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Profiteroles

An all-time favourite, these little choux buns filled with cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce are the perfect end to any special occasion meal or dinner party

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Ingredients (Makes about 18)
For the choux pastry
  • 50g/2oz butter, cut into small pieces
  • 150ml/1⁄2pt cold water
  • 60g/21⁄2oz strong plain flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs, beaten

For the profiteroles
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 225g/8oz good-quality plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 300ml/1⁄2pt double cream, whipped

To make the pastry, put the butter and water into a pan and heat until the butter melts. As soon as the mixture comes to the boil, remove from the heat and tip in the flour in one go with one hand, while beating the mixture vigorously with the other (you can do this with a wooden spoon or an electric hand-held whisk). Continue beating until you have a smooth ball of paste that has left the sides of the pan clean.

Leave to cool slightly then beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until you have a smooth glossy paste.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6.

Lightly butter a baking tray and sprinkle with water (this will create a steamy atmosphere which helps the pastry to rise). Place teaspoonfuls of the pastry on the baking tray and brush lightly with beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 220°C, 425°F, Gas 7 and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the buns are crisp and golden. Pierce the side of each to let out the steam, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate sauce. Melt the chocolate with the water in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring, until you have a smooth sauce.

Just before serving, split the profiteroles in half and fill with a teaspoon of whipped cream. (Do not fill them too far in advance as they will go soggy.) Press the halves back together and arrange in individual bowls or on a cake stand or serving platter. Drizzle over the chocolate sauce and serve with a chocolate twirl and extra cream if liked.

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