Cheese Profiteroles with Roasted Tomato Pesto


It’s already February! Where did January go? I feel like it’s been forever since my last post. I know I’m not on a strict posting schedule, but I would like it to be twice a month. In the past month, however, things have been so crazy and hectic with the CMA courses, that I haven’t had time to even take down my Christmas tree yet, let alone cook and bake! Someone suggested to keep the tree up until Mar 20th, so I can celebrate a 4th new year this year – Persian New Year (along with Catholic, Orthodox and Berber). Hmmm…I think my guilty conscience won’t allow that, as it was supposed to be gone after January 14th. So, this past Sunday I thought I would make cheese puffs/profiteroles with tomato pesto. The stood out for me when I was flipping through the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be a nice snack. I wish there were more days in the week or hours in a day…there are so many things to do and no time to do it.

I call these profiteroles because the procedure of making them is very similar to sweet profiteroles – a traditional French pastry. Water and butter are boiled, flour is cooked into it on the stove and eggs added one at a time to make sticky soft dough. When they bake, the dough rises and leaves a hole on the inside and gets crunchy on the outside. In the US and UK, these would be better known as cream puffs, and filled with all sorts of fillings. I thought it would be a nice twist on a traditional recipe.

Tomato pesto was a first for me. I like my pesto very simple – pine nuts, basil, olive oil, sometimes garlic. This one had roasted tomato crushed into the mix. The tangyness from the tomato give the pesto another dimension of taste. I also thought to substitute pine nuts with walnuts, just for fun :). I must say, these were best served warm, and especially great to munch on while say…reading a book for the new book club Tea’s organizing. The book this month is Name of The Rose, and it’s getting more interesting with every page. I’m excited to see how the first meeting will go. Tea’s idea to mix alcohol into the discussion of the book was brilliant, so I can only imagine what that will look like 🙂

As I sit here at a cafe, editing these photos and writing this post, I’m looking outside on the cold February evening and wondering how much longer it will be this freezing outside. The only nice thing about the cold is warming up with a hot latte or hot chocolate….to contemplate life and the purpose of it all. Maybe there is no purpose? Maybe the purpose is to make cheese profiteroles and take pictures of them? If that is what makes you happy. I’m excited about tonight because I am going to see Blue Valentine, which I’ve wanted to see since TIFF. It looks very raw and unforgiving, which would be a nice change from all the other Hollywood fluff.
Until next post – toodles!

Click on each photo to view the high resolution images.

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RECIPE

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Cheese Puffs with Roasted Tomato Pesto

 
Cheese Puffs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • ½ cup (125 mL) butter
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) grated fontina cheese
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried mustard
Roasted Tomato Pesto
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped basil
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped pine nuts
 1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
2. Bring water, butter and salt to a rolling boil over medium heat. Remove pot from heat and add flour immediately. Beat together with a wooden spoon until flour is incorporated. Return to heat and continue to beat until dough leaves sides of pot and a film has covered the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
 3. Using a wooden spoon, beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated and mixture is very shiny and soft. Beat in cheese and mustard.
4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) tube, pipe balls 1-inch (2.5-cm) in size. If the balls have little points, wet your finger and press them down. If you do not have a piping bag use a wet tablespoon and drop mounds onto baking sheets.
5. Bake for 15 minutes. Prick each puff with a skewer to let steam escape. Reduce heat to 350ºF (180ºC) and bake for 15 minutes onger or until golden. Switch the positions of the baking sheets in the oven halfway through to ensure even baking. Remove from oven, prick puffs
once more and let cool on sheets.
6. Increase oven temperature to 450ºF (230ºC).
7. To make filling, toss tomatoes with 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil, salt and pepper. Place tomatoes, cut-side up on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until shrunken and slightly browned but still juicy.
Remove from oven and let cool. Place tomatoes in a food processor. Add basil, Parmesan, remaining 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil and pine nuts. Process until just combined. Season with salt to taste.
8. Slice cheese puffs almost all the way through horizontally. Fill with ½ tsp (2 mL) tomato pesto.
Makes about 30 puffs
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4 responses to “Cheese Profiteroles with Roasted Tomato Pesto

  1. This looks really yummy. Love the basil leaves as props. In the first photo the orange line on the table cloth works very well as a leading line but the black one is distracting. Maybe because the bottom part is in focus? In my very humble opinion…

    • Thanks M 🙂
      And thank you for leaving a comment – this is exactly what I’m looking for – constructive criticisms…the only way to improve 🙂
      Honestly, I didn’t even notice the black line…it’s just something on the cloth, but now that I look at it again, I must say I agree with you. It’s weird how different people notice different things…and exactly why I appreciate the comments. Thanks again! and yay..you’re back!

  2. They did not even tell me that you comented on my comment. So I just saw this now.

    I am glad that you are indeed looking for constructive crit. I figured you might as you were asking my brother all those questions about your Morrocan photos. So I went ahead as I totally empathize with you: no one wants to critize my photos eighter 😦

    Just back from Norway, email to follow

  3. Thanks so much!
    I’ll comment on your photos! Where are they!
    Yay, e-mail! Looking forward to it!

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