Gluten-Free Profiteroles with Cream Filling & Chocolate Sauce


I didn’t quite solve my profiterole dilemma, but I did spend all day last Sunday making profiteroles for my mom’s birthday dinner, and they were a huge hit!

My brother:  “I thought they would suck!  But they were awesome!”  I also heard the words “better than the ones in Italy”.  You hear that, gluten-free naysayers?  BETTER THAN THE ONES IN ITALY MADE BY A LEGIT ITALIAN CHEF WITH AN OLD FAMILY RECIPE.

My mom went back for thirds, yelled “DON’T JUDGE ME”, and declared profiteroles to be her new birthday tradition.  So I’d say they were well worth the effort!

Everyone said they liked the gluten-free shells because they were thicker than the ones in Italy.  I was worried that not being light & fluffy was going to be a problem, but apparently it was a bonus.

I ended up going with a modified version of this recipe for the choux pastry, and the Italian chef’s recipe for the cream.  The cream recipe made WAY TOO MUCH.  Way, way too much.  I tripled the pastry recipe, and I still had a buttload of cream leftover.  But I’m going to post the full recipe in all its glory (mostly because it calls for 5 egg yolks) – modify it as you wish.

Choux Pastry

1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used Silvana‘s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend, which you can find here.)
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Egg Wash Glaze

1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about a minute or two).
  4. Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or use a hand mixer, and beat on low speed for 1 or 2 minutes to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm slowly add the lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick sticky paste.
  5. Spoon or pipe 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart.
  6. Beat together the egg and salt for the glaze. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops of the dough.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are dry inside.  Poke a hole in each pastry with a skewer.  Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Here is the cream recipe.  Remember, you will probably want to adjust it unless you want a huge container full of cream leftovers in your fridge (on second thought, that sounds pretty delicious).

Cream Filling

1 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
5 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups whipping cream

  1. Whisk the sugar and flour together in a pot.  Stir in egg yolks.  Gradually whisk in milk.
  2. Put on low-medium heat.  Whisk constantly until thick.
  3. Transfer the custard to a large bowl and place in the fridge until it is cold (about 2 hours; you can also put it in the freezer to speed things up).
  4. Once it’s cold, beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks.
  6. Add the whipped cream to the custard mixture.  Beat again until everything is smooth and creamy.

To fill the pastry:

  1. Poke a small hole in each pastry.  (Since my pastries didn’t dry out on the inside as much as they should have, I used a wooden skewer and kind of wiggled it around to pull out some of the insides.)
  2. Use a piping bag to fill each pastry with cream filling.

Melt chocolate of your choice over the profiteroles to serve.

The next day, since there was so much cream left over, my mom poured extra cream over the leftover profiteroles before adding the melted chocolate on top. It was amazing and delicious.

Gluten-Free Profiteroles

When my family and I went to Italy this summer, the place we rented had a professional kitchen and a professional chef.  She was amazing, and one night she made profiteroles.  Of course, I couldn’t eat them, but everyone else wouldn’t stop talking about how amazing they were.  This is a terrible photo, but this is them (before they were devoured):

The next night, the chef showed us how to make them.  Or, rather, she showed everyone else how to make them while I stood in the corner like this:

My mom’s birthday was last week, and she requested that someone make her profiteroles for dessert.  “Fine,” I said, “but I’m making them gluten-free!”  She said she didn’t care as long as they’re filled with some sort of cream and covered in chocolate sauce.

Which brings me to today!

We are having her birthday dinner on Sunday, and I’ve spent almost the entire day trying to make gluten-free shells.

Attempt 1:  While putting them in the oven, I somehow dropped the entire tray and every single profiterole got smushed at the bottom of my filthy oven in the crack between the oven and the door.

Attempt 2:  Same recipe (minus the cheese), but they came out really disgusting and not hollow, with the middle a big gooey mess.  I felt nauseous when I took a bite out of one.  I have no idea what I did wrong, but they sure as hell didn’t look like the picture.

Attempt 3:  New recipe (with a substitution for gluten-free all purpose flour); just pulled them out of the oven.  They look pretty good!  Until I cut one open, and it’s not hollow.  ARRRGH.

How do I make them hollow?  What am I doing wrong?  INTERNET, TO THE RESCUE!