My memory is not great, but do I remember the first time I had profiteroles like it was 5 minutes ago and not 14 years ago. It’s a distinct memory and no surprise that the things I remember most revolve around great meals, the scent of a certain dish as it’s simmering away, a taste of subtle spice all bring me right back to a specific event however mundane or special in an instant. That’s exactly how it is for me and profiteroles.
The first time we stayed in Barcelona, we discovered a small restaurant right around the corner from the apartment. Being that it was a blustery and cold winter we quickly warmed to the fact that this place had exactly what we needed: 1) good food, 2) friendly waiter named Tony, 3) was just around the corner from where we were staying. It was perfect. We were regulars for those short weeks and knew what we liked at the place. My first memory of indulging in chocolate ice cream sandwiched between soft choux dough and topped with chocolate sauce was cemented forever. Each time we went to Tony’s place I looked forward to dessert because I knew it was going to be satisfying and a perfect way to end another memorable meal.
Remember how I said before that choux dough was really versatile? Well, here’s another reason to sing its praises. Make a batch of choux dough, pipe them out, freeze and then package by the dozen or two. Anytime you get a hankering for dessert, pull those suckers out of the fridge and bake ’em off. At this point you can fill them with pastry cream or whipped cream to make cream puffs or fill them with ice cream for profiteroles. Your choice. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Choux dough recipe here, just scroll to almost the end for the recipe.
Blood Orange-Mezcal Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz butter
juice of 1 blood orange
1 T mezcal
Place sugar in a saucepan and add just enough water to get a sandy consistency. Make sure there are no sugar crystals hanging out on the inside of the pot or the whole thing will crystallize. On medium high heat melt the sugar and let caramelize until sugar reaches a deep amber color, but not too dark. Add the cream and stir with a whisk until incorporated. If the caramel seizes up, continue to whisk on medium heat to melt the sugar and eventually it will smooth out. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter until melted. At this point, the caramel should be velvety smooth. Let cool and add blood orange juice and mezcal. Stir to incorporate.