This dessert takes some time to prepare, and is better to make for a crowd than for two. There are three stages to the recipe: making the cream puffs, making the chocolate sauce, and assembling the dessert.
1) First, make the cream puffs.
This recipe makes about 36 puffs, which may well be more than you need. But they freeze well – and can be easily defrosted and reheated on another occasion.
1/2 cup (10 cl) water
1/2 cup (10 cl) milk
1/4 pound (110 g.) butter
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (140 g.) flour
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (425 F, 220 C). Prepare a baking sheet: cover with parchment paper or, if that is not available, grease with butter.
Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a large saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat, pour in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended.
Place the saucepan back over medium heat and continue beating with the wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
Make a well in the middle of the mixture and break an egg into it. Mix thoroughly with the wooden spoon until the egg is completely incorporated into the dough. Repeat one by one with the other four eggs. Now your dough is ready, and should be used while still warm.
On the baking sheet, place a spoonful of dough about the size of a large walnut to form each cream puff. Do not place them too close together, for they will double in size. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Be careful: if you remove the puffs too soon, they may collapse. Allow to cool before serving.
2) Now, make the chocolate sauce.
The cognac is optional and may be omitted or replaced by another flavoring — coffee, crème de cassis, Calvados, etc.
1/2 pound (200 g.) semi-sweet dark chocolate
4 tbsp. milk
4 tsp. cognac
Melt the chocolate over low heat. As it begins to melt, stir in the milk and cognac. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more milk.
3) Finally, assemble the dessert.
These quantities will serve 6 people. Adjust as necessary.
18 cream puffs
3 cups (3/4 liter) vanilla ice cream
Split the cream puffs in two. Place a small scoop of ice cream inside each puff. Place 3 filled puffs on each plate and drizzle with the hot chocolate sauce. Serve at once.