‘Some people will never learn to choose, but, like the child at the birthday party asked what it would like to have, say, “A little of everything, please.” That way madness lies.’ (from Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll; first published in 1922)
Choosing between desserts to include in a menu may be simply a question of which of them one is in the mood to make. Other times, to choose means looking at their relative suitabilities in terms of the rest of the meal.
A traditional dessert ‘liégeois’ combines ice cream, espresso coffee, and (often) chocolate in a tall glass. A dessert of profiteroles liégeoises combines the same flavours in small puff pastry shells. It is an extravagantly rich dessert, good to serve when guests will not be too full from what came before to enjoy eating every last bite of it.
Profiteroles liégeoises (for 6 people)
Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.
Note about timing: The desserts are put together right before serving them. The dark chocolate sauce and homemade ice cream may be made days in advance. The profiterole puff pastry shells are best if made on the day the dessert is served.
- about 1 quart of Coffee Ice Cream: For convenient reference, the diplomatickitchen’s recipe for Homemade Coffee Ice Cream is repeated below in Part II. Click here for the illustrated guide to the recipe.
- Dark Chocolate Sauce: The diplomatickitchen’s recipe for Dark Chocolate Sauce is repeated below in Part III.
- 6 Tablespoons of Butter, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup of Water
- 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
- 3/4 cup of Flour
- 3 large Eggs
- 6 small branches of Fresh Mint are an optional decoration for each dessert plate
- a rimmed Baking Sheet lined with Parchment or Waxed Paper on which to place scoops of ice cream to store in the freezer several hours before serving the profiteroles. Preparing a tray of ice cream scoops in advance makes assembling the dessert quicker and easier.
- a heavy-bottomed Pot or Saucepan for making the puff pastry shells
- a Wooden Spoon
- 2 Baking Sheets that will fit side-by-side in the oven lined with Parchment Paper
- a small Ice Cream Scoop is useful for forming balls of puff paste and arranging them on the baking sheets
- a Skewer
- Cooling Racks
1. For 6 desserts, place 18 small scoops of ice cream on a baking pan lined with parchment or waxed paper and set the pan in the freezer. By forming the ice cream into balls several hours in advance, putting the desserts together is quicker and the ice cream is not liable to melt before it is served:
3. Add the flour all at once and cook, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pot and forms a ball. (If you are unfamiliar with the steps for making puff paste, there are illustrations for making it here in this previous diplomatickitchen post recipe for Gougère.)
4. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until an egg is completely combined with the mixture before adding the next one.
5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. With a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, arrange 9 balls of puff pastry mixture on each sheet, leaving about 1-inch of space between them.
6. Bake the profiteroles on the middle rack of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until they are golden. Prick each shell once with a skewer and return them to the oven to dry, leaving the oven door ajar, for 3 minutes.
7. Cool the profiteroles, still on the sheets, on cooling racks. Halve them horizontally.
8. Just before serving, heat the chocolate sauce. Drizzle some sauce over the bottom of each dessert plate.
9. Place 3 profiteroles on each dessert plate. Put a scoop of coffee ice cream in the bottom half of each shell and cap it with the top half.
II. Homemade Coffee Ice Cream Redux (for 2 quarts): Step photos are here in this previous diplomatickitchen post.
- 3/4 cup whole Dark Roast Coffee Beans, coarsely cracked (regular or decaffeinated): The beans may be coarsely cracked by placing them in a coffee grinder and quickly turning the machine on and off several times. Alternatively, the beans may be placed in a plastic bag and crushed with a mallet or hammer.
- 1 and 1/2 cups of Milk
- 1 cup of granulated White Sugar
- 2 and 1/2 cups of Heavy Cream
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground Dark Roast Coffee (regular or decaffeinated)
- a dash of Salt
- a Coffee Grinder is useful for cracking the beans, but alternatively the beans may crushed in a plastic bag with a mallet or hammer.
- a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed Saucepan
- a Strainer lined with 1 or 2 thicknesses of Cheesecloth
- a large Bowl
- an Ice Cream Maker
1. Put the milk, the sugar and the cracked coffee beans in the saucepan and heat them together over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the burner and let the coffee beans steep in the sweet milk for 1 hour.
2. Place the strainer lined with cheesecloth over the bowl and pour the coffee-flavored milk through the strainer to remove the coffee beans. Bring up the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze as much of the remaining liquid out of the beans into the bowl as possible. Discard the beans and cheesecloth.
3. To the bowl of coffee milk, add the heavy cream, the vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground coffee, and a dash of salt. Cover the bowl and chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it is cold. Make the ice cream in an ice cream maker, according to the directions for your machine.
4. A suggestion for storing: Homemade ice cream stores well in a glass container, with a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper pressed close to its surface to help prevent the formation of ice crystals.
III. Dark Chocolate Sauce Redux (Step and finished photos are here in a previous diplomatickitchen post.)
- 13 ounces of Dark Chocolate, chopped in pieces
- 1/2 cup of Milk
- 1/2 cup of Heavy Cream
- 6 Tablespoons of Butter, cut in pieces and frozen
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla
1. Add the chocolate, milk and cream to a heavy saucepan and melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring.
2. Add the frozen butter, a few pieces at a time.
3. Add the vanilla and set the sauce aside until you are ready to put the desserts together. Reheat it briefly before using it and thin it with a little more milk if you prefer a slightly thinner sauce with ice cream. Any leftover sauce keeps well refrigerated for many weeks.
A Note: Profiteroles liégeoises are the Dessert Course of the Occasional Menu: Blunting the Keen Tooth of Winter: A Supper Party following an Out-of-doors Afternoon.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013