Profiteroles and Ice cream
"Only cook and eat food with people you like - life's too short for bad food and bad company."-Rocco Dispirito
I love a good dinner party. And I especially love throwing dinner parties--in fact, I think I would like to be remembered for them. I'm a total introvert so it's no surprise that I would shy away from large gatherings, but small, intimate ones? Totally my jam. It combines two of my favorite things--hanging out in the comfort of my own home, and treating my friends to delicious food and drink--plus, I think it's the best way to get to know people, in a relaxed and warm setting. I rather enjoy gathering ingredients, putting together a themed meal, arranging my space, setting up a playlist, and, yes, even the clean up.
This past weekend we had a few of our friends over for a meal. It was probably one of our most successful parties. We were much smarter this time than before. We cleaned a good bit the night before so that we could focus on cooking on the day of the dinner. We also started cooking earlier and took turns making our dishes, helping each other only when one of us needed it.
Joe has tried time and again to teach me to chop vegetables more quickly, like a chef, but I just don't have it in me. I chop the way my mother and grandmother do--slowly and precisely. And I love doing it that way. I'm fairly calm and methodic in the kitchen while Joe tends to whip around like a tornado, handling several dishes at once and emptying out the cupboards. We've realized what works for us is to let each of us have the space to cook and only step in when the other needs it. And it worked! Between the two of us, we made nine Chinese dishes. Nine!
Of course, there were enough leftovers to send everyone home with tupperware (party favors!), as well as feed us for the next two days. We probably should learn to make less food, but it's a very Asian thing to make sure our guests never see the bottom of the plate, and we did just that.
This is the strange part: I really enjoyed cleaning up after. Joe wanted to put it off, but I stayed in the kitchen and washed all the large pots and pans, loaded the dishwasher, and wiped down the kitchen. It was a nice, calm end to a great night.
For dessert, I made these black sesame profiteroles stuffed with ice cream. I thought about making a custard filling (I was originally going to make custard puffs), but then I remembered that we have so much ice cream in the house. Joe almost lost a toe once when he opened the freezer too fast and a bunch of pints came tumbling out. I definitely have a problem. Not only do I like to make ice creams, but I also buy any new flavor of Talenti Gelato when it's on sale, because it is the best. Buuut then I remember I'm lactose-intolerant the hard way, so I usually eat a few bites and then force the rest on Joe (like he really needs to be forced).
Aaaanyway, I gave each person a profiterole stuffed with my vanilla bean ice cream and a surprise raspberry in the middle. And then I kept out a plate of empty profiteroles with all the pints of ice cream we have and let everyone put together their own concoctions.
We had eaten a ton of food but that didn't stop my friends from devouring them.
The puffs are simple, with some nuttiness provided by the toasted black sesame seeds. However, I didn't feel like the black sesame added very much to the overall taste. They look pretty but that's about it. Feel free to omit them if you like, and the recipe will still work without it. They would pair with pretty much any ice cream, but I personally loved it with my jasmine white chocolate chip flavor.
It's a great and easy dessert for a dinner party, especially since you can freeze the dough beforehand, or even freeze the finished profiterole for days before thawing and filling them. I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Lady and Pups, who is hilarious and awesome. Her original recipe includes peanut butter, if you want to try that variation.
*This will be my last post before India! I will miss you all but I'll be posting photos on Instagram and Facebook, for sure. I'll be going straight to Vegas from India, followed by Joe's graduation (in which both our families will meet for the first time in St Louis, eeek) so it will probably be a while before I can get back to blogging. But I'll do my best to keep writing as I go along on my journeys to share with you later :) xoxo
*The recipe is originally adapted from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery cookbook, which is why measurements are in grams. This ensures the best results and also makes it easy to halve or quarter the recipe if need be. Treat yo self to a kitchen scale!
(Black Sesame) Profiteroles
Adapted from here
Makes about 15 large ones
35g black sesame seeds
138g all-purpose flour
250-275g eggs (about 5-6 eggs)
340g pastry cream or ice cream for filling
handful of raspberries
To toast/grind the black sesame seeds: Place black sesame in a fine sieve and rinse under water until clean. Place the sieve on a clean towel to soak up some excess water, then move the black sesame into a flat skillet (anything BUT non-stick). Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and stir the black sesame with a wooden spoon. Toast them until all the moisture has evaporated and that the black sesames are not sticking to each other (you’ll hear some “splitting” sounds coming out of them). Turn the heat DOWN TO LOW. Keep toasting them while stirring for a few more minutes (be careful not to burn them with high heat, or you’ll have to start over again), until when you squeeze the black sesames in between your finger tips (let it cool down for a few seconds first), they should crush very easily and smell extremely nutty and pronounced. Once done, immediately remove them from the hot pan.
Grind the black sesame into coarse powder with a spice-grinder or stone mortar. Set aside.
Have a stand-mixer with a paddle attachment standing by on the counter.
Beat the eggs in a cup and set aside.
Combine water, unsalted butter, sugar and salt in sauce pot and set it over medium-low heat.
Once you have gently melted the butter, turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture into a simmer.
Move the pot AWAY from the heat and add the flour all at once.
Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until an evenly mixed, smooth paste/dough forms.
Return the pot back to the heat.
Keep stirring/cooking the dough to extract some of its excess moisture (to make way for the fat in the eggs that’s going to be beat in later), until a thin film of dough starts sticking to the bottom of the pot and the dough smells nutty like cooked flour.
Transfer the dough immediately to the mixer-bowl, and start mixing on low-speed for 30 seconds to release the steam and heat. Then increase the speed to medium and add 2 heaping tbsp of the ground black sesame, and slowly adding the eggs approx 3 tbsp at a time, only adding the next when the previous addition has been completely incorporated (stop and scrape the bottom if needed).
Reserve the last 2 tbsp of eggs. The dough should be sticky and smooth, and falls down EVER-SO-SLOWLY when the paddle is lifted.
If it feels dry, or falls down the paddle in a big clump, then add a little more eggs.
Beat for another 15 seconds to make sure the mixture is evenly mixed.
(If you do have leftover eggs, scramble them!)
Transfer the dough into piping bags, with opening that’s about 1/2″, or 1.5 cm wide.
Refrigerate the dough in the piping bag for about 30 minutes or until the bag isn't warm to the touch.
Preheat the oven on 450ºF/230ºC.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the tip of the piping bag low-and-close, and PERPENDICULAR to the parchment paper and start squeezing the dough out WITHOUT MOVING your hands.
You want the dough to be short and stubby, NOT TALL (or it’ll puff itself into oblivion). Keep about 1″ of space in between the puffs until you fill the baking sheet.
Dip your finger in a bit of water and press the tips of the puffs down to prevent burning, then dab/stick a pinch of ground black sesame on top of each puffs.
Bake them in the oven for 10 min, THEN LOWER THE HEAT DOWN TO 350ºF/175ºC, and bake for another 15 min.
Break one open and check the center, which should be hollow, not gooey or eggy. If it’s still moist inside, return to the oven and bake for another 5 min.
Let the puffs cool down on the sheet pan completely. You can stuff them with ice-cream or basic pastry cream and hide a raspberry in the center.
Serve immediately after filling or they'll get soggy!
NOTE: You can also freeze ready-baked profiteroles/cream puffs by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap and freeze up to 2 weeks. Bake in a 325ºF/165ºC oven for 5 min or more, depending on size.SOME THOUGHTS:
Speaking of profiteroles and cream puffs, my cousin sent me this gorgeous video of them being baked, with a gorgeous pink glaze on top.
This is a pretty cheesy but cute app for long-distance couples!
This photo amuses me.
I love taking mini trivia quizzes on random topics so of course I love this free app.
My cousin is writing a book and it'll be out end of April--I also love her blog in which she and her husband create meals inspired by novels.