Long ago, I lived in a place where the least expensive English language magazines were British, and I clipped a recipe much like this from one of them. I wish I could given it credit, but I can’t find its name anywhere on the clipping. However, the author’s name was Debra Shipley; whether she’s the same Debra Shipley who served as a Member of Parliament, or the one who wrote a number of travel guides, or neither, I don’t know. Thanks go out to her, anyway.
Though the recipe looked so good, I never got around to using it. The measurements were given the British way, by weight instead of volume, and I was both too lazy to look up the conversions and afraid I’d get the math wrong. Years went by, and I came back to North America, read lots of books on cooking, discovered blending flour, learned to trust my own judgement, and finally felt ready to concoct my own recipe for tomato profiteroles (if you put cheese in the dough, they’re gougeres). So this is a mashup of the original British recipe, the choux paste recipe from The Joy of Cooking, and Michael Ruhlman’s choux paste ratio from, well, Ratio.
There’s no need to use these pastry shells right away; they hold their shape and can even be frozen. And of course there’s no need to limit yourself to tomatoes as filling. The original recipe called for cooking the tomatoes lightly in oil first, but that’s optional. Also, if you don’t have a gem pan, you can bake the shells on a greased cookie sheet — just put them on in teaspoonfuls. (“5p-sized” were the original words.)
Editor’s Note: This would be a great recipe for a Labor Day party, and you may also like this article for party favors for Labor Day.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- ½ cup blending flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 24 cherry or grape tomatoes
- Bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan
- Remove from heat.
- Whisk in flour. The dough should form a ball away from the sides of the saucepan.
- Let the dough cool for a few minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, till everything is thoroughly mixed.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 350℉.
- Grease gem (mini-muffin) pan.
- Spoon about a teaspoon of dough into each section.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until slightly browned.
- Cut a slit in the center of each puff to let the steam out.
- When they’re cooled, fill the hollow in each puff with a halved cherry tomato.
- Reheat for five minutes at 400℉ if you want.