A view from my side.
Sometimes, I just want something different. And sometimes, I don’t want to buy it, I want to make it. From scratch. Today is one of those days. I’ve always had a “hankering” for cream puffs and eclairs. When the boys are with me in the grocery store, they will often hang around the bakery and hover over the sweet stuff. Even though it has been years since I made anything like this, I have very fond memories of making cream puffs and eclairs when I was a teenager.
I always assumed I could do anything in the kitchen, so I never shied away from grabbing a recipe and diving right in. Every now and then, I’d have to ask my mother for a helping hand. While she would never “do it for me,” she would always tell me how. For example, the first time I had to separate eggs, I didn’t have a clue. Asking mother, she described the egg-shell method of separating eggs and I thought, “sounds easy enough.”
The first one cracked in just the right place and the shell opened right up. A few simple pours back and forth between the shell halves and I had my egg york. The second one I tried didn’t work out so well. The yolk broke on the side of the shell and fell into the sink. I was more careful with the next one and it came out perfect. I’ve been separating eggs that way ever since, not bothering with any of the gizmos and gadgets that always make their way to the store shelves.
When all was said and done, I remember my cream puffs were as light as air. The first filling I made, however, was too thin. It didn’t have the proper consistency for a cream puff and while flavorful, it had a tendency to either run out when you bit into your puff, or soak through the pastry if left uneaten for a while. I never really wanted to put a whipped cream filling into the puff, so I hunted for a better filling, finally settling on one very similar to the one in the recipe below. With a half-and-half base, it has a good consistency and won’t soak through if you put some in the fridge to save for later. It is not, however, light and fluffy as is whipped cream. Add to that it tastes pretty good, and you have a perfect filling.
This recipe is, as the title suggests, pretty easy. I made two different sizes, mainly just to see how they turned out. The 1 tbsp size works fine. It cooked up bigger than I thought it would and is the perfect size for me, a 50+ year old adult. The 2 tbsp size is also fine, taking about 1:30 minutes longer to cook. It is the perfect size for a hungry 17 year old boy.
1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 whole eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups half-and-half
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 cup chocolate topping
Credit where it’s due: Betty Crocker Profiteroles.