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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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…
or this one…
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…