I can't remember the first time I had Nutella. I know it wasn't until I was in my mid-20s. I think it might have been at a grocery store as a sample because all I ever knew to do with it was spread it on toast. When Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Shelly from A Home in Rome declared World Nutella Day to be February 6, 2007, they challenged us all to come up with creative ways to eat this wonderful "chocolaty hazelnut spread".
I had never even thought of using Nutella in a recipe. Since I am not the "make my own recipe" kind of gal, I did a search online. I really wanted to make a Nutella and banana sandwich, but I figured I would go with something more challenging and make the sandwich with whatever is left in the jar. Aren't I crafty?
Giada De Laurentiis has several recipes listed on the Food Network site which use hazelnut spread. I settled on making Profiteroles with Ricotta Mascarpone because they looked so elegant. I'm not much of a baker, so if I am going to bake I want to make something really neat.
I was surprised how nicely the Profiteroles turned out. Light and perfect looking. And those came from me? From my little bowl and oven? I do suggest serving these the same day that you cook them. I knew I wouldn't eat all 12 so I made everything the night before and then brought it into work and assembled it there the next day. I had stored the Profiteroles in an air-tight freezer bag but I noticed they had considerable more moisture in them the next day. They seems to have a nicer crispness to them the evening before.
Profiteroles with Ricotta Mascarpone
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a heavy large baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Combine the water, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Add the flour and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Cool 5 minutes.
Crack 2 eggs into a measuring cup. Use a wooden spoon to beat the eggs into the dough, 1 at a time. Spoon 10 or 12 (1 1/2-inch) mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl to blend. Gently brush the egg over the dough mounds (do not drip the egg onto the baking sheet).
Bake the pastries until they are amber brown, about 50 minutes. Allow the pastries to cool completely.
Mix the mascarpone, ricotta, vanilla, and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until cold. Using a serrated knife, cut the tops off the pastry and set aside. Spoon the mascarpone mixture into the pastries and top with its lid.
Combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warm. Stir the mixture. Spoon the chocolate-hazelnut sauce atop the pastries. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve.