Savory Cream Cheese Profiteroles, vegetarian appetizer
A vegetarian appetizer that looks fancy but is quite easy to make. The most difficult part in making these savory cream cheese profiteroles is the choux pastry but I’m going to give you all the tips and tricks I learned through the years to succeed!
To make these profiteroles, you first have to bake gougères.
Gougères are choux buns that are baked with cheese. You can either incorporate the cheese into the dough or sprinkle it on top right before baking. I prefer the second version as I find it makes nicer round balls, empty on the inside. In France, we usually eat them as a snack while having a drink with friends or family before dinner. They are delicious warm, just a few minutes after you took them out of the oven. This is definitely something you want to eat the day of, kept longer, they get soft. Anyways, you won’t resist that amazing smell!
Choux pastry is a bit technical
and might requires you to play around with your oven. It makes it even more satisfying when you see it rising in the oven or when you bite into it to make sure the inside is empty, success!
The way I bake it never failed me, even with my actual not so great oven. I preheat it to 425°F – 220°C, put the choux pastry in for 10 minutes, turning the oven off. After 10 minutes, I put the oven back on to 330°F – 165°C, and bake the choux for another 20 minutes. Remember to never open the door when baking choux pastry.
Freezing choux pastry
Since choux pastry is something you can’t keep for a long time without the quality being altered, I like to bake the amount I need and freeze the rest raw.
To do so, I pipe the choux on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, egg wash and flatten them with a fork. You don’t need to leave space between them since it’s just for the storage. Wait for a couple of hours to place them in an airtight container – I cut the parchment paper which the choux are on and transfer them like that. When you want to bake the choux, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, let them defrost at room temperature for about 30 minutes and bake them.
Filling the profiteroles
You could fill the profiteroles by making a hole in the choux like I showed you for the cream puffs. But I think it’s prettier to cut them open and to bring a bit of height. Plus the cream cheese has the perfect consistency to make a nice swirl. And you can add something else on top like I did with the garlic blend sprouts. Some nuts for example.
I did a Mediterranean style filling with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and thyme but you can use different spices, herbs and vegetables. I also didn’t find it necessary to add salt because of the saltiness of the olives.
You can make the profiteroles a bit ahead of time an store them in the fridge, I wouldn’t make them more than 12 hours ahead. The choux pastry might get soggy and the cream cheese dry on the outside.
- ⅔ cup water 150 ml
- ⅓ cup butter 75 g – in pieces
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 160 g
- ½ tsp salt 3 g
- 3 eggs 150 – 160 g
- 1 egg for the egg wash
- dried thyme to sprinkle
- shredded cheese to sprinkle – I used gruyere
Cream cheese filling
- 36 oz cream cheese – 4 packages 1 kg
- ½ cup Kalamata olives 100 g
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes 100 g
- garlic sprouts
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 pinch pepper
- paprika to sprinkle – optional
- Preheat the oven to 425°F – 220°C.
- In a pot, put the water, salt and butter. Bring to a boil on medium heat.
- In the meantime, weigh the flour and the eggs.Prepare the egg wash – beat the egg with a fork with a pinch of salt ; a glass of water with a fork ; a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a piping bag with a round tip.
- When the water starts to boil and the butter is dissolved, pour in the flour and mix straight away with a wooden spoon to dry the pastry, count 1 minute.
- Once dried, place in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix for a couple minutes with the paddle on medium speed so that the steam goes away and the choux pastry finish drying out.
- Keep mixing, adding one egg at a time and scraping the bowl each time.
- Place the dough in the piping bag and stick the parchment paper with a bit of dough in the corners.Pipe Ø 1.2 inch – 3 cm choux, leaving some space between them.
- Egg wash lightly with a brush and flatten softly with the fork – dip it in the water every other choux so it doesn't stick.
- Sprinkle dried thyme and shredded cheese.
- Put in the preheated oven and turn it off for 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven back on at 330°F – 165°C, and keep baking for 20 more minutes. Don't open the door!
- Allow to cool down at room temperature.
Filling the profiteroles
- Cut the choux with a serrated knife.
- In a bowl, beat the cream cheese to make it smoother.
- Mince the olives and sun-dried tomatoes and add them to the cream cheese along with the thyme and pepper.
- Fill a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe in the choux, making a nice swirl.
- Place a few sprouts on top of the cream cheese and cover with the hat of the choux.
- Sprinkle lightly with paprika.