Preparation 40 minutes, plus chilling
Cooking 1 hour 15 minutes
Profiteroles by Kate Gibbs
125g (4½ oz) unsalted butter, chopped
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
½ teaspoon salt
150g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain flour, sifted
5 freerange eggs
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk
2 vanilla beans, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
8 freerange egg yolks
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
220g (7¾ oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
300ml (10½ fl oz) thin (pouring) cream
250g (9 oz) dark chocolate
(at least 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
50g (1¾ oz) butter, softened
For the chocolate sauce, heat the cream in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Add the chocolate, stirring gently until melted.
Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Reheat when needed.
For the crème pâtissière, combine the milk, vanilla beans and seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
Beat the egg yolks, flour and cornflour together using an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until pale and thick.
Reheat the milk to a simmer, remove the vanilla, then slowly add to the egg yolks, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring continuously, until thick. Scrape the vanilla crème into a bowl and cover the surface closely with baking paper before cooling completely.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease two baking trays. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt with 250ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water. Bring to the boil, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and leave to cool slightly. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on low speed, until the mixture is shiny and smooth.
Use a piping bag with a plain 1.5 cm nozzle to pipe high mounds, about 2.5cm wide, onto the prepared trays, leaving space between for spreading. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 190°C and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the profiteroles to cool in the oven.
Pipe crème pâtissière in through the base of the profiteroles. Arrange on a platter, then drizzle over hot chocolate sauce.
This makes 45 profiteroles. You can freeze half the batch of unfilled puffs in an airtight container for another time, and only make half the quantity of crème pâtissière.