However, as I continue to heal I am taking a lighter approach on my blog for a few weeks, featuring some old family favorites…the kind of recipes you turn to when you want something simple, yet still delicious and family pleasing.
First up is Cream Puffs made with the simplest of ingredients. Once the technique is mastered, cream puffs are quick and easy to make and sure to please.
Its History is a MysteryWhat is the nutritional value of a cream puff?Zero, unless you are starving and need the fat and sugar to keep you alive.
The truth is, nobody knows for sure who can be credited with creating the lovely cream puff. What we do know is that as early as the 13th century in both southern Germany and France, chefs were creating lovely puff pastries that they baked until the pastry puffed, after which they sliced the pastries open, and filled them with various cheese mixtures.
Chefs at this time had begun experimenting with dough mixtures that included four simple ingredients: flour, water, fat, and egg, the same ingredients used today for cream puffs or choux pastry. They had become fascinated with the delightful results that occur during baking: as the pastry puffs, it creates an airy hole in the middle which just invites a delectable filling.
Cream buns, called pate feuillettée in France, and butter pasted puffs in England, were becoming popular in the early 1500s, using the same famous four ingredients. The filled treats were popular among the wealthy people of that time.
By the mid 19th century in both France and England, the cream puff had become known as the profiterole. Often created in elaborate shapes by skilled pastry chefs, elegant Victorian diners could find cream puffs shaped like swans or pyramids of tiny, fragile chocolate or vanilla filled puffs to nibble on with the dessert wine, tea or coffee. In the United States, the first recorded mention of the cream puff on a restaurant menu dates to 1851 at the Revere House Restaurant in Boston.
RecipeWhat leavens cream puffs?Cream puffs are leavened by the eggs included in the batter.
For Choux Pastry:
½ cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 egg, slightly beaten for glazing
Unsalted butter for baking sheets
You can find the recipe for Profiteroles au Chocolat (Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home.
To bite into a freshly baked cream puff filled with real whipped cream is to experience sheer delight. The humble four ingredients have now become a light, puffy holder for the delectable filling, creating the perfect, subtle combination of taste and texture. As the cream dribbles down your chin, you’ll find yourself wanting another – and another. . .
Links"A cream puff is something very basic.
You have to keep it basic.
It's beautiful without doing too much fou fou stuff around it.
Let cream puffs be what they're supposed to be."
—Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, contender for MOF (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, France's highest honor in the art of patisserie)
designation as profiled in the documentary, "Kings of Pastry"
to be released September 2010
Kings of Pastry documentary
Kings of Pastry article
Profiteroles au Chocolat (Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce)
Peppermint Cream Puff Ring...Swan
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