Not all flour is created equal, especially whole grain flours. Products that were once elastic can become sticky, once light and fluffy muffins can become dense and crumbly without a second thought to the baker's fragile ego that wants nothing more than a delicate, warm pastry first thing in the morning. At a certain point, we are just going to have to accept that whole grain baking is not going to be as easy, or as predictable, as baking with refined flour. I would emphasize that not only is this not a bad thing, with a skilled hand and a little patience, it can be better!
The following recipe is from a friend of mine and I think really drives that fact home. 100% whole grain profiteroles. Yes, they are light, yes they have a huge pocket in the middle, yes they are 100% whole grain!
140g spelt flour
250g eggs (about 5 large eggs)
- medium pot
- wooden spoon
- kitchen aid (optional, but makes the recipe way easier)
- piping bag (again optional, also makes the recipe way easier)
- pastry brush
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
Measure the milk and butter into a medium sized pot. The spelt flour and salt can be measured together, the eggs should be measured and kept separate. Also preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Begin by placing the pot with the milk and butter together over medium-high heat. This mixture needs to come up to a boil. Once boiling, whisk the flour and salt mixture into the scalded milk and butter in an even stream. Try to be as even as possible when pouring the flour into the milk so there aren't any lumps in the batter. Once all the flour is whisked in, switch to the wooden spoon and keep stirring and cooking the mixture on high heat for three minutes. It should seize up pretty quickly into a ball, this is a good thing. When I made this recipe, some of the butter leaked out of the mixture. Just keep whisking the mixture together and it should reincorporate.
Once your mixture has cooked for 3 minutes, transfer the batter to a kitchen aid fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on speed 2 while incorporating one egg at a time. Make sure the egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Once all the eggs are in the batter should be relatively thick but spreadable. Think cake batter consistency. Put this mixture into a piping bag and cut a medium sized hole in the tip of the bag. Pipe the batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Shapes and sizes can vary, depending on what the desired end result is. I did about 1-1.5 inch rounds. Brush with an egg wash (1 egg, 1 tablespoon water, whisked together).
Bake the profiteroles at 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 12 minutes. The high heat in the beginning really makes the profiteroles pop and have a great structure, then the lower heat baking dries them out to have a crisp shell.
As your profiteroles are out of the oven poke through the bottom of them with a pairing knife to release the steam, do this as soon they are able to be handled. From here, let's talk fillings! Figuratively, almost anything can go inside a profiterole. Fill them with sweetened whipped cream (a la the Wisconsin State Fair), roasted red peppers and cream cheese, cheddar cheese spread (can you tell I'm from Wisconsin yet?) and enjoy!