A single cream puff
|Alternative name(s)||Cream puff (US); choux à la crème (France)|
|Main ingredient(s)||choux pastry
Filling: whipped cream, custard, or ice cream
A profiterole, cream puff (US) or choux à la crème is a choux pastry ball filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, or (particularly in the US) ice cream. The puffs may be decorated or left plain or garnished with chocolate sauce, caramel, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
The choux paste is piped through a pastry bag or dropped with a pair of spoons into small balls and baked to form largely hollow puffs. After cooling these are injected with filling using a pastry bag and narrow piping tip, or slicing off the top, filling, and reassembling.
The most common presentations are pastry cream, whipped cream, or ice cream filling, topped with powdered sugar or chocolate sauce. They are also served plain, with a crisp caramel glaze, iced, or with fruit.
Filled and glazed with caramel, they are assembled into a type of pièce montée called croquembouches, often served at weddings in France and Italy, and during the Christmas Holiday in France. Profiteroles are also used as the outer wall of St. Honoré Cake.
The origin of both the pastry and its name profiterole is obscure.
The word profiterole (also spelled prophitrole, profitrolle, profiterolle) has existed in English since the 16th century, borrowed from French. The original meaning in both English and French is unclear, but later it came to mean a kind of roll 'baked under the ashes'. A 17th-century French recipe for a Potage de profiteolles or profiterolles describes a soup of dried small breads (presumably the profiteroles) simmered in almond broth and garnished with cockscombs, truffles, and so on. The current meaning is only clearly attested in the 19th century.
The "cream puff" has appeared on US restaurant menus since 1851, if not earlier.
See also 
- Bossche bol, a giant profiterole from the Dutch city of Den Bosch
- Éclair (pastry), a differently-shaped choux and cream pastry
- Gougère, an hors d'oeuvre made with choux pastry
- Moorkop, a similar Dutch pastry
- Reuzenbol, an even larger version
- Carole Bloom (2 March 2007). The Essential Baker: The Comprehensive Guide to Baking with Chocolate, Fruit, Nuts, Spices, and Other Ingredients. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 433–. ISBN 978-0-7645-7645-4. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Michael Ruhlman (7 April 2009). Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Simon and Schuster. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-1-4165-6611-3. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- "Profiteroles express". Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Good Housekeeping Magazine; Good Housekeeping (28 December 2001). The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook: America's Bestselling Step-by-Step Cookbook, with More Than 1,400 Recipes. Hearst Books. pp. 512–. ISBN 978-1-58816-070-6. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Glenn Rinsky; Laura Halpin Rinsky (14 February 2008). The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 228–. ISBN 978-0-470-00955-0. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- "profiterole". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.
- Alfred Franklin, La vie privée d'autrefois. Arts et métiers, modes, mœurs, usages des Parisiens du XIIe au XVIIIe siècle: La Cuisine, Paris 1888, quoting from La Varenne, 1651
- "Revere House" restaurant, Boston, menu dated May 18, 1851: "Puddings and Pastry. ... Cream Puffs". Digitalgallery.nypl.org. Retrieved on 2011-06-15.
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