Spinach & 3 Cheese Profiteroles with a kick!
Choux seems intimidating but its actually some of the fastest and easiest pastry to make! It's also super versatile, you can shape in into classic eclairs and fill them with chocolate or coffee creams, or you can pipe them into profiteroles to make a great variety of savoury and sweet delights. I've filled my profiteroles with cheeses and spinach here, plus lots of spices (hence the kick!), and I'll take you through how to make this delicious filling as well as how to make this incredibly versatile pastry!
For the Choux Pastry:
150g (1 cup) plain flour
185ml (¾ cup) water
1 teaspoon of salt
75g salted butter, diced
3 large eggs, beaten
For the 3 Cheese and Spinach filling:
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
1 small bunch of spinach, washed and roughly chopped (frozen is fine too)
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
125 grams of cream cheese
100 grams of soft feta cheese (danish is good)
cheddar cheese, about 1 cup grated
extra baby spinach or nasturtium leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 200°C fan forced or 220°C / 425°F. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
In a medium sized saucepan on medium heat, add water, salt and butter. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until butter has melted.
Once butter is melted take the pan off the heat and add flour. Rapidly beat with the wooden spoon, until a dough comes together and cleanly comes away from the side of the pan.
Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool slightly for 3 minutes. After cooling, add the beaten eggs 1/3 at a time, beating rapidly after each new addition until thoroughly incorporated. By the time all the eggs have been incorporated the dough should be a yellow colour, shiny and a thick yet smooth enough that it can still fall from your wooden spoon.
Fill an empty cup with a piping or ziplock bag, with the edges turned out from the rim of the cup. Fill the bag with the choux pastry then cut a 3-5 cm hole in the bag. Pipe the choux into small circles about 5 cms wide, spaced apart from each other by about 2 cms. Bake the profiteroles in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, take them out of the oven, and reduce the oven temperate by 25 degrees or so (175°C fan forced or 195°C / 350°F). Poke small holes in the profiteroles so steam can escape. Then put them back in the oven to dry out for another 10 minutes or so.
Take the profiteroles out of the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
To make the filling: In a pan on medium - high heat add the olive oil, chopped vegetables, spices and herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally for at least 15 minutes and everything is fragrant. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly.
In the same pan add the feta, cheddar and cream cheese before seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir the mixture until everything is thoroughly incorporated then add the mixture to a piping/ziplock bag and cut a 3 cm hole in the bottom so it is ready to pipe into the profiteroles.
Cut small holes in the bottom of the profiteroles with a sharp knife, then pipe the spinach mixture into the profiteroles until you can feel them getting heavy and mixture is about to overflow.
Serve the profiteroles immediately, or if you are making ahead (I would only recommend up to 4 hours if the profiteroles are piped with the mixture) place them in a 200°C fan forced or 220°C / 425°F oven to warm up for 10 minutes. Please enjoy!
Profiteroles can be made in advance, (up to 2 months ahead of time) just let them cool before placing them in an airtight container and into the freezer. Once removed from the freezer they will only take 10-15 minutes to fully defrost. I would recommend following the last step to warm them up in the oven before serving.
In my pictures I’ve garnished with baby spinach, nasturtium and filled leftover eclairs also!