Profiteroles with Strawberries and Mascarpone

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 18 to 20

When the first strawberries appear at the farmers’ market, it’s a sure sign that spring has arrived. We like to showcase them in all manner of desserts, such as these profiteroles filled with rich mascarpone cheese and sliced berries. They’re made with pâte à choux, a type of dough that’s also used for cream puffs, éclairs and savory gougères. The dough puffs up as it bakes, forming a hollow center that’s ideal for filling. Light and airy with a crisp exterior, these sweet treats make the perfect finale to an Easter dinner or other springtime gathering.

Ingredients:

For the pâte à choux:

  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg white 
  • 5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces 
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) plus 1 Tbs. water
  • 3 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) all-purpose flour


For the filling:

  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) heavy cream, chilled
  • 2 cups (16 oz./500 g) mascarpone cheese, chilled 
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 lb. (500 g) strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions:

To make the pâte à choux, preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C). Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper (this will make it easier to pipe the profiteroles).

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and egg white. You will need 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) egg mixture; discard any excess. Set aside.  

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the butter, water, cream, granulated sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until the mixture is cohesive and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Return the pan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is shiny and resembles thick, wet sand, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and process on high for 20 seconds with the feed tube open to allow the mixture to cool slightly. With the machine running, add the eggs in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process until a thick paste forms, about 30 seconds.

Fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch (12-mm) tip and fill the bag with the pâte à choux. Pipe into mounds 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. You should have 18 to 20 mounds.

Bake until the dough is puffed up, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue to bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes more. Remove from the oven and turn off the oven.

Using a paring knife, carefully cut a 1/2-inch (12-mm) horizontal slit in the side of each puff to allow steam to escape. Return to the turned-off oven and prop it open slightly with a wooden spoon. Let the puffs cool and dry out in the oven for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream, mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla bean paste on low speed until just combined, about 10 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute.

Transfer the filling to a clean piping bag without a tip. Secure the top with a rubber band and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble, using a sharp knife, cut the puffs in half horizontally. Place the bottom halves on a serving platter. Pipe about 2 heaping Tbs. filling onto each half and arrange the strawberries on the filling, then cover each with a top half. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately. Makes 18 to 20 profiteroles.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen