These more-ish profiteroles are made with a delicious lemon caramel sauce – they’ll go down a treat with the family at Easter.
- For the choux buns
- 90g (3oz) butter, diced
- 125g (4oz) plain flour
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- Icing sugar, to dust
- For the filling
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
- 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
- 5tbsp cornflour
- 3 medium egg yolks
- For the sauce
- 125g (4oz) caster sugar
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- Large, heavy baking sheet, greased and dusted with flour
To make the choux buns: Set the oven to fairly hot, gas mark 6 or 200°C. Put the butter in a medium pan with 250ml (8fl oz) cold water and heat gently until butter has melted. Bring to the boil quickly, then add all the flour at once and beat mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a thick paste. Cool for at least 5 mins, then beat in the eggs, a little a time, until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
Use a piping bag or a dessertspoon to shape 32 balls of pastry on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 mins until golden and crisp. Pierce each ball with a sharp knife to let steam out, turn them over and cook 5-10 mins more until really crisp. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the filling: Put the lemon zest and juice, sugar and 300ml (½ pint) cold water in a pan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with 6tbsp cold water, then stir into the lemon mixture and combine well. Increase the heat, bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously until smooth, cleared and thickened. Cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Pour into a bowl, cover closely with cling film and leave until set firm and cold. When ready to fill the buns – within 3 hrs of serving, if possible – beat the mixture until smooth, then pipe or spoon the filling into the split choux buns. Dust with icing sugar and pile them on a plate.
To make the sauce: Put the sugar and 4tbsp water in a small, heavy pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil, without stirring, until it turns a light amber colour all over. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice – be careful, as it tends to spatter. Stir to make a smooth sauce. Serve warm within about 10 mins of making – it will thicken as it cools. Or warm through gently just before serving. The sauce may darken a little and will get stickier on reheating. Pour into a warm jug for serving.
How to freeze: Cool, pack into a polybag or airtight container. Seal, label and freeze. Use within 3 months. To defrost: Remove from the bag or container, put buns on a cooling rack and leave to thaw for 2-3 hrs. When ready to cook, crisp in a hot oven for 5-10 mins. Cool. Fill as above and serve with sauce.
When making the caramel sauce, you need to cook the sauce just long enough to bring it to a boil, but not too long as it will harden upon cooling.