Happy 4th Birthday, Ella (Profiteroles)
Happy 4th Birthday, our dearest Ella! My, my, my... what a big girl you are! Yesterday, we celebrated YOU and who needed birthday cake when we could have PROFITEROLES!?
But, before we got to the yummy bit... we got to have a day of being outdoors and spending time with animals!
Since we now live in the Alps, there's always something to do outside... whether it's lakes, mountains, road trips, or animals - we can always find something fun to do! This weekend we went to the Nattererboden.
The Nattererboden, located in Natters, a Tirolean municipality not far from Innsbruck, is a lovely, back to nature compound complete with a farm, vacation huts, guest rooms, playground, and nature trails! There's a little something for everyone! You can even have your wedding there, too!
But, of course, the first business of order upon arrival was getting ice cream!
Historical records date the Nattererboden to the 18th Century when in 1843, the Jesuits purchased this complex. The well, discovered in 1978, was their creation, as well as the wine cellar still in use today. The cellar is constructed in such a way that it is rare to find one of its kind in this day and age!
The Jesuits are deeply intertwined with Austria's history... I would love to dive into it a little deeper here but it's a little too deep for a four year old's birthday post, if you know what I mean. So, here are a few links to their history here and here, to their history with Austria here, to the only female Jesuit (maybe), and to their churches in Innsbruck and Hall (I live twenty steps away!). Have fun!
And, back to the Nattererboden!
They have so many animals here... many are tame and walk around the compound - they even let you pet them... watch out! The alpaca will hop in the pool with you!
|The Over Protective Mama & Dada Geese|
|My Little Horse Whisperer, Back in Action|
|Curious Billy Goats|
|"Mooo... I See You..."|
|Princess, The Alpaca|
|Happy Birthday, Ella!!|
. . .
So, the real business of the day begins with deciding what kind of dessert to make for the birthday girl. I decided to forgo the usual American style birthday sheet cake and make something that I haven't made in a long while - Profiteroles!
The process is long, and the road is filled with possible pit falls - but the destination is utterly divine and worth the sweat!
First, you must make a batch of choux pastry which will lead you to the cream puff portion of this dessert. Then, you must make a big batch of chantilly cream - aka vanilla shocked whipped cream - that is the filling. And, finally, you must make a bowl of thick chocolate sauce that will bring it all together as a delectable taste in your mouth!
Choux Pastry, Chantilly Creme adapted from Baker Bettie
Chocolate Sauce adapted from Ina Garten
* I used only 3 eggs. I've read online that there are several things that can influence a good or bad batch of cream puffs... This is why the eggs are added one by one and mixed thoroughly... you are looking for that sweet spot where the dough is still stiff enough to hold its mound like shape once you pipe it. A little too much egg and you've got pancake batter - oh no!
* I couldn't find my piping tips, so I took the lazy route and used a large zip lock bag with the corner bit cut out. Worked like a charm!
* My oven is old and a little hard to predict - I had to take them out after the first baking step because I was afraid they would burn if I left them in too long.
* During the cooling phase, I used a knife and poked a half inch slit along the sides of the puffs to let any trapped steam escape - soggy puffs are not puffs at all!
* OMG, totally unprepared - I had no honey, no coffee, and only 1/4 of the chocolate I needed. And, we are not the "just dust the cream puffs with powdered sugar" kind of people. We need the chocolate!!
* So, luckily I found some left over Easter bunnies in the cabinet and threw those into the mix!