Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cream Puffs


(Google Image)

By Diane Forrest,

Today is the official end of the holiday season, and everyone returns back to work and school and making plans for the New Year.  Many folks have spent the last month going from party to party eating holiday foods and lots of sweet treats.  For those of you who are tired of all the holiday fare...and who didn’t make a resolution to go on a diet, today is a great day for you!

Today is National Cream Puff Day.  Cream Puffs are a light and delicious dessert that originated in Europe sometime during the 1540's when Catherine de Medici's pastry chef created the baked puffed shells for Catherine’s husband, Henry II of France.  To look at them, and taste them you would think you would have to be a French chef to make them, but they are really quite easy.

When I turned 15, I got an electric spritzer maker that could also be used to insert fillings in desserts, and pipe out any kind of dough.  The first recipe I tried was the éclair, because it sounded so exotic.  A cream puff is simply a smaller éclair, almost bite size depending on how large or small you make them.

(Google Image) 

So today, on National Cream Puff Day, surprise and delight your family and friends with your culinary talents and try some delicious cream puffs.

Cream Puffs

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonful’s onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
  4. When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pudding mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.

I like to stuff mine with instant french vanilla pudding and top with chocolate glaze, however you can fill them with anything you like, pudding, ice cream or other type of cream, even fruit.  You can also top with a caramel glaze or dust with powdered sugar.

(Google Image)

Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients

  • 2 1oz squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk


Directions

Melt chocolate and butter in saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar and milk.  Beat until smooth and spread immediately.

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