3 cups)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparing the profiteroles:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a slow boil over medium heat and cook until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once, stirring with a heavy spoon. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir briskly until the mixture becomes a smooth paste and pulls away from the sides of the pan in a ball, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon, add 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each, and mix until smooth. Let the dough cool.

Beat the remaining egg with the water in a small bowl to make an egg wash.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a plain 3/4-inch tip and pipe out 16 ping-pong-ball-sized rounds onto the prepared sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Alternatively, spoon onto the baking sheet with a large spoon.

Lightly brush the egg wash on the tops and sides of the dough using a pastry brush and bake until doubled in size, 14 to 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake until the balls are golden brown, firm to the touch, and hollow inside, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 10 minutes for the puffs to dry.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut each profiterole in half and scoop out the doughy centers with a small spoon.

To serve, fill the bottom halves with a small scoop (about 1-ounce) of the ice cream and cover with the tops. Place 2 to 4 profiteroles on each dessert plate and sift the confectioners' sugar over the profiteroles and decoratively onto the plates. Drizzle each profiterole with warm chocolate sauce and serve immediately.

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Preparing the vanilla ice cream:
Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla seeds and bean in a medium heavy saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl until frothy and lemon colored, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. Gradually add the egg mixture to the hot cream, whisking constantly. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the surface of the mixture to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Makes 1 quart

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Prepare the chocolate sauce:
Scald the half-and-half and butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

Place the chocolate and vanilla in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the hot half-and-half and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Serve slightly warm. (The sauce can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; rewarm gently before serving.)

Makes 1 1/2 cups


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