Vandbakkelser has a reputation of being difficult to make, that they collapse easily. I personally have never experienced that problem. I think the most important thing to remember when making Vandbakkelser is not to open the oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking. When you start researching Vandbakkelser you’ll find that there are many different theories out there on how to make them. Some go into great detail about starting the oven at a high temperature and then finish baking at a lower temperature. Some bake and then cut a slit into the vandbakkelse to allow steam to escape. Some bake and then turn off oven and let Vandbakkelser sit in the oven for another 10 minutes (this sound like a good idea if your having trouble with your Vandbakkelser being too moist on the inside). Or you can bake, then turn off oven and crack open door and allow to cool inside oven. And finally, some simply just bake and place the baking sheet with Vandbakkelser on a cooling rack, which is what I did today. To test for doneness remove one pastry from the oven and if it does not collapse the remaining pastries should be done as well, just remember not to open the oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking.
There are also several different ways to place the Vandbakkelser onto the baking sheet. You can use two spoons to form a rounded ball of dough or simply just drop spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Or you can load the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip and pipe onto parchment paper. You could also use a small ice cream scoop, load and drop onto baking sheet. Whichever method you choose, have fun with it. If your dough ends up having a small pointy tip on it, wet a finger and gently push it down to avoid the tip baking and browning faster than the remaining dough.
I cut the original recipe in half so I would only get 8-10 Vandbakkelser but if you want the original larger portion it’s simply just a matter of doubling the ingredients up (water 2 1/2 deciliter or 1 cup, butter 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz, flour 130 gram or 4 1/2 oz, 4 eggs). Also, I did some experimenting with dropping the dough onto the baking sheet. I used two spoons (left side of picture below) and I piped the dough (right side of picture below). I prefer dropping the dough with spoons because when you pipe it, it is easy to lift up just a little with your piping bag at the end creating a small extra top of dough. As you can see on the finished pastries below (right) it forms as an extra little top on the pastry.
This recipe came from the Danish web site Kvalimad where Max has a really nice video showing the process of making the Choux pastry dough . If you are not Danish of course you won’t understand the words but the video speaks for itself :)
Alternative fillings: soft ice cream, your favorite flavored jam, pudding, 50/50 Chantilly cream (flødeskum) and custard, Chantilly cream with strawberries, instead of the chocolate sauce you could also use a simple chocolate icing (glasur).
Vandbakkelser aka Profiteroles: (makes 8-10)
1/2 cup water (1 1/4 deciliter)
1 3/4 ounces butter (50 grams)
2 1/4 ounces flour (65 grams)
1 cup heavy cream (240 milliliter)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (170 grams)
1/2 cup heavy cream (120 milliliter)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit).
Bring water and butter to a simmer. Add all flour at one time and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough comes together in a ball. Remove from heat and cool down until you can keep a finger in the dough without burning yourself (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time stirring vigorously after each egg until dough is a smooth thick sticky paste. Spoon or pipe dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If there is a pointy top on your dough, wet a finger and gently press it down. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Do not open oven door during the first 20 miuntes or they may collapse. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.
To make Cantilly Cream:
Beat heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract until desired consistency.
To make Chocolate Sauce:
Bring heavy cream and vanilla extract just to a simmer. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips, and using a submersion blender, mix until you have a smooth sauce.
The Chocolate Sauce can also be made by placing chocolate, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water, stir until completely melted and smooth.
To assemble Vandbakkelser:
Cut cooled pastry in half and place a dollop of Chantilly cream. Place cut off pastry top, on top of cream. Pour warm chocolate sauce on top and serve. Enjoy!
Source for Vandbakkelser: Kvalimad