The first time we put together our thoughts on Valentine’s Day in 2012, we offered some creative ways to say ‘I love you’ that didn’t involve overpriced ‘specials’ menus or expensive flowers. They include telling your family members one thing you love about them, sending an email to someone who hasn't heard from you recently, and getting out of bed early, putting on some warm clothes and comfy slippers and enjoying a cup of your favorite hot beverage in the brisk morning air.
Last year, we compiled suggestions for how to say “I love you” by taking a look at some of the most romantic sentiments shared in popular movies over the past 75 years. One of our favorites is from The Runaway Bride: “I guarantee that we’ll have tough times. And I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. Because I know in my heart you are the only one for me.”
This year, we decided it was time to say it with food. While many might think of brownies and chocolate truffles for Valentine’s Day, I offer up instead profiteroles -- a French dessert that’s basically a cream puff that you fill with ice cream and decorate with chocolate sauce. They look like you went to a lot of trouble but they are actually pretty easy to make. You’ll find lots of recipes online for making the choux pastry (also used for éclairs), but this modified version of a recipe created by chef Delia Smith is the one I’ve come to rely on over the years. -- Connie Guglielmo
½ cup of water
1 stick of butter (4 ounces), cut into small pieces
½ cup of flour mixed with1 teaspoon of sugar
2 eggs, beaten
Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate sauce (Hershey’s or whatever your favorite is)
Powdered sugar, for dusting
1. Turn on the oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cold water (this creates steam when you bake the profiteroles.)
3. Put the water and butter into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure they mix.
4. Turn off the heat under the saucepan and add the flour/sugar all at once. Mix vigorously until you have a smooth dough. This takes a minute or two.
5. Add the beaten egg a little at a time. This is the tricky part. You want to add in a tablespoon or so and make sure that it’s integrated into the dough before adding in the next little bit of beaten egg. The dough should be a smooth and glossy paste. If you add too much egg, it separates. Just keep beating with the wooden spoon if that happens.
6. Drop a healthy tablespoon of the dough onto your prepared cookie sheet to make each bun. Leave about an inch between each bun.
7. Cook for 25-30 minutes on the top rack. Check your baking at the 22-minute mark to see if the buns have turned a golden brown. If not, cook a few more minutes.
8. Take them out of the oven and prick each one with a sharp knife to release the steam.
9. After they’ve cooled, slice in half and fill with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then run chocolate sauce back and forth across the top until you think it looks nice. Dust with powdered sugar.
I serve two profiteroles per person. But you can put all the profiteroles on a platter and let your guests help themselves. Enjoy!
February 12, 2014
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Image courtesy of flickr user Alpha