Today marks our second instalment from The Town Mouse team - a deceptively simple appetiser of savoury profiteroles filled with creamy goats cheese, and perfectly complemented with a smear of rooftop honey (harvested from their own rooftop!) and a sprinkle of caraway and thyme. So understated but so seriously tasty! YES you do need a piping bag but don't FREAK OUT on me, you can buy one from the supermarket, people. These tasty pre-dinner morsels do take a little more effort than chip and dip, but as Christian says below - we think they're worth the effort! - Lucy
Goats Cheese Profiteroles with Caraway, Thyme and Honey by The Town Mouse, photo - Sean Fennessy.
The first mouthful of any dinner or dinner party always sets the scene for the evening – it's got to be tasty, complex, and delicious enough to build the excitement for the next course to come – but not so filling that you over indulge and spoil your appetite. Those who were around in the early '80s, or whose parents were in the prime of their culinary evolution around the same time, will recall the profiterole or its savoury sibling the gougère, from many a special occasion. The elaborate hors d'oeuvre is now something of a lost art as dinner parties become less formal affairs, however these tasty morsels tick all the boxes of nostalgia, decadence, flavour and texture and we think they're worth the effort.
At our restaurant we are lucky to have a hive of honey bees on our roof that is maintained by the Rooftop Honey
company. Not only is it cool to have a hive of busy bee 'slaves' collecting nectar from the neighbourhood to feed our hungry guests, but with each new batch of honey we are really able to 'taste' the season, as the flavour of the honey is affected considerably by the types of flowers that are in bloom at the time the nectar is stored.
For centuries the people of the Mediterranean have enjoyed the combination of goats cheese, honey, and the wild thyme that grows in the hills all around, so these profiteroles are our modern interpretation of a classic, with a few added textural twists. Their petite size can make them seem harmless, and it's easy to eat 'just one more' without saving any for your guests, so be sure to make a few extra instead of accidentally sampling them all yourself before your guests actually arrive!
For the profiteroles
14g milk powder
90g strong flour
For the goats cheese mousse
125g cream cheese
80g goats curd
For the caraway salt
5g caraway seeds
3g sea salt
Dave pipes goats cheese into the profiteroles. Photo - Sean Fennessy.
For the profiteroles
Place the water and butter in a pot and warm until the butter melts. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and then add to the butter water liquid, whisk to combine thoroughly. Using a wooden spoon bring this mix up to the boil while stirring, cook gently for 1-2 minutes until it comes away from the sides of the pan and the flour doesn’t taste raw.
Transfer this mix into a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment mix until luke warm. When the paste is cool enough that it won’t cook the eggs add the eggs in slowly, waiting until it is emulsified before adding the next.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a 5mm nozzle and pipe onto a paper lined baking tray making sure there is enough space between. Bake at 190c for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off and slightly crack the door open, this will help them dry out right through. When crisp let them cool then store in an airtight container.
For the goats curd mousse
In a wide bowl combine both of the cheeses and blend until smooth, making sure you scrape down the sides to prevent any lumps. Season with salt, transfer to a piping bag and chill.
For the caraway salt
Lightly toast the caraway seeds in a pan over a medium flame, when aromatic transfer to a mortar and pestle. Add the salt and grind into a fine powder.
Very carefully make a small hole in the base of each profiterole using a small knife, fill each profiterole with the goats cheese mousse. Place a small amount of honey on the serving plate, add some thyme leaves, lightly sprinkle with the caraway salt and place the profiterole on top.
MASSIVE thanks to The Town Mouse team for sharing their impressive culinary repertoire with us this month. If you’d rather leave your profiterole piping to the experts, you could always pop in to The Town Mouse at 312 Drummond St, Carlton, where you will find this and many more amazing dishes on the menu! Say hi from us!
Goats Cheese Profiteroles with Caraway, Thyme and Honey by The Town Mouse - they don't last long! Photo - Sean Fennessy.