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Chocolate sauce drizzled over choux bun filled with whipped cream.

How to make Chocolate Sauce for Profiteroles

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Learn how to make chocolate profiteroles, a classic dessert composed of choux pastry filled with cream and topped with warm chocolate sauce. The traditional filling might differ from one country to the next but one thing stays constant: profiteroles are universally loved!

drizzling chocolate sauce over choux filled with ice cream
Profiteroles with chocolate sauce

What Are Profiteroles?

Profiteroles are made up of three components:

Profiteroles are a customizable dessert in that you can easily select the components so that they are perfectly in line with your preferences. I love using ice cream when filling the choux to contrast with the warm chocolate sauce. But if I have a little more time to spare, I’ll make a delicious crème légère composed of pastry cream and whipped cream.

As for the chocolate sauce, it can be fluid like syrup or thick enough to coat the choux when poured.

Profiterole tower drizzled with chocolate sauce.
Profiteroles filled with crème légère

Choux Pastry

The best thing about making choux pastry is that it can easily be prepared in advance. I’d recommend storing it raw and then baking it the day you plan on serving it so it’s extra crispy and fresh.

I like to pipe the choux pastry into small dome shaped silicone molds and freeze until needed (for up to a month). You can also prepare the dough the day before, transfer it to a piping bag and chill until needed.

For choux that rise evenly in the oven without cracks, you can top the pastry with craquelin. This cookie-like topping adds texture and sweetness to the choux and is really easy to prepare.

We previously talked in depth about how to make choux pastry and how to make craquelin topping. I’ll briefly go over it now but be sure to check out the detailed tutorials if you need more tips.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Heat the water, butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter melts completely.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and continue heating until the first bubbles appear.
  • Off the heat, add the sifted flour in one go and mix with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
  • Place over medium heat and keep stirring the dough until it no longer sticks to the saucepan. You’ll also notice a film forming on the bottom of the saucepan (except if you are using a non-stick saucepan).
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl and spread the dough against the edges of the bowl to create a thin layer. Set aside for a few minutes to cool down.
  • Gradually add the eggs, waiting for them to be fully incorporated before adding more. Don’t worry if the dough splits and looks curdled. It will come together with more mixing.
  • Stop adding egg as soon as the dough looks smooth and shiny and falls from the spoon in a thick ribbon. You might not need to add all of the egg. If you add more than needed, the dough will be too runny and the choux buns won’t rise properly during baking.
  • Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Get rid of air bubbles and pipe 3 cm (1.2 inch) choux mounds, spacing them about 4 cm (1.6 inches) apart.
  • Top with frozen craquelin disks (if using). Alternatively, press down the peaks with a slightly damp finger (or a little bit of egg) and dust generously with powdered sugar.
  • Bake until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely at room temperature.

Filling

Once the choux buns have cooled down, you can fill them with whatever pastry cream you like. It’s best to fill the choux shortly before serving them so they don’t get soggy.

To fill the choux:

  1. Using a small dented piping tip, make a small hole on the bottom of the choux. You can use a sharp knife instead to cut the hole.
  2. Insert the piping bag filled with cream into the hole and apply pressure just until the choux bun is full. The choux bun will feel heavier and some of the cream will start to come out.
  3. Wipe away excess cream using the back of a knife or a clean finger. Chill until needed.

If you want the filling to show as I’ve done in the featured image, simply slice the choux in two and pipe the filling in swirls.

Time to make a delicious, rich chocolate sauce to drizzle over the profiteroles.

Chocolate Sauce

If you made the chocolate ganache tart, then you already know how to make the chocolate sauce. It is simply a liquid ganache made by combining melted chocolate and hot heavy cream. All you have to do, if you want a thinner ganache, is to add more heavy cream (or milk). When the ganache is warm, it is still quite fluid. And you can quickly reheat it in the microwave if it firms up.

Let’s talk about the ingredients a bit more so you know how they will affect the recipe.

Chocolate

You can use any chocolate you like. Since it is the predominant flavor in the sauce, you should pick one that you really enjoy eating on its own. I like using dark chocolate with 65% cocoa for a deep chocolate flavor.

Just keep in mind that the darker the chocolate, the thicker the sauce will be. So if you decide to use chocolate with a lower cocoa percentage than stated in the recipe, you’ll need less heavy cream to achieve the same consistency.

choux drizzled with chocolate sauce
Profiteroles with sweetened whipped cream

Heavy cream/milk

Ganache is traditionally made by simply combining melted chocolate and hot heavy cream. I like to add a little bit of milk for a ganache that stays pourable even once chilled.

You can easily adjust the amount of liquid to get to what you deem to be the perfect chocolate sauce consistency. If you plan on using the ganache warm, simply add the hot liquids to the melted chocolate gradually until the sauce is as thin as you like it.

Additional ingredients

We’ll be adding a pinch of salt to enhance all the flavors. I also like to add a little bit of sugar just to balance out the bitterness of the dark chocolate. You can add as much or as little as you like. Just keep in mind that the filled choux buns are sweet so it’s best if the sauce isn’t overly sweet. If you’d rather use a sweeter chocolate with a milder chocolate flavor, you can skip the sugar.

I kept the recipe quite simple as I find it delicious as it is. But you can tweak it as you see fit depending on the desired result. Some recipes will call for additional ingredients such as butter for more richness and a little bit of shine. Corn syrup will also make your sauce shinier.

You can also add flavorings to the sauce such as spices (ginger, cinnamon), extracts (such as vanilla extract) and even mashed fruits such as coconut or mangoes. Chef Christophe Michalak blends into the cooked sauce a very ripe banana.

For a little bit of caramel flavor, you can simply caramelize the sugar first and then add the hot milk/cream. Then proceed as usual and pour everything onto the melted chocolate.

I’ll remind you briefly how to make a chocolate ganache with some step-by-step pictures and then it’s straight to the recipe!

Step-by-step instructions

  • Place the chocolate in a small (microwavable) bowl. Heat in the microwave in short increments stirring in-between until the chocolate has fully melted.
  • Heat together the heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt until simmering.
  • Pour the hot liquids over the melted chocolate in 4-5 additions, stirring until fully combined.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a measuring cup. Use warm if desired. Alternatively, cool down at room temperature then cover and chill until needed.
stack of profiteroles in white plate

This post was originally published in January 2021. I updated it with new pictures and more information.

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How to make Profiteroles

How to make Profiteroles

Recipe by Tanya
5 from 1 vote

Warm chocolate sauce, drizzled over choux pastry filled with cream is a definite crowd-pleaser. The filling in this recipe is a crème légère composed of pastry cream that has been lightened with whipped cream. For a quicker version, you can replace it with Chantilly cream or vanilla ice cream.

Course: DessertCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy
Yield

28

choux
Prep time

1

hour 
Cooking time

40

minutes
Chill time

1

hour 

Ingredients

  • For the craquelin (optional)
  • 50 g all-purpose flour (1.8 oz., 1/3 cup and 1 Tablespoon)

  • 50 g sugar (1.8 oz., 1/4 cup)

  • pinch of salt

  • 40 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened at room temperature (1.4 oz., 3 Tablespoons)

  • For the choux pastry
  • 125 g water (4.4 oz., 1/2 cup and 1/2 Tablespoon)

  • 50 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (1.8 oz., 3 and 1/2 Tablespoons)

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (4 g/0.14 oz.)

  • 1/3 teaspoon salt (2 g/0.07 oz.)

  • 75 g all purpose flour, sifted (2.6 oz., 1/2 cup and 5 teaspoons)

  • 100 g to 125 g eggs, slightly beaten with a fork, at room temperature (3.5-4.4 oz., from 2-3 eggs)

  • For the filling (optional)
  • 150 g whole milk (5.3 oz., 1/2 cup and 2 Tablespoons)

  • 50 g heavy cream (1.8 oz., 3 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon)

  • 50 g white granulated sugar (1.8 oz., 1/4 cup), divided

  • 2 large egg yolks (about 34 g/1.2 oz.), at room temperature

  • 16 g cornstarch (0.56 oz., about 2 Tablespoons)

  • 30 g unsalted butter, diced and cold (1.1 oz., 2 Tablespoons)

  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 100 g heavy cream (35% fat), cold (3.5 oz., 1/3 cup and 1 Tablespoon), for the whipped cream

  • For the chocolate sauce
  • 100 g dark chocolate (65% cocoa), coarsely chopped (3.5 oz.)

  • 100 g heavy cream (3.5 oz., 1/3 cup and 1 Tablespoon)

  • 30 g whole milk (1.1 oz., 2 Tablespoons), optional (see notes)

  • 25 g white granulated sugar (0.9 oz., 2 Tablespoons)

  • pinch of salt

Directions

  • Making the craquelin (optional)
  • Briefly mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl (with a fork or spoon). Add the softened butter and using your fingertips, mix just until a homogeneous dough forms.
  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of about 2 mm (1/16 inch). If the dough isn’t too soft, cut 3.5 cm/1.4 inch circles (or desired size) with a cookie cutter, keeping them as close to each other as possible. If the dough is too warm to work with, chill it briefly then try cutting circles again.
  • Cover the dough (without releasing the circles). The shapes will be much easier to remove when the dough has been properly chilled. Freeze for 15 minutes (on a flat surface) while you prepare the the choux pastry.
  • Making the choux pastry
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (338°F), convection setting (or 190°C/374°F conventional setting). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then set aside.
  • Heat the water, butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When the butter has melted completely, increase the heat to medium-high and continue heating until the first bubbles appear.
  • Making the panade: Remove from the heat and add the sifted flour all at once. Stir to combine fully. Once there are no longer traces of flour, return the dough to medium heat.
  • Keep stirring the dough for about 2-3 minutes or until it no longer sticks to the saucepan. A film will form at the bottom of the saucepan (this won’t be visible in non-stick saucepans).
  • Cooling the panade: Transfer the dough to a large bowl and spread it against the edges of the bowl with a wooden spoon to create a thin layer. Set aside for a few minutes to cool down before adding the eggs. Alternatively, mix with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until there is no more steam coming out of the dough (or with a paddle attachment if using a stand-mixer).
  • Add about a third of the egg and mix until fully incorporated. The dough will initially look curdled but will come together with mixing. Add the remaining egg little by little until the dough looks smooth and glossy. If you hold the paddle or spoon up, the dough should hold onto it for a few seconds before falling back into the bowl in a thick ribbon. If it doesn’t fall, it’s too dry. Keep adding more egg. Note: You might not need to add all of the egg.
  • Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large open tip then get rid of air bubbles. Pipe choux mounds (about 3 cm/1.2 inch each) in staggered rows, spacing them about 4 cm (1.6 inches) apart. Top with frozen craquelin disks (if using). Alternatively, press down the peaks with a slightly damp finger (or a little bit of egg) and dust generously with powdered sugar.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes or until they look puffy and set. Change the convection to a conventional setting (or reduce the temperature to 170°C/338°F in a conventional oven) and keep baking for about 15 more minutes until completely golden. There should be no white traces remaining in the pastry. If desired, cut a pastry in half to check the inside (careful, it’s very hot!). It should be dry or very slightly moist.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely at room temperature.
  • Making the filling (optional)
  • Pour the milk, heavy cream and about half the sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until just simmering. Tip: The sugar will form a layer at the bottom of the saucepan and prevent the milk from sticking to it. Don’t stir the sugar to dissolve it.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in a heatproof bowl until combined. Tip: Whisk as soon as you add the sugar to the egg yolks so the mixture doesn’t get lumpy.
  • Add the cornstarch and whisk to combine.
  • Tempering the eggs: Gradually pour the hot liquid (milk/heavy cream) into the egg mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. We want to slowly raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking them.
  • Cooking the pastry cream: Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the pastry cream thickens and starts to boil. Lower the heat if needed. Once thickened, stop whisking occasionally to check if bubbles are forming. Let it boil for about 1 minute then remove from the heat. Tip: Don’t remove the cream from the heat as soon as it thickens. Let it boil to get rid of any starchy taste and inactivate an enzyme present in egg yolks that could make your pastry cream runny.
  • Whisk in the cold butter and vanilla extract.
  • Transfer to a wide container to obtain a thin layer. This will ensure the cream cools down quickly. Optional: If you notice lumps in the pastry cream, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper or cling film straight onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Let it briefly cool down at room temperature (about 15 minutes) then chill for about 1 hour or until cool. Tip: Don’t skip the chilling step. If whipped cream is added to hot pastry cream, it will deflate and the filling won’t be firm enough.
  • Transfer the cold pastry cream to a large mixing bowl. Don’t worry if it looks a bit thick and rubbery, it’s normal.
  • Mix with a whisk or a hand mixer to loosen it and make it smooth. Return to the fridge while you prepare the whipped cream.
  • In a cold bowl, start mixing the cold heavy cream on low speed then gradually increase the speed until medium-stiff peaks form. When you hold the whisk/hand mixer up, the cream should form a peak that holds its shape. Tip: If you don’t whip the cream enough, you might end up with a runny filling. But if you whip it too much, you might have trouble incorporating it into the pastry cream and it might become grainy.
  • Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and whisk in about 1/3 of the whipped cream. You don’t need to be extra gentle at this step. You are just trying to lighten the pastry cream a little more.
  • Gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the pastry cream in two more additions, being careful not to deflate the cream. Stop as soon as you no longer see streaks of cream. Tip: Use a spoon (or a spatula) and gently move it from the middle of the bowl towards the bottom and then up the sides. Rotate the bowl and do the same just until the cream is combined.
  • Filling the choux: Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Using a dented piping tip, make a small hole on the bottom of the (cooled down) choux. Insert the piping bag filled with cream into the hole and apply pressure just until the choux bun is full. The choux bun will feel heavier and some of the cream will start to come out. Wipe away excess cream using the back of a knife or a clean finger. Chill until needed. Note: If you want the filling to show as I’ve done in the featured image, simply slice the choux in two. Pipe (or spoon) the filling then place the top part of the choux back on.
  • Making the chocolate sauce
  • Place the chopped chocolate in a small microwavable bowl. Heat in the microwave in short increments (10-20 seconds), stirring in-between until the chocolate has fully melted.
  • Heat the cream, milk (if using), sugar and salt until just simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. (I just use the microwave to do this).
  • Pour the hot liquids over the melted chocolate in 4-5 additions, stirring until fully combined.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a measuring cup. Drizzle warm over the filled choux buns if desired. Alternatively, cool down at room temperature then cover and chill until needed.

Notes

  • Yield: The filling is enough to fill about 28 small choux (3 cm/1.2 inch before baking) or about 15 larger choux (4 cm/1.6 inch before baking). If you’d like to use vanilla ice cream instead, you will need about 350 g (12.3 oz.).
  • Choux pastry make-ahead tips: Unbaked choux pastry can be piped into dome-shaped silicone molds and frozen up to 1 month. If you don’t have molds, you can also pipe shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour or until the piped pastry is frozen. Transfer the choux pastry to a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to a month. To bake, simply thaw at room temperature while preheating the oven. Baked choux pastry can be frozen as well. Once it has baked and cooled down, place the choux pastry in a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to a month. To make them crispy again, place in a hot oven for a few minutes. Craquelin: You can prepare the craquelin several weeks in advance and keep it in the freezer until needed. To do so: 1) Prepare the dough. 2) Roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper. 3) Cut circles (if desired) then wrap in parchment paper. 4) Place in a zip-lock bag (on a flat surface) and freeze until needed.
  • The amount of egg added to the choux pastry might vary from time to time. It will depend on several things such as: how much water evaporated when melting the butter, how much you dried the panade, the type of flour used etc. If you add more than needed, the dough will be too runny and the choux buns won’t rise properly during baking.
  • Baking the choux: If you don’t manage to pipe all the choux on one baking sheet, it’s best to keep the leftover pastry in the fridge (in the piping bag if desired) until you finish baking the first batch. I wouldn’t recommend placing two baking sheets in the oven at the same time.
  • Crème légère: It should ideally be used the day it is made. You can prepare the pastry cream in advance and chill it, well covered, for up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve (or eat!) your dessert, whip the cold heavy cream and fold it into the pastry cream. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a day.
  • Heavy cream: The cream used for whipping (for the filling) should ideally be 35% fat. Don’t use cream with a fat content less than 30% or it won’t whip. The cream should also be very cold during whipping.
  • Filling the choux: It’s best to fill the choux shortly before serving so they don’t get soggy.
  • Chocolate: You can use any chocolate you like. Since it is the predominant flavor in the sauce, you should pick one that you really enjoy eating on its own. I like using dark chocolate with 65% cocoa for a deep chocolate flavor. If you decide to use a sweeter chocolate with a lower cocoa percentage than stated in the recipe, the chocolate sauce will be runnier (and sweeter). You can use less cream/milk and skip the sugar.
  • Consistency of the chocolate sauce: This sauce is runny when warm. It firms up slightly in the fridge but remains pourable even once chilled. Just give it a quick stir with a spoon and use it without reheating it (unless you like it hot!). You can easily adjust the amount of liquid to get to what you deem to be the perfect chocolate sauce consistency. If you plan on using the ganache warm, simply add the hot liquids to the melted chocolate gradually until the sauce is as thin as you like it. Alternatively, omit the (hot) milk and add it slowly at the end only if desired.
  • Cup measurements: Please note that these measurements are approximate. For best results, I’d recommend weighing the ingredients (especially the cornstarch).
  • Wondering what to do with leftover egg whites? You might like to make French meringue cookies.
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