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Home » Desserts » Profiteroles (Mini Cream Puffs)

Profiteroles (Mini Cream Puffs)

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Profiteroles are decadent puffs of pastry stuffed with a decadent creamy filling and topped with a smooth chocolate glaze. With their light-as-air texture and deliciously creamy core, it’s easy to see why profiteroles have become a classic French pastry.

One bite of these mini cream puffs will transport you to a chic French café but fortunately, you don’t have to be a trained pastry chef to make them right at home!

A stack of profiteroles filled with pastry cream.

Profiteroles have a cloud-like dough made of airy choux pastry, a classic French pastry dough that has so many uses!

Filled with our vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate, this combination is delightful and one is never enough!

They’re also easy to customize with sweet fillings like whipped cream or fruit curd. We’re taking you through all of the steps for making them- from forming the choux buns to preparing the vanilla pastry cream to topping these delicacies with the chocolatey glaze. 

A stack of mini cream puffs (profiteroles) on a cake plate.

Why This Profiterole Recipe Works

Making choux pastry dough has a bit of a reputation for being a super tricky process, but just as we mentioned in our Choux Pastry Dough recipe, it’s quite easy once you have the right steps lined out!

Mastering this dough opens up so many doors for other fun pastries so be sure to check out our comprehensive post on choux for all of the tips!

These are such a fun dessert and have a way of brightening up any gathering. Cream puffs are a decadence, but homemade cream puffs? Now that’s something that’ll leave your guests in awe!

These little dessert pastry puffs are:

  • Impressive French pastries that are delicious and elegant. 
  • A sweet after-dinner treat or a tasty addition to any party or gathering.
  • Easier to make than you might think!
  • Fun for everyone! Because who can say “no” to a cream puff, anyway?

Ingredients Needed

Here’s a look at the main ingredients you will need for this recipe. This includes all three elements- the vanilla pastry cream, choux pastry, and the chocolate glaze. 

  • Whole milk. Use whole milk for an extra creamy pastry cream. 
  • Sugar. For the perfect amount of sweetness in the vanilla pastry cream.
  • Cornstarch. This helps the pastry cream thicken and hold its shape. It also makes the cream extra pipe-able so don’t skip this one! 
  • Flour. A little bit of flour is needed for the cream and the choux pastry. 
  • Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. For the perfect vanilla flavor. 
  • Unsalted butter. You’ll need this for the pastry cream and choux pastry.  
  • Egg yolks and eggs. You will need four large eggs for the choux pastry, as well as 6 egg yolks for the cream. It adds richness and structure to both, and you can save the egg whites for other recipes like meringue!
  • Heavy cream. ​For the creamy chocolate glaze, aka ganache!
  • Dark chocolate or chocolate chips. The chocolate glaze adds another element of richness to the cream puffs and we highly recommend it!
A chocolate filled profiterole sliced in half.

How to Make Them

These steps will take you through the entire process– pastry cream, choux pastry and glaze. We have separate posts for choux pastry and pastry cream, so check those out too! Here’s a look at how to make perfect French pastry puffs with a rich custard filling, a crisp pastry shell and sweet chocolate glaze. 

Make the Filling

When it comes to stuffing these airy pastry shells, the possibilities are as endless as they are delicious. Here’s how you can turn these mini Belgian cream puffs into a personalized treat:

  1. Homemade Pastry Cream – My photos show the little dessert puffs stuffed with vanilla pastry cream and chocolate pastry cream but any flavor will work. 
  2. Quick Store-Bought Pudding – Short on time? Grab a pudding from the store, or whip up an instant mix. It’s easy, fast, and still tasty.
  3. Whipped Cream – Homemade whipped cream is so fast and easy to make. You can even fold it into pastry cream or pudding to create a Diplomat cream.
  4. Buttercream – This is another easy and fast idea for a filling. 
  5. Mascarpone. Sweeten it with a little honey or powdered sugar.
  6. Ice Cream: Any flavor!

You can also check out our Ferrero Rocher cream puffs for a unique filling idea.

Prepare the Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux)

  1. Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt, and boil. Add flour all at once and mix vigorously until well combined.
  2. Stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes until it gets thick and shiny. Then, remove it from the heat and let it cool just a tad. 
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then scrape down the bowl and continue beating for 5-10 more seconds. 
  4. The batter should appear smooth and glossy, and when lifted, it should form a V shape off the spatula.
  5. Place the dough in a pastry bag and pipe small mounds on a baking sheet.
  6. Wet our fingers and tap down any pointy tops. Pop them in the oven to bake. Check out the recipe card below for all the details.

A collage of six photos showing how to make choux pastry for profiteroles.

Fill and Glaze the Profiteroles

  1. Remove them from the oven and quickly poke a small hole in the bottoms to let the steam out. Place them back on the baking tray and return to the oven to dry out and get crisp.
  2. Use a pastry bag to pipe the filling into the hollow centers.
  3. Make the glaze and let it cool slightly.
  4. Dip the little cream puffs into the glaze and set them on a rack.
A collage of four photos showing how to finish making profiteroles.
Several mini cream puffs topped with chocolate sauce.

Recipe Tips for Success

  • When making the pastry cream, heat the mixture until an instant read thermometer hits 200°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, let it cook until you see several large bubbles burst on the surface, then stir constantly for one more minute.
  • When making the choux pastry, you can use an instant read thermometer to check that the pastry has cooled enough. This is crucial because if it’s too hot, it will cook the eggs once they’re added. Shoot for a temperature of 125°F to 135°F (cool enough to stick your finger into the dough and hold it there for a few seconds). 
  • When piping the choux pastry into little mounds, hold the piping bag upright and press out the dough with an even, steady amount of pressure. This helps create a round top (see the image below)!
Compare and contrast how to pipe profiteroles so they bake into a small round shape.

Making Ahead and Storage

You can prepare the choux pastry 1 day in advance. Store it in the fridge inside of a sealed pastry bag. If you make the choux pastry and bake the pastry shells ahead of time, store them at room temperature. 

The pastry cream can be prepared up to three days in advance. Keep it stored in the fridge in an airtight container. 

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A stack of mini cream puff profiteroles filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate sauce.

Profiteroles (Mini Cream Puffs)

This recipe walks you through making your own profiteroles, starting with airy choux pastry puffs, filled with a creamy pastry cream, whipped cream, or even ice cream, and topped with a smooth chocolate glaze. 
Perfect for any gathering, these mini cream puffs are easy to customize with different fillings like buttercream, pudding, custard, fruit curd. 
If you want to make homemade fillings like custard and pastry cream, make those first so they have a chance to chill and set up.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 30 profiteroles
Calories: 146kcal

Ingredients

Choose Your Filling

  • Vanilla pastry cream
  • Chocolate pastry cream
  • Store bought pudding
  • Whipped Cream
  • Ice Cream (you will need to keep the profiteroles in the freezer)

Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux)

  • 1 cup water (227 grams)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (113 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-¼ cups all purpose flour (150 grams)
  • 4 large eggs

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • ½ cup heavy cream (113 grams)
  • ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (4.5 oz; 127 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup

Instructions

Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux)

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large saucepan, combine water, butter, sugar, and salt. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has fully melted and the mixture reaches a boil.
  • Take the pan off the heat, then add all of the flour at once. Using a sturdy spoon or a stiff spatula, stir the mixture vigorously until well combined.
  • Place the saucepan back on medium heat and stir continuously for about one to two minutes. The mixture should become smooth and start to steam. At this point, the batter will appear quite thick and have a shiny texture.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The dough needs to cool down to between 125°F to 135°F so it doesn’t cook the eggs when you add them.
    If you don’t have a thermometer, guess the temperature with your finger…the dough should feel hot but you should be able to hold your finger in it for a few seconds.
  • Once the dough reaches 125°F to 135°F, beat the eggs in (either by hand or with an electric mixer). Wait until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one.
    After you add each egg, the pastry will look like it splits apart but it will eventually come together if you keep beating it. Once all the eggs are incorporated, scrape down the bowl and beat it for 5 to 10 more seconds.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a #6 round tip or cut the end of a pastry bag making a ½ inch cut. Spoon the pastry dough into the bag.
  • Holding the piping bag straight up and down, pipe small mounds (about the size of a tablespoon) onto the baking sheet. Space the mounds about 1-½ inches apart. You should get 24 to 30 mounds.
  • Wet your fingers and tap down any points on the mounds so they look like smooth, round balls.
  • Bake for 20 minutes to 30 minutes or until golden brown. If you pipe larger mounds, you will need to bake them longer. Keep an eye on them through the oven window and don’t open the door until they turn golden brown.
    When they turn golden brown, you can open the door and check them. They should feel firm and hold their shape when you poke them with your finger. if they feel soft and sink when you poke them, let them bake a little longer.
  • Remove them from the oven and quickly poke a small hole in the bottom of each profiterole to let the steam out. Place them back on the baking tray and return them to the oven.
  • Turn the oven off and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Leave them in the oven for 30 minutes with the door cracked. This will allow them to dry out and get crispy and have the right texture to hold up to the pastry cream.
  • Transfer the profiteroles to a cooling rack. Use the tip of a paring knife to enlarge the holes in the bottom of each profiterole.

Fill the Profiteroles

  • Get your filling ready (see the notes if you are using ice cream).
    If you made a homemade custard or pastry cream, use a whisk to give it a good stir to loosen it up. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip.
    Poke the tip into the hole in the bottom of each profiterole and squeeze the pastry bag until you feel a slight resistance as if the profiteroles are ready to bulge.

Make the Glaze and finish the Profiteroles

  • Place the cream in a saucepan and heat it over medium high heat until it just starts to bubble. Remove it from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth then stir in 1 tablespoon of corn syrup.
  • Dip the profiteroles in the chocolate glaze and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes or until the glaze sets up and gets firm.

Notes

Additional Filling Ideas for Profiteroles

  • Lemon curd
  • Dulce de leche or caramel mixed with whipped cream
  • Whipped cream cheese sweetened with sugar
  • Nutella folded into whipped cream

Filling the Profiteroles with Ice Cream

  • Slice each cooled pastry shell in half horizontally. Place a small scoop of your favorite ice cream onto the bottom half, then gently press the top half back on. Serve immediately or freeze until ready to enjoy.
You can make the choux pastry 1 day in advance if stored in the fridge inside a sealed pastry bag.
Choux pastry recipe adapted from King Arthur.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 298IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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angiesrecipes

Thursday 2nd of May 2024

This is my husband's favourite. I haven't made them in a really long while...might just whip up a batch for his birthday.

Dahn Boquist

Thursday 2nd of May 2024

It's my favorite as well. Thanks for the comment Angie.

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