Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs.

Oui!

You may not remember, but I wrote up how to make crepes here once long ago. A kind, enthusiastic woman I met from Paris taught me and it was so easy! At least as easy as pancakes. How had I been missing this? And we have had Saturday morning crepes ever since.

Then in Alabama once, visiting my Aunt at the Mistletoe Bough, we had a cream puff emergency! (Just because you’ve never had one, don’t scoff-its a real thing!)

A group of discerning ladies having a luncheon at the Inn, expecting cream puffs for dessert and none where to be found at the stores or bakeries. Cream Puff emergency!

So, here’s me saying, “How hard can it be? We’ll make some!” and having no idea how to make them or what was involved. Confidence, in spite of ignorance.

But, my friends, its crepes all over again! Easy-peasy. And I’ll even share the  cheater filling I found online.

 

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I don’t remember where I saw the recipe I used in Alabama, but its the same now as it was then. Delicious. This one is from the Julia Child book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” Volume one page 175.

But first, eggs. We went to the farmers market last week and bought a pack of 20 eggs for an outrageous amount of money. “But Linda,” I hear you saying” You have chickens in your back yard for gosh darn sake! Why buy eggs?”

“Because my sweetie-kins” I might answer, “They are getting old and are not laying as much as they used to. And there is Possum Pete to consider, who keeps sneaking in and getting eggs if we don’t collect them quick enough.”

That and we eat lots of eggs.

So I finally had used up our previous batches of organic eggs we bought from who-knows-where and I brought out the over-priced-better-be-wonderful eggs from the garage fridge.

What??

They’re huge!

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The one on the right is from one of our girls, the one on the left from super-chicken.

This recipe for Pate A Choux used 4 eggs. I looked at these again. Four huh? I weighed them. Over 3 oz each! My chickens egg was about 2.7 which is not a slouch apparently. Because according to Julia, an american large egg should weigh 2 oz. 2 flippen ounces? 

That means, if I used 4 of these jumbo-mega-tron eggs, I would be using about 12 or more ounces when the recipe needed only 8. Glad I looked. So I used 3 eggs-and even then- I whisked the last one in a bowl and saved some of it to brush on the top of the dough, pouring the rest in the batter, trying to keep it close to the 8 oz mark. Holey-moley Batman!

So, having straightened up the egg debacle, I proceeded with the easy recipe. You probably have everything you need already in your kitchen; flour, water, butter and eggs. A pinch of salt and a bit of sugar. Thats all you need to make the choux, or batter for puffs and eclairs.

Pate a choux (Puffs)

  • 6 Tbsp. of butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup of water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of flour (all purpose)
  • 4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 425

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the water and butter to a slow boil. Add the salt and sugar. Once the butter is melted, take the pan off the heat and add the flour all at once. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon, spatula or danish whisk until blended thoroughly. Put back on a medium high heat, just for a minute or so, beating the whole while, until it comes together into a cohesive ball.

Now take off the heat for good.

I put the batter into another deeper bowl for mixing at this point. And to help take the edge off the heat. Although Mrs. Child tells us to “immediately”  make a well in the dough and add an egg. Beat it in, then add another, beating in and so on until all 4 eggs are incorporated. There is your dough! (you might be afraid the eggs will cook, making gunky scambled eggs in your batter. Worry not!)

Get 2 baking sheets and line with parchment paper.

I used a scoop and scooped out little balls of dough, about 1″ high. Or you can use 2 spoons. Or you can put the dough into a pastry bag with a 1/2″ round tube tip.

Just squeeze, scoop or plop dough 2″ apart. Keep them round. It says to brush lightly with beaten egg. That means either using another egg or saving some of the previous eggs you used. I brushed egg on some and forgot the others and it made no real difference. But if you want, brush lightly on top of dough, not slopping it on or it will glue the dough to the pan as it bakes. Then they wont “puff”.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until they have browned and puffed about double, are firm and dry feeling.

***NOW, poke each with the tip of a knife, open them up a bit and put them BACK into the oven TURNING THE OVEN OFF and putting a wooden spoon handle in the door. Leave them for 10 minutes to dry out inside. This keeps them from becoming too soggy.

Now they are ready for any  kind of filling you want!

Here is a filling I found online. I made half a recipe because I only had 1 box of pudding mix and you needed 2. But the idea was, I didn’t want to have to make a special run to the store. Only wanted to use what I had. I could have made a filling with cream cheese and whipping cream. Instead I made this one.

Pudding Filling

  • 2 boxes of vanilla pudding mix (or heck, why not your favorite flavor?)
  • 1 1/3 cups of milk
  • 8 ounces of sour cream

just mix the pudding mix and milk. Then add in the sour cream, whisking until smooth. Put into the fridge at least an hour or until needed. It was wonderful! Next time I would try the cream cheese flavored pudding mix. The one I use for the strawberry cream trifle.

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Mixing in the eggs with a danish whisk.
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HA! Now I see where that missing tortilla went from last taco night!
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Look how they puff into magic clouds! This batch had no egg wash and were bigger puffs than the other pan. Hmm.
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Hollow inside. Mostly.

As I’m downloading these photos, I see scads of other food photos that never made it into a post. I take the pictures in the beginning of cooking, then forgot to get finished ones. Or I take some photos and a year later go back and am thinking “what the heck was that supposed to be?” Like this one…

 

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a type of shrimp scampi?

or this one…

 

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Yum, wish I could remember what this one was. Probably trying something new from a King Arthur recipe. Or one of my many baking mags.

Yes, I know, start labeling them. I mean to . Really I do…

Bon apetite!

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Apple Walnut Streusel Muffins

(Ha, spellcheck tried to turn ‘streusel’ into ‘stressful’. I can’t imagine muffins being stressful. Really? They are anti-stressful if you ask me. The cure for stress. A couple of these and some tea? Or a glass of milk or even coffee…)

First, Happy Mothers Day to all Mothers, grandmothers, foster mothers, God mothers, and anyone involved in mothering. 

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Since it was Mothers day, I figured I would make some of my own personal favorite muffins, apple walnut, although I do not have a go-to recipe really, like I do for some other recipes. This one is always hit and miss. So I dug through some of my favorite baking books.

This one is a hit! Continue reading “Apple Walnut Streusel Muffins”

Carrot Cake

This was a recipe originally from Taste of Home that I found so long ago, I had it written down on a recipe card.

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You know, not printed up on a computer or anything like that. Just hand written. Straight out of magazine I probably borrowed from my mom.

Its a great cake, a favorite among cake eaters, easy to whip up and-did I mention?- its got carrots so fiber, right? And pineapple! And nuts! Heck, this is practically a breakfast food, probably better for you than a bowl of cereal!

I print it here, now, just for you. So you can make your basic and delicious and much requested carrot cake. Continue reading “Carrot Cake”

A gratin of leeks, potatoes and cheese cooked in the French style

Here is a satisfying recipe and review submitted exclusively for La Petite by a  guest blogger, (and sweetie), author of “Thread and Bones”.

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“The other week I was on a plane and decided to re-watch the movie Julie and Julia, which, if you haven’t seen it, is an excellent though fatally flawed film starring the amazing Meryl Streep as Julia Child, who’s life is fascinating and delightful, written by the lovable Nora Ephron, and heavily featuring Food, in all it’s glory. Continue reading “A gratin of leeks, potatoes and cheese cooked in the French style”

Gingerbread Cake

(Here is an old favorite I made again last night. Its been 7 years since the original post, so I thought I would dust it off and bring it out for a run around the internet world before retiring again.)

So, what was your first cookbook? The one you got for your wedding, or Christmas, maybe when you first moved out? Mine was a Christmas gift from my dear mother. The “Betty Crocker Cookbook”  which is now missing it’s spine, is yellowed and stained with the ripply pages of a book that has had flour and egg wiped off with a wet towel. I still refer to it on occasion. Its the “new and revised” edition from 1978. (gosh, before lots of you were born!) Continue reading “Gingerbread Cake”

Spaghetti Sauce…Also, Gluten Free Meatballs

There you go, plain and simple.

Spaghetti sauce.

Conjures up a plate of steaming pasta, a deep red sauce, some cheese-snow sprinkled on top, perhaps a meatball or three.

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I think we know someone with their own wonderful special sauce, some takes all day, some are handed down from your mother-in-laws cousins grandma in Sicily. Continue reading “Spaghetti Sauce…Also, Gluten Free Meatballs”

Butternut and Bacon Bisque

My aunt and I were on a road trip together last fall (which is its own whole story) and one of the most memorable meals we had been a delightful lunch at a cafe on lake Winnipesaukee. We had just gone wild at the Keepsake Quilting store in Connecticut and were looking for a lunch of champions. We almost missed it, a little stand alone house converted to a cafe that just looked appealing. In fact I think we turned around to go back to it.  I would tell you the name of it if I could remember. (see photo below)

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I DO remember we split a lobster roll, the best I’d ever had, and each had a bowl of butternut bisque, wherein we both licked the bowl clean, looking over at the others bowls to see if maybe she missed a bit. Continue reading “Butternut and Bacon Bisque”

Crumb Buns or Best Streusel Coffeecake Ever!

I just had to share this with you (and the future me, in case I forget).20170127_164803163_ios

It is only just the best coffeecake I can recall ever eating! It’s a yeasted dough, soft,  moist with incredible crumbles of streusel on top.

I just bought, on a whim, a copy of the newest “Cooks Country” magazine. We were browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble on my dear hubby’s birthday, before going out to dinner. Bookstore exploring is a long standing tradition, going back to our dating years, in the age of the dinosaur (or the age of the used bookstores on every corner).

Warning, if you just want this fabulous recipe, either go out and get the Cooks
Country magazine for Feb/March 2017 or see below. If you are not in a hurry, then… Continue reading “Crumb Buns or Best Streusel Coffeecake Ever!”