I don’t know about you, but this time of year makes my mind cluttered. I’ve got a lot weighing on the brain… my mind consumed with an overload of festive thoughts. Don’t mistake me though; Christmas is my favourite time of year. But all the mandatory folly hype, paraphernalia and preparation, really can disturb the fine mental balance between rational thought and insanity.
So after all the decadent layer cakes, petit fours and pastries I have recently become accustomed to tirelessly creating, I am finally returning back to making things simple. Making food that’s delicious, comforting and cosy. Taking time to relax and bake it up easy.
And for me, nothing is more simple or delicious than a classic profiterole. Especially profiteroles like these… one’s that are filled with a rich and creamy fudge studded ice cream and drenched in a warm dark chocolate crème somptueuse.
They might sound complex and full of finicky process but these Buttermilk Pecan Fudge Chunk Ice Cream Profiteroles are very easy, almost shamefully so. They are my go to naughty indulgence, the delicious beast I turn too late of a night when I crave something sinful to take the edge of a long day off.
In one bite, they consist of an aerated golden, crisp and eggy choux pastry puff that is filled with an unbelievably creamy buttermilk pecan fudge chunk ice cream and then generously glazed with a rich dark chocolate crème somptueuse.
Every time I create this dessert, my heart stops upon first bite. The pecan fudge chunk ice cream is so deliciously creamy, dreamy and smooth, simple to make and when sandwiched between two buttery pastry puffs and slathered in chocolate, is fantastic.
I’m especially sold on this ice cream as you don’t even need an ice cream churner to make it! That’s right, it’s a no-churn ice cream… made on a sweet and creamy condensed milk base, studded with liberal chunks of buttermilk pecan fudge and then frozen.
I made the buttermilk pecan fudge chunk from scratch, however if short on time, it can be creatively substituted from another texture, like walnuts, berries, chocolate or even brownie and cereal chunks. The fudge chunks though do add an incredibly complex taste to the ice cream as I opted to throw in a dash of liquid smoke and fleur de sel…to further amplify the flavours.
Speaking from experience, these Buttermilk Pecan Fudge Chunk Ice Cream Profiteroles are utterly delicious and I have been known to help myself a large towering profiterole mountain of them… and quickly devouring them with my fingers, whilst the ice cream softens underneath the warm chocolate. So classically French, so utterly delicious – they are perfect.
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- 1 x quantity buttermilk pecan fudge, recipe above
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 cup (8.45 oz/ 250 ml) water
- ½ cup ( 7 tbsps/ 100 g) butter, chopped
- 1 cup (4½ oz/ 150 g) plain flour
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup (3.5 oz / 100 g) dark chocolate, chopped
- 200 g (7 oz) heavy cream
- Line a 23 x 13 cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf pan with parchment paper. Let the paper overhang the sides..
- Heat the sugar, buttermilk, butter, honey and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir often until the butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
- Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the temperature registers 115 C (238 F) on the thermometer. The mixture will be pale golden and be fragrant with the smell of toffee, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Immediately pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat on high speed until cool and thick, 6 to 9 minutes. The mixture is ready when it is stiff and matte.
- Fold in the smoked, if using, and pecans. Mix to combine.
- Scrape the fudge into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the flaked salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before cutting into pieces and using in the ice-cream recipe.
- Place the condensed milk and vanilla in a medium sized bowl.
- Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high until soft peaks form.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and whisk the cream gently into the condensed milk mixture. Mix until smooth and uniform.
- Stir in the chopped buttermilk pecan fudge.
- Pour into a 23 x 13 cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf pan. Cover and freeze until firm, 6 hours preferably overnight.
- Preheat an oven to 180 C (350 F). Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Bring the water and butter to a boil in a medium sized saucepan set over high heat.
- Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium and add in the flour. Mix and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined and the mixture has turned into a dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from saucepan from the heat.
- Immediately transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat, on medium speed to until the dough is slightly warmer than room temperature and the bowl is no longer hot to the touch, 5 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until all incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 2 cm (.8 inch) plain nozzle. Pipe out 3 cm (1 inch) diameter rounds onto the prepared trays.
- Bake until the choux puffs are golden all-over and crisp to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, pierce bases with a skewer to let the steam escape and return to oven to dry, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
- Place the chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- Set the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a light rolling boil then remove it from the heat and pour the hot cream all over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute to acclimatise then stir with a rubber spatula until smooth and glossy.
- Halve the choux puffs.
- Place a small scoop of the ice cream inside the puffs and sandwich with a choux top.
- Drizzle over the créme sompteuse and serve.