Thursday, June 18, 2009

Peggy's Cream Puffs

When I was about 8 years old, or so, I earned my Girl Scout Baking Badge by learning how to make Cream Puffs with a classmate's Mom.. they were very mini puffs, and slightly dusted with powdered sugar. I remember thinking that I had never tasted anything as light and wonderful as that. I knew cream puffs would quickly become one of my favorite desserts. The recipe we used is no where to be found, but this recipe is one I have been using for about 25 years.. it hasn't failed yet!

Fast forward a few (LOL) years later.. and now I'm paying it forward.. I'm showing a friend's daughter how I make cream puffs - and there's no badge involved, just a promise I made to Lauren a while back. Lauren's become quite an avid baker and hopefully she will add this recipe to her repertoire! Here's a picture of her smiling as we get started.

So let's get started...

This recipe makes approximately 20 medium cream puffs, or 15 eclairs, or 35-40 mini puffs

1 c. water
½ c. butter cut into pieces
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
4 large eggs, room temperature

In medium saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to a boil.

Remove from heat. Stir in flour all at once and beat well until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and has a similar consistency of mashed potatoes. Cool for one minute. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Mixture should be smooth and have a glossy look.

This is how the pastry will look after all eggs have been added...

For medium sized puffs, drop a teaspoonful of pastry onto greased baking sheet (or fill pastry tube with mixture and make 1 ½” mounds). Space about 2” apart. For eclairs pipe pastry into a 2" strip, for mini, pipe or spoon approximately 1/2 teaspoon onto baking sheet.

For medium sized puffs, bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 25-30 minutes or until puffs are golden brown and sides appear dry. Let cool on a wire rack. (for eclairs, allow 15 minutes at 450 degrees, and then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. For mini puffs, 10 minutes at 450 degrees and 20 minutes at 350 degrees)
Fill centers with creamy custard filling (recipe follows)

Very Easy Custard Filling
1 large package of instant vanilla pudding or two (3.4 oz) small using ½ of the required milk per pudding package directions
1 envelope of Dream Whip using ½ of the required milk per Dream Whip package directions

1 Tbs. of vanilla extract

With an electric mixer mix instant pudding and chill. Make Dream Whip using an electric mixer and chill… Once the pudding is set (about ten minutes) fold Dream Whip into pudding. Keep mixture chilled until ready to use.

For chocolate topping, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish on defrost setting until melted. To prevent burning, start with 1 minute and continue to microwave until melted, stirring often.

Or dust with powdered sugar.

Alternate fillings: With salad mixtures these little puffs make wonderful h'ors dourves.
Larger puffs filled with salads make a great lunch or buffet item. The fillings you can use are endless.

Crab salad
Shrimp salad
Ham salad
Tuna salad
Chicken salad
Lemon, lime or orange curd

Chocolate mousse
Ice Cream (Profiteroles)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wow.... .Homemade Mozzarella

Hi everyone.. welcome to my cooking blog. Today I had the great opportunity to go to a demonstration on making homemade Mozzarella cheese. I can't even begin to describe the creamy taste homemade mozzarella has compared to what we can buy in the store. Once I'm able to buy curds at my local market (they have them on order), I'm going to try it out. If it works like it should, I promise to do a tutorial here.

Upcoming.. Cream puff tutorial during the week of June 15th.. so stay tuned, and check back often.

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