Pumpkin Custard Profiteroles with Maple Caramel

Choux à la crème, Profiteroles, Cream Puffs, シュークリーム, or whatever name you use, this is a treat.  Today’s treat is not just any ordinary treat, it’s a Thanksgiving treat.  This definitely swerves away from your traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but I’m thinking as long as you have Fall-ish connection it’ll work; in this case we have pumpkin and maple! 

Let me tell you again; please do not be intimidated by the long recipe.  Just organize and divide them into different components, and you’ll be fine.  The beauty with this recipe is that many of the components can be done 1 day to a week ahead of time.  With busy Thanksgiving day cooking, being able to prepare ahead of time really helps.  I got today’s recipe from Epicurious.

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Maple caramel : can be made 3 days ahead

  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (if you don’t like strong bourbon flavor, cut this into 1/8 cup).
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pumpkin custard : can be made 1 day ahead; keep chilled

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 2 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 9 large egg yolks

**You will yield more than 16 fillings from this recipe.  Either cut this recipe into half, or just make the exact amount and make tons of profiterole shells.  Eating custard alone is very good too, a bit of a guilty pleasure. 

    Profiteroles : Will yield about 16; can be made 1 week ahead; store in airtight container in freezer, remove from freezer a few hours before continuing

    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • Lightly sweetened whipped cream
    • 1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped  (I used toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped)

    For maple caramel:
    Stir sugar and butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until blended and smooth. Whisk in cream. Bring to boil, stirring until caramel bits dissolve. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon and vanilla; simmer 1 minute. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
    **Maple Sugar isn’t cheap; however, it does add such rich and wonderful flavor to your caramel sauce.  If you cannot find maple sugar you can substitute with date sugar or dark brown sugar.
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    For pumpkin custard:
    Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk cream and next 6 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk sugar and egg yolks in medium bowl. Gradually stir hot pumpkin mixture into egg yolk mixture.
    Pour pumpkin custard into 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish; cover with foil. Place dish in 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Fill baking pan with enough hot water to come halfway up sides of dish. Bake until custard is set in center, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool completely. Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

    For profiteroles:
    Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring 1/2 cup water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Stir in flour; cook over medium-high heat, stirring vigorously, until dough is smooth and pulls away from sides of pan, about 1 minute. Transfer hot mixture to standing mixer. Beat dough with paddle attachment at medium speed until slightly cool, about 3 minutes. Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in egg yolk until blended.  ** If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use the hand mixer or a large whisk. 
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    Spoon 16 mounds of batter about the size of large eggs onto prepared sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Beat remaining egg in small bowl to blend. Brush tops of profiteroles lightly with beaten egg. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F. Continue baking until puffed and dark golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer to rack to cool completely. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container in freezer. Remove from freezer a few hours before continuing.)

    Rewarm caramel sauce. Using serrated knife, slice profiteroles horizontally in half. Spoon rounded 1/3 cup filling into bottom half of each profiterole. Cover with top halves. Drizzle with sauce. Spoon dollop of whipped cream atop profiteroles. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and serve.

    **Another recipe for profiteroles:  I made the above profiteroles and they were denser than the usual profiteroles.  I think the above recipe calls for too much butter.  The taste was great, but didn’t like the texture.  I used the recipe I had with me for many many years, this yields about 16:

    6 Tablespoons butter
    1 Tablespoon sugar
    1 cup water
    1 cup flour
    4 eggs

    Bring butter, sugar, and water to a boil in a saucepan, add flour and stir quickly.  Turn off the heat and add one egg at a time as you whisk.  When the mixture is smooth scoop mound of about 16.  Bake in a 375F pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.  Cool them down, and cut into halves. 
    These are the profiteroles from my recipe.
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    Side by side view:  left: my profiteroles; right: Epicurious recipe
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    I made these arrangements with the smaller Epicurious profiteroles.  With the larger ones (which mine turned out to be), you can simply dust some powdered sugar.

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    My opinion:  You know what this recipe reminded me of?  It was like seeing Laura Ingalls from “The Little House on a Prairie”  turn into Katy Perry, seriously.   This is not your traditional pumpkin pie at all, in fact it’s not pie at all, these are  really smooth and yummy pumpkin custard filling on steroids (with maple sugar caramel sauce with bourbon in it!!!).   So so sooooo yummy!!!

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    4 thoughts on “Pumpkin Custard Profiteroles with Maple Caramel

    1. I made this delectable dessert on Thanksgiving day….I had 3 by the end of the day…they are so moreish (if you have one, you have to have another). I felt like I was rebelling on my old faithful pumpkin pie somehow…so worth the cheating….lovely, lovely!Brenda

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