Mama needs a new pair of choux: Whole Grain Profiteroles with Blueberry Cream Pie Ice Cream

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Shoe paste? Pat a shoe? What the heck are these people talking about?

Profitawho? Profitawhat? Come on now, stop speaking nonsense and tell me what I need to know. Can I make it, can I eat it, and does it taste good?  Well, I’m here to tell you …

Yes, yes, and OH MAMA, yes! I’m here to help you explore one of the most essential of all baked pastries, pâte à choux. Pronounced paht-a-zshu if you are using your best French accent, or pat-a-shoe if not.

It’s also known as choux, or choux paste for short, hence the “shoe paste” confusion. (Remember your dad’s collection of little tins of Kiwi shoe polish?) As if that weren’t bad enough, choux is also called cream puff pastry, as in Whole Grain Cream Puff Pastry.

Let’s demystify a bit to start with.

Choux is the French word for cabbage. After baking, choux puffs look like little cabbages, so it’s a pretty appropriate name. Choux paste is also very versatile. It’s the base that makes cream puffs, éclairs, and profiteroles. What’s the difference between those three things anyway?

The classic cream puff is a pastry shell split and filled with sweetened whipped cream. Period.

A variation on the classic cream puff is a small to medium-sized puff filled with pastry cream, and topped with chocolate ganache (or not).

Eclairs are very similar – filled with pastry cream, topped with ganache – but their shape is long and torpedo-like, as opposed to small and puffy.

Profiteroles are shaped like cream puffs, but are filled with ice cream instead of whipped cream or pastry cream; and topped with ganache. The puffs can also be filled with savory creams and spreads for appetizers.

Choux paste can be dropped by spoonfuls for baking, but is most elegant when piped from a pastry bag into fancy shapes like swans, or stacked to form a croquembouche, a traditional French wedding cake of stacked, caramel-dipped cream puffs surrounded with spun sugar.

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the fancy dessert. I also adore bite-sized treats that can be eaten out of hand while gabbing away with friends. Bite-sized profiteroles filled with homemade ice cream are perfect for summer entertaining. You can bake the puffs well ahead of time and freeze them until the day you need them, then just thaw and fill, giving you big bang for your dessert bucks and keeping the kitchen cool.

I do want to give you all a heads-up that this particular blog is longer than some. But it covers both the recipe and techniques for the profiteroles, AND the recipe and method for the Blueberry Cream Pie Ice Cream. Just like the puffs, you can take it in small bites and enjoy over a whole afternoon. You can even put your feet up on the desk when no one is looking, I’ll never tell.

Let’s start with the Whole Grain Cream Puff Pastry.

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Place the water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.

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Bring to a boil. This isn’t quite there yet.

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Much better, big rolling bubbles.  As soon as the whole surface of the liquid has these large bubbles, you can add the flours.

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Remove the pan from the heat. Dump the flours in all at once and stir vigorously to combine the wet and dry.

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Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook until the dough forms a soft ball. Be sure to keep stirring to avoid scorching the bottom of the pan.

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When the mixture comes off of the stove, it will be very hot. If you try to add the eggs now, they’ll scramble; so you need to wait for the mix to cool down. 140°F is what we’re shooting for.

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Well, it was 140°F when I tested it but by the time I found the camera from where I put it down and got it set up, it was just a bit lower than that. No worries, as long as it’s still close we’re good to go.

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Add the first egg and whisk vigorously. The mixture will still be quite thick but will begin to thin out as the egg is incorporated.

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Once the first egg is fully incorporated add the rest of the eggs in the same manner until all of the eggs are in the batter.

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Quite a difference in texture, eh? The batter is ready to be scooped or piped onto parchment-lined baking sheets. The parchment is essential for these to come off of the pan easily.

For very evenly sized profiteroles, I chose the tablespoon cookie scoop. It worked like a charm. Be sure to leave plenty of space between puffs as they will, well, puff quite a bit and nearly double in size.

You can pipe the batter through a piping bag if you wish; it’s just like working with thick icing. In fact, that’s how éclairs are made, with batter piped in long thin lines.

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Profiteroles are like popovers. Positively NO Peeking! Keep the oven door shut during the baking time to avoid having your puffs collapse.

Bake the puffs for 8 minutes at 475°F. Keeping the door shut, reduce the temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. At this point, you can crack the oven open about 1”, turn off the heat completely, and let the puffs cool in the oven for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes you can remove the puffs, cool to room temperature, and use immediately; or store in the freezer until needed.

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The great thing about cream puff and profiterole shells is that they can be baked well ahead of time and frozen until you need them. Having a batch in the freezer during the summer months means fancy bite-sized desserts on very short notice. Just add ice cream and fruits, or combine both in this Blueberry Cream Pie Ice Cream.

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What’s a cream pie without crust? This ice cream features pieces of graham cracker crust, a textural counterpart to the creamy base and smooth pie filling.

Combine the graham crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Mix well until it’s the texture of wet sand.

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Turn the crumbs out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can re-use one from baking the profiteroles, if you want. There’s no need to dirty a pie pan for this, just press the crumbs into an even layer. You don’t have to make it round either, but some habits are hard to break.

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Bake the crust until  lightly browned around the edges and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. If you want very crisp pieces in your ice cream, you can bake a bit longer; just watch for scorching. Set the crust aside to cool.

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For the vanilla ice cream base, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl or large measuring cup.

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Sprinkle on the Pastry Cream mix. This is my personal secret to a rich and creamy ice cream. If you don’t have it you can leave it out, but I really think it adds so much to the texture I won’t do without it anymore. Call me stubborn, but I loves me ice cream creamy.

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Whisk well until the dry filling mix is completely dissolved. If you work quickly the base will still be quite cold and can go into the ice cream maker immediately. If it’s not very very cold, put it in the fridge for a few hours, or even overnight.

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This red hot rod of an ice cream maker is terrific. You simply freeze the core for 24 hours before using, and you’re good to go. I store the core in my freezer full time, so I can make ice cream at the drop of a hat.

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Place the frozen core in the machine, add the plastic dasher and the pretty ruffled cover.

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It’s important to turn the machine on and let it begin to spin before adding the ice cream base. If you pour first, you may get a clump of frozen base that the dasher can’t cope with so start first then pour. Mmmm, good to the last drop.

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Another favorite feature on this machine is the fact that you really can set it and walk away. No need to scrape down the sides or stir, it’s all done for you. Twenty minutes later it’s soft serve and ready to be removed from the machine.

Because the ice cream is still soft at this point, it does need a few hours in the freezer to ripen, or freeze solid. I like to make my ice cream in the morning so that it’s ready by dinner time. (Technically, that should be dessert time, but you can read all you want into my slip-up).

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Now comes the fun part. Layer about 1/3 of the ice cream into a freezer-safe container.

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Add a generous helping of graham crust pieces.

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Spoon on several dollops of your favorite blueberry pie filling. I love our Blueberry Pie Filling for this, but Solo also makes a great canned filling, or use homemade. (You do know of course that you can use other fruit fillings, right? Cherry filling is definitely on my list to try.)

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Repeat the layers until all of the ice cream is used. You’ll most likely have pie filling and crust left over, but both can be kept in the freezer for future batches.

Cover the container well and freeze for several hours to ripen. Ah, sweet torture!

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Here’s a spare core in our test kitchen freezer. Keep it lightly wrapped in plastic and you, too, can be the ice cream maven of your block whenever the mood strikes.

With the cleanup done, let’s get these babies put together for feasting.

Here are our profiterole puffs, golden brown and ready for filling.

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Use a sharp knife or slim pair of scissors to remove the top of the puffs. You’ll see the tender internal structure that makes them so melt-in-your-mouth good. Remove a bit of it if you need to, to make room for the ice cream.

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I tried two different-sized scoops for filling the puffs. The scoop on the left is the tablespoon scoop, with the teaspoon scoop on the right. While these are supposed to be bite-sized, I felt the smaller scoop just didn’t do it for me; the profiteroles looked a bit skimpy. You can choose your favorite, but I much preferred the larger scoop.

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Oh yeah, that’s the ticket!  Cold sweet berries, rich and creamy vanilla ice cream, the graham crust, all in a crisp two-bite shell. My fellow baker, Tara, said it was just like having blueberry pie à la mode but BETTER! I guess you can’t ask for a better compliment than that.

Please bake, freeze, rate, and review our recipes for Whole Grain Cream Puff Pastry and Blueberry Cream Pie Ice Cream.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Andrea

    You are a good writer! Also, the pat-a-shoe looks great!
    Thank you Sweetie! New kitty arrives in early June, her name is Peaches. And we had a GREAT time at Global Sugar Art yesterday. I faint to think of the bill, but I got to meet their cake decorator, and he was very nice and gave me some great hints. See you next week! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. Wei-Wei

    Oh, so THAT’S what pate a choux was!! I always thought it had something to do with liver pate… :P I guess you can see how misguided my French is!

    These profiteroles look amazing and cute! (I DID know what profiteroles were, so ha! XD)

    Wei-Wei
    You GO girl! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. MiJi

    The first thing I saw this morning! Wow thank you so much for covering this- I always attempt to make cream puffs but they never come out as cabbage looking as they should. I will make it again following the steps and enjoy them with chocolate espresso ice cream from this blog long time ago!
    Have a great time MiJi, coffee coffee buzz buzz! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Patti in VA

    Oh my!!!! This has me drooling on the keyboard!!! I’d like to volunteer to work at KA and be a taste-tester!!! After all…I know you don’t want to post a recipe that doesn’t taste good so I’ll volunteer to do a little QA for ya!!!! ;o) LOL!!
    Would you believe I passed up taste testing the other day? I just didn’t want any more browies that week. Life is rough, eh? HEY, don’t throw that tomato! OUCH! Sorry, I’ll eat the brownies, I promise!~ MaryJane

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  5. HMB

    Loved that funny intro. And by the way, as much fun as it is to use “shoe paste” with sweet fillings, it also works for savory foods. I like making bowls for chicken salad, for instance, or you can make bite-size appetizers with savory fillings.
    Yes savory fillings are a great filling idea for these! JMD @KAF

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  6. Cyn

    Yum on both! I am really looking forward to making the ice cream — I’m also a big fan of the ice cream makers with the bowl you can just keep in the freezer. I love using mine in the summer. What about making the ice cream, and layering it with the blueberry pie filling (or any other flavor) in a graham cracker crust? Practically instant ice cream pie! Thanks for the recipes.
    Sounds like a great plan Cyn, quick and delish! ~ MaryJane

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  7. Kate

    Blueberry pie ice cream… Genius! I am on a roll with my ice cream maker now that the weather is warm. Love this idea! Thanks!!
    Hey Kate, there’s a whole ice cream blog coming out soon, and one on frozen yogurt too. We’ve got you covered for the summer. ~ MaryJane

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  8. Trisha

    Yum, those look fantastic! I like the idea of having them in the frezzer for summertime guests. I think I need to entertain more…
    Hey Trisha, just let us know when and where, we’ll bring the pulled pork! ~ MaryJane

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  9. Karen

    I think this Mama needs this too. I love that it can be frozen ahead of time. Perfect for when someone drops by this summer and the kids are eating popsicles.
    I hate to admit it, but I just don’t like popsicles. I used to, but they’re too cold and icy for me now. I’ll let you know when we’ll be dropping by for profiteroles :) ~ MaryJane

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  10. Angela

    This looks so yummy! I have a question though. With regards to the Pastry Cream, can you make your own and add it instead of the powder? If so what modifications would you make? Thanks for another awesome recipe!We haven’t tried that, but I think it would work if you cut back on your milk in the ice cream somewhat. Have fun with it! Mary@KAF
    Angela, you could also try instant custard powder instead of the pastry cream filling, or in a pinch use instant pudding mix. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. Beth @ 990 Square

    I wish I hadn’t already committed to make a strawberry rhubarb pie for next weekend’s Memorial Day cookout…because these look amazing. They’re going on my to be made list!
    How about puffs with strawberry rhubarb pie ice cream? Sounds delish to me! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. Suzanne

    Be still my heart…my two favorite things choux paste and ice cream, just ask Frank or Elizabeth. I’ve pestered both of them to perfect my recipe. I like to wait until the batter is a little cooler, scoop out as you did and sprinkle with pearlized sugar and some mini-chocolate chips …et voila les choquettes! These “baby cabbages” go great with ice cream too!
    If anyone can help perfect choux, it’s Frank and Elisabeth, they ROCK!! ~ MaryJane

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  13. Sinful Southern Sweets

    I think I’m in love….I just made the choux a few days ago. It was surprisingly easy, despite the fact that I was certain it would never work. But it did. Now this blueberry cream pie ice cream I have never seen. And stuffed in a cream puff shell. Are you kidding me?!?! We don’t need this kind of thing right here at the start of swimsuit season :) Definitely trying this soon!!
    Right now I have 2 9 week old chickens living in my art studio, 12 baby chicks peepeing in my living room, a kitten on the way, and 3 dogs trying desperately to get to said chickens. Add in building a coop in my “spare” time and looking good in a swimsuit is just not on my list right now, Tee hee! What’s that quote about everything in moderation? I’ve sure forgotten it!! ~ MaryJane

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  14. Jill

    These look amazing! I love choux pastry – sweet or savory. Sometimes we just add cheese (and maybe herbs) to the dough and serve them along side soup. The blueberry ice cream takes these over the top, though. I’m sure my family will love these. Thanks!

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  15. Mike T.

    Always good and I’ve got to try making the blueberry pie ice cream, *I’ve* not committed to anything for the cookout at my brother’s… :-)

    Also, if you don’t want to bake and freeze the profiteroles/cream puffs/eclairs, you can put the raw dough on parchment paper (close together even) and then just freeze the uncooked dough. I do this and just zip bag them until I need some. Then I just pull out what I need, let them defrost and stick them into the oven to bake. It’s not as fast as freezing the baked ones, but they take up less space in the freezer and are not as fragile. I learned this from KAF’s own Jeffrey Hamelman! :-)
    Too right Mike! You can certainly freeze unbaked choux dough in a variety of shapes and bake at your convenience. I think I like the freezing baked ones better because Patience is NOT my middle name. (I actually don’t have a middle name, but if I did it would probably be Dessert). ;) ~ MaryJane

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  16. Denise Mower

    OK…I HAVE to make these…I may cheat a little and use already-made vanilla ice cream, but only because I don’t have time to make it between now and our family picnic! I always try to make something really awesome and these are perfect! Hazzah!
    I’ll never tell if you use “boughten” ice cream instead of homemade ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. RobynB

    Hmmm… I’ve always avoided profiteroles and cream puffs because they taste a bit “egg-y” to me. But whole grain might improve that IF the whole grain flavor comes through – does it?

    I wish I wasn’t so sensitive to that egg-y flavor; I don’t like homemade pasta or french toast, either, because I can taste the egg. And I know everyone else LOVES these things!

    I find the whole grain version less egg-y than a white flour version, but still cream puff-y enough that you feel like you are having a treat and not something dull and bland. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  18. Andy Clemmer

    If you must use store bought ice cream, here’s what I do. Slightly thaw ice cream ( until workable ). Put ice cream in a 9 x 13 glass dish that’s been chilled in the freezer for a while. Cut it in slices or squares, sprinkle with a graham cracker crust mixture and your choice of pie filling. Mix, mash, or layer back in carton or well-sealed container and return to freezer to refirm. When ready to use, scoop as usual. Works well, if you can’t make ice cream or must use a special kind. AC52 :)

    Reply
  19. Anne

    Lordy. How can I NOT make this. This was an awe inspiring post and I am drooling at the prospect of making these for Memorial Day weekend. Beautiful tutorial.

    Reply
  20. Robin in Washington

    This looks wonderful! Is there a way to make gluten free choux? I’m excited to hear about your new ice cream blog–pretty cool!
    Robin-I do not know if our test kitchen has experimented yet with gluten free choux. You could try doing this on your own with using our Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour or blend your own using brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour. You’ll need some some xanthan gum also. 1 t. per 2-3 c. flour should be enough. Also, it is highly recommended when doing gluten free baking to use a mixer. Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  21. Robin in Washington

    BTW, thank you sooooo much for the pictorial tutorials! Pictures speak a thousand words don’t you know!

    Reply
  22. Sara

    I have a question about the type of ice cream maker you are using. I bought a similar device years ago and threw it out because I was never sure the tub part that goes in the freezer was really cold. I have a frost free freezer (as I am sure many people have) and am not sure when it runs the defrost cycle. So the tub could be cold but it might not be. How do you know? If the tub is thawed, it will sound like liquid sloshing when you shake it.. If it is frozen, it won’t make any noise.

    Reply
  23. Joyce

    Oh my gosh! When I read pate a choux, a little bell rang in my brain and I was taken way back. Yes! My French grandmother! Well now I’ve got to make this. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Aaron Frank

    I was just thinking about making these. I haven’t made profiteroles in a while but my wife used to promise I would make them whenever we were invited for dinner by one of our French friends (of which we seem to have an abundance). It was a lot of pressure.

    I was introduced to them in Italy where I was caught between a French colleague who kept ordering them with a French pronounciation and an Italian waiter who insisted he had no idea what my colleague was asking for. I finally broke the deadlock by asking for them in managled Italian.

    I always made them with milk or cream instead of water to make them even richer. Also, check the texture between eggs because sometimes I’ve needed less than a recipe I was testing called for and if you add too many, it’s a mess.

    Have you ever tried adding grated cheese before baking to make cheese puffs? How about some cocoa for chocolate choux?

    Thanks

    Yes, folding in a grated dry cheese, like parmesean or asiago will make a very nice savory shell. Likewise a small addition of cocoa sifted toghether with the flour will give you chocolate shells. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  25. Margy

    A cream puff made with cheese in the dough is called a gougere, yummy (and fancy-looking) with a savory filling, or by itself as a bread substitute. We love making cream puffs–something magical about watching the way they rise in the oven. “Tis the season to throw the ice cream maker inserts into the freezer (I actually have three different models, since I can’t decide which one I like best, which necessitates making a LOT of ice cream!)

    Reply

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