March 02, 2012

Parmesan Profiteroles with Bacon and Sundried Tomato Filling

I have made a resolution to myself to attempt baking once a week.  This week's attempt was inspired by the book "Savory Baking" by Mary Cech.  I picked up the book last fall during the going out of business sale at Borders (for $2? yes please!) and I was looking through it this week for inspiration.  There was one recipe for a savory profiterole, where mozzarella cheese was combined into the choux pastry dough before puffing up in the oven.  I decided to take that idea and use parmesan cheese instead with a creamy sundried tomato and bacon spread to go in the middle.

Choux pastry dough (pate a choux) is used for eclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs, etc.  Basically, you bring the liquids to a boil over a medium high flame, add in the flour to cook out the raw flour taste, and then eggs are added after slightly cooling.  The resulting dough is light due to the high moisture content, which steams during cooking and creates the puffy end product.  By adding parmesan, the dough is slightly more dense and ends up with a cripsy exterior and a light while slightly chewy interior from the melted cheese.  I made a spread from ricotta and the left over parmesan with sweet notes from sundried tomatoes and smoky, savory notes from crispy bacon.  Not a bad treat for sticking to my baking goal!

Parmesan Profiteroles
1 cup water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup floup
2 large eggs
2 oz grated parmesan
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil over medium heat.

Add the flour off of the stove, stir for 15 seconds with a wooden spoon.  Return to the heat for about a minute.

Cool the dough by using an electric mixer for about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs in, one at a time, being sure to scrape down the sides often with a spatula.

Add in the parmesan cheese and pepper.  Spoon into a large zip top bag or a pastry bag.

Cut a large hole in one corner and then pipe out the profiteroles.  I was able to fit 4X7 on my parchment lined baking sheet, with profiteroles about the diameter of a golf ball.

Pat down the points gently with a little water on your fingers

I baked at 375 F for 35-40 minutes, until they were puffed and golden brown.  I let them cool on a cooling rack before filling.

Bacon and Sundried Tomato Filling
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sundried tomato oil
2 sundried tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons crumbled bacon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

I cooked about 3 pieces of thick cut bacon, sliced in half.  I like mine almost burnt and very crispy, so it took me about 15 minutes over medium-high heat.

I patted them dry of any oil, let cool and them crumbled with a sharp knife.

Combine all of the ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  The cheese and the bacon will make it salty already, so I only added a pinch.  Split profiteroles with a pairing knife, leaving the top and bottom attached.

Fill the just cooled profiteroles and serve within an hour of baking.  I felt accomplished after this baking feat, but I promise it was super simple!  Enjoy!

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