Tricky, but worth it.
200ml/7fl oz cold water
85g/3oz unsalted butter
115g/4oz plain flour
3 medium eggs, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 250C
2. To make the pastry, place the butter and water into a large saucepan.
3. Place over a low heat to melt the butter. Increase the heat and shoot in the flour and salt all in one go.
4. Remove from the heat and quickly beat the mixture vigorously until a smooth paste is formed, stirring continuously to dry out the paste. Now, this is tricky to explain, but try to imagine the inch of air above the mix is an ingredient that you are trying to mix in. The more air you get in there, the better they’ll rise. (Handy hint: you can also cheat a bit and add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda with the flour.)
5. Once the paste curls away from the side of the pan, transfer the mixture into a large bowl.
6. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, stirring vigorously until the paste is smooth and glossy. This takes a bit of experience, and you may need one more or one less egg than I’ve said, depending on how it mixes.
7. Continue adding the egg until you have a soft dropping consistency. The mixture will be shiny and smooth and will fall reluctantly from a spoon if it is given a sharp jerk.
8. Lightly oil a large baking tray. Dip a teaspoon into some warm water and spoon out a teaspoon of the profiterole mixture. Rub the top of the mixture with a wet finger and spoon on to the baking tray.
9. Cook them for about 5 minutes in the top of the oven, then reduce the temp to 200C for about 15 more minutes.
For a delicious savoury starter, mix some goats cheese with some steamed vegetables for the filling.
If you prefer them sweet, add half a teaspoon of sugar in with the butter.