I remember staying in an old Irish guesthouse when I was growing up, where a dessert trolley was rolled around the dining room after dinner and you could pick a dessert of your choice. I could never resist creamy profiteroles smothered in a warm, thick chocolate sauce.


  • For the Choux Pastry
  • 60g salted butter
  • 80g plain flour, sifted
  • 3 large eggs
  • For the Crème Pâtissière
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 450ml milk
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 50g cornflour
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tblsp butter
  • For the Chocolate Sauce
  • 60ml single cream
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped


  • Preheat the oven 220°C (425°F), Gas Mark 7 and line two large baking sheets with baking parchment.
  • Place the butter in a saucepan with 130ml water and bring to a steady boil until the butter has melted.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour, beating with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together. Place the pan back over the heat and beat the dough in the saucepan for about 40 seconds. Remove from the heat once again and set aside. Beat one of the eggs in a small bowl.
  • Add the remaining two eggs to the warm dough, one at a time, beating thoroughly until completely incorporated after each addition. Add a little of the beaten egg at a time until you have a consistency that will hold its shape when piped. It should be smooth, shiny and just about falling from the spoon.
  • Using a spatula, scoop the dough into a large piping bag fitted with a large round piping nozzle and pipe small swirls of dough on the lined baking sheets, leaving about 4cm between each swirl to allow for spreading. Brush each one with the leftover beaten egg.
  • Place in the oven, reducing the heat to 190°C (375°F), Gas Mark 5, for about 15–20 minutes until the choux pastry balls have risen and are golden and crisp.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and use a sharp pointed knife to pierce holes on the underside of the buns. Allow to cool completely before filling.
  • For the crème pâtissière, split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon. Put both the seeds and the pod in a saucepan together with the milk and place over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat and scoop out the vanilla pod.
  • While the milk is coming to the boil, place the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until they are thick and pale.
  • Pour the hot milk into the bowl, whisking quickly and continuously until it is smooth and incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat, beating continuously until it has thickened.
  • Transfer the crème pâtissière to a cold bowl, flatten the surface with the back of a spatula and wipe the top with the butter to prevent a skin forming. Place a piece of cling film on the surface of the crème pâtissière and leave it to cool completely.
  • To assemble the profiteroles, scoop the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle and pipe it into the holes on the underside of the choux buns.
  • To make the chocolate sauce, put the cream and sugar into a small saucepan and simmer gently until the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and stir through the chocolate until it has melted and the sauce is silky and smooth.
  • Pile the profiteroles onto a serving plate and drizzle over the chocolate sauce and decorate if you wish. Serve straight away.

More by Donal Skehan:

Find recipes by keyword:

baking vegetarian entertaining party food desserts and sweets kitchen hero: homecooked