THIS week it’s National Chocolate Week so this week’s recipe is dedicated to just that (and come on, who doesn’t need an excuse to eat chocolate?!). Now in its 15th year, it aims to promote the skills and expertise that goes into producing fine chocolate and supports the independent chocolatiers and companies that work in direct partnership with cocoa farmers.

Although cocoa (or cacao) has been consumed for over 4,000 years, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the production of chocolate was modernised and the chocolate revolution was born.

When it comes to cooking with chocolate, the finer the quality the better the finished result (generally speaking). Dark, 100% cacao or very high percentage chocolate is normally used in savoury cooking to create rich, intense flavours – try adding a couple of squares to a beef chilli or create a rich sauce to accompany steak, venison or game.

We’re all more familiar with the sweeter side of chocolate so today I’m sharing my recipe for a classic, much-loved dessert. Making your own profiteroles isn’t as complicated as it seems so I’d urge you to give it a go. It’s also a fun recipe to try with children who’ll enjoy the different stages of the process. Select a good quality chocolate with the certified fair trade mark – it’ll make all the difference.


(serves 6)

60g unsalted butter

75g patisserie flour or strong white flour, sifted

150ml water

Pinch salt

2 eggs, beaten

For the cream filling:

300ml double cream

½tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp. icing sugar

For the chocolate sauce:

150g milk or dark chocolate

50ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 220c/430F/gas 7 and lightly grease a large baking tray.

Heat the water in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the butter, stirring continuously and once it is completely melted, remove from the heat and quickly add the sifted flour and salt. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to create a ball of dough. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then beat in the eggs one by one until it resembles a smooth and glossy paste.

Rinse the greased baking tray under cold water and shake off any excess so that it’s still damp – this will create steam in the oven which will help the pastry to rise.

Using a teaspoon, place spoonful’s of the choux paste onto the baking sheet about 3cm apart. You could also use a piping bag for more uniform shaped profiteroles.

Bake in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes or until the profiteroles are well risen and nicely browned and golden. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door during cooking as this might cause the profiteroles to collapse.

Remove from the oven and quickly pierce the side of each one to let the steam escape. Return the profiteroles to oven for another 5 minutes to crisp up then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

When you are ready to serve the profiteroles, whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar until thickened enough to form soft peaks.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, pour in the 50ml of double cream and stir to create a lovely rich sauce.

Fill the profiteroles with the cream by either splitting them in half or by creating a small hole and piping the cream inside. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and serve immediately, either on their own or with some more cream or ice cream on the side.