Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cream Puffs

I don't know how it is that I haven't blogged about these yet. I guess I haven't made them in a few years. But they are one of my favorites from childhood. And in spite of the fact that they are SUPER EASY to make, they are also impressive and people think you are magical when you make them. The Pie Queen used to make big ones filled with pudding. I like to make little ones. Mostly because they remind me of this...

I've always made them with chocolate filling (see below), but decided to try a couple of different things this time, namely Raspberry Whipped Cream and Caramel Whipped Cream. And they were incredibly delicious. The caramel is probably my new favorite substance on planet earth. I am thinking of more and more things I can put it on for eating. It's not particularly easy to make. I'll give you this hint: the caramel will seize up when you pour the cream in. It just will. But put the whole thing back on the burner and keep stirring and the caramel will dissolve into the hot cream and you will be so happy you were patient about it.

Here's the recipe:

Cream Puffs *click here for printable version*
(yield approx. 10 large or 40 small)

½ c. butter
1 c. water
⅛ tsp. salt
1 c. flour
4 eggs

In medium saucepan combine butter, water, and salt. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate.

Remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes. (I put mine in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment at this point, but you can beat with a wooden spoon, the old-fashioned way if you want) Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown (30-35 minutes). Cool and split to remove uncooked inside. Then fill and replace top.

Note: For mini puffs, drop batter by heaping teaspoons and bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.

Do not split when cool. Make filling and fill pastry bag with medium-hole tip. Insert tip of bag into bottom of puff and fill.

Chocolate Filling:

Whip 4 T sugar and 5 T unsweetened cocoa (or more, to taste) into 1 quart of heavy whipping cream until stiff.

I stabilize my cream when it's part of a dessert that's going to be sitting in the fridge for a while. Use 2 tsp. of powdered milk per 1 cup of cream, and just whip it in when you are whipping the cream.

Oh, and P.S. the Chocolate Filling recipe makes A LOT. Probably as much as you would need to fill 10 of the large-size puffs, but too much for 40 small. Adjust as you see fit. And the recipes for raspberry and caramel each only fill about 20 small puffs. You might want to quadruple the caramel recipe just because you will want to eat it by the spoonful. Or stick your head right in the mixing bowl and lick your way out. Was that TMI?

TGIP Rating--Cream Puffs--KEEPER. I've kept it since childhood and will always come back to it as a comfort dessert. Probably more often now that I've discovered the Caramel Whipped Cream.

Next up: I'm baking treats for my niece's wedding reception in mid-December. I told her I'd make sample batches for her and her fiancée to try. So, that's going to mean small batches of Candy Cookies and Chocolate Whoopie Pies (I'm making miniatures). Both recipes by BAKED. Of course.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Piespiration

"Thanksgiving is one percent perspiration, ninety-nine percent piespiration." -spiker

I'm not making anything new this year. I'm making these, by request:

(I know, NOT a pie. But we decided it is, in fact, socially acceptable to have cake at one's Thanksgiving feast.)

More piespiration for you (click on pictures to go to posts that contain recipes):

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Fun reading. Literal food for thought.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No Pie But Pie

No, I'm not making pie right now. That's next week. But I'm sharing with you this brilliant quote about pie. If you get...well, any Sunday paper probably...this was in last weekend's Parade section:

Regarding a University of Indianapolis debate over which greater served mankind, pie or ice cream, a 1902 New York Times editorial wrote:

"Pie is the American synonym of prosperity, and its varying contents the calendar of the changing seasons. Pie is the food of the heroic. No pie-eating people can ever be permanently vanquished. It is a significant historical fact that England's glory was greatest in the days when her gallant sons ate pie."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies may soon become my "go to" dessert for taking to parties, potlucks, people who need cheering up, etc. There's none of that pesky VEGETARIANS DON'T EAT LARD business that happens when I show up with a regular pie. There's a million different kinds of whoopie pies. AND, they're delicious. And fun. And cute. And filled with nostalgia (and cream cheese frosting). Okay, so there's butter and eggs and cream cheese, so vegans can't eat them. But, sheesh. Also, their name contains the word whoopie. And the word PIE. So.

And these particular whoopie pies (from the first BAKED book) are delicious. Easy. Quick (if you're not making a million). And delicious. Did I mention that? Fall-ish. Spicy. Creamy. A little sticky, if I'm being honest. But I think that's the pumpkin at work. It seems like everything that contains pumpkin (bread, muffins) is sticky. Right? Because the cookie part wasn't underdone. It was cakey and moist.

And the filling was tangy and sweet (but not overly).

They were so good I got at least one marriage proposal! I can't remember, there might have been two.

TGIP Rating--Pumpkin Whoopie Pies--KEEPER. Another dessert that I have to find a way to make every Fall.

Next up: I found this recipe for Brown Sugar Oat Scones a while back. The blogger is someone who lives in my area. I'm going to try them because they sound like sweet, yummy, hearty Fall fare. And it's that time.
EDIT: No, I'm not making scones. I have a birthday celebration, a bridal shower, and other events coming up before Thanksgiving. I don't know what I'm making for any of them yet. Maybe cheesecake. Maybe cream puffs. Maybe teeny tiny whoopie pies. Assuredly, anything BUT pie.