A profiterole or cream puff or Eddie (United States regionalism) is a popular choux pastry. Choux paste is baked into small round puffs that are served cold with a sweet filling and sometimes a topping. The usual fillings are whipped cream and pastry cream. The puffs may be left plain or cut to resemble swans or decorated with chocolate sauce, caramel, or a dusting of powdered sugar. This dessert is not to be confused with puff pastry.
The most common dessert presentations involve ice cream, whipped cream or a pastry cream filling, and are served plain, with chocolate sauce, or with a crisp caramel glaze. They can also be topped with powdered sugar, frosting, or fruit.
Filled and glazed with caramel, they are assembled into a type of pièce montée called croquembouches, often served at weddings in France. Profiteroles are also used as the outer wall of Gâteau St-Honoré.
The origin of both the pastry and its name profiterole are obscure.
The word profiterole (also spelled prophitrole, profitrolle, profiterolle) has existed in English since the 16th century, borrowed from French. The original meaning in both English and French is unclear, but later it came to mean a kind of roll 'baked under the ashes'. A 17th-century French recipe for a Potage de profiteolles or profiterolles describes a soup of dried small breads (presumably the profiteroles) simmered in almond broth and garnished with cockscombs, truffles, and so on. The current meaning is only clearly attested in the 19th century.