You Can't Eat Just One!
Diana Endow, a
family get together
not complete without Diana's magic touch.
cream puffs are just one example of her creativity in
The Family Kitchen.
Also called choux paste, pâte à choux and cream-puff pastry.
Cream puffs &
Choux a la creme and profiteroles (aka cream puffs) are said to have
originated in Renaissance France and Italy. Choux paste is different
from other types of pastry because when cooked, it rises and the
finished product has a hollow center. As was the custom of the day,
these holes were variously filled with sweet or savory fillings. Cream
puffs, as we know them today, are usually filled with
custard, Bavarois, or sweet whipped creams. Chocolate (as a glaze or
filling) was an 18th century addition.
pastry is said to have been invented in 1540 by Popelini, Catherine de'
Medici's chef, but the pastrycook's art only truly began to develop in
the 17th century and greatest innovator at the beginning of the 19th
century was indubitably [Antonin] Careme..."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Jenifer Harvey Lang, editor [Crown:New York]
1988 (p. 777-8)
Interesting facts about Vanilla
"Vanilla is the only
edible fruit of the orchid family, the largest family of flowering
plants in the world.
The Totonaca people of the
Gulf coast of Mexico were probably the first people to cultivate
vanilla. They taught many other indigenous people how to grow vanilla
during MesoAmerican times, and they continue to cultivate the fruit that
they consider was given to them by the gods.
Vanilla is the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop, which is
why it's so expensive. It will take up to three years after the vines
are planted before the first flowers appear. The fruits, which resemble
big green beans, must remain on the vine for nine months in order to
completely develop their signature aroma. However, when the beans are
harvested, they have neither flavor nor fragrance. They develop these
distinctive properties during the curing process.
When the beans are
harvested, they are treated with hot water or heat and are then placed
in the sun every day for weeks-to-months until they have shrunk to 20%
of their original size. After this process is complete, the beans are
sorted for size and quality. Then they will rest for a month or two to
finish developing their full flavor and fragrance. By the time they are
shipped around the world, their aroma is quite remarkable!
The United States is the
world's largest consumer of vanilla, followed by Europe - especially
France. About 1400 tons of dried vanilla is produced worldwide each
year. Our worldwide interest in natural vanilla has grown considerably
in the past several years, however, and the current annual demand is for
2200 tons of vanilla.
The dairy industry uses a large percentage of the world's vanilla in ice
creams, yogurt (fresh and frozen), and other flavored dairy products.
Despite all the wonderful ice cream choices available in the market
place, most customers say, "Make mine vanilla!"
Because vanilla is so much in demand, and because it's so expensive,
synthetics are often used instead of natural vanilla. In fact, 97% of
vanilla used as a flavor and fragrance is synthetic."
From Diana Endow
1 cup - Water
1/4 pound - Butter
1 cup - All purpose flour
4 each - Extra Large Eggs, Beaten (cooled to room temperature)
3/4 cup - Sugar
3 tablespoons - Flour
3 tablespoons - Corn Starch
3 cups -Whole Milk
2 each - Egg Yolks (room temperature)
2 teaspoons - Vanilla Extract
2 cup - Heavy whipping cream (whipped)
Put the water in a sauce pan with
the butter and bring to a full boil over medium heat melting the butter.
Add the flour all at once and stir
rapidly until the flour is incorporated, then keep cooking and stirring
some more for about 45 seconds – it's this last bit of cooking that will
take the raw taste out of the flour. The dough is ready when the dough
forms a ball around your wooden spoon and the bottom of the pan is covered
with a light film of paste
Turn off the heat.
While continuing to stir briskly,
blend in the beaten eggs one at a time.
The dough is finished when you lift
the spoon and it pulls up some dough that then detaches and forms a slowly
Form 10 - 15 golf ball sized balls and place
on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes
Turn the heat down to 300 F and
bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Take the puffs out of the oven and
allow to cool.
After they have cooled cut the top
off of each puff and scoop out some of the pastry from the middle of the
puff to allow for the filling.
Put the sugar, corn
starch, flour and one cup of milk into a sauce pan over medium heat and blend all
the ingredients using a whisk.
Add the remaining 2
cups of milk and continue to whisk mixture until it starts to boil.
Just as it starts
to boil, boil one (1) minute, turn off the stove and take the pan off the heat and blend in the
egg yolks. (Diana puts some of the hot fluid into a bowl with the egg yolks
before adding them to the mixture to make sure the eggs are properly
Turn on the heat
and boil for one (1) more minute.
When the mixture
cools down, blend in the vanilla.
Place the mixture
in the refrigerator and allow to cool.
When the custard
mixture is cooled thoroughly blend in the whipping cream.
until ready to use.
Filling the Puffs
Spoon custard cream
filling into the hollowed out puff pastry shells. Replace the top and
sprinkle with powdered sugar.
refrigerator until ready to serve.
Servers 10 - 16
Cream is made by separating milk into
fat-rich cream and an almost fat-free (skimmed) milk. This is usually done
by centrifugal force.
There are many varieties of cream, categorized according to the amount of
milk fat in it:
Light cream, also called coffee or table cream, can contain anywhere
from 18 to 30 percent fat, but commonly contains 20 percent. It can not be
Whipping cream contains 30 to 36 percent milk fat and sometimes
stabilizers and emulsifiers. Whipping cream will double in volume when
Heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream, is whipping cream with a
milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent. It's usually only available
in specialty or gourmet markets.
Half-and-half is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream, and is 10 to
12 percent milk fat, and can not be whipped.
All cream, unless ultrapasteurized (briefly heated to 149°C/300°F and then
cooled), is highly perishable and should be kept in the coldest part of the
Whipped cream in pressurized cans is a mixture of cream, sugar, stabilizers,
emulsifiers and gas, such as nitrous oxide. It is expanded by the gas into a
"puffy" form. Aerosol "dessert toppings," which are usually made with
hydrogenated vegetable oils, have absolutely no cream in them (and doesn't
taste like cream either).
The food lover's companion by S.T.Herbst
Corn Starch is an excellent all-purpose starch
that’s easy to work with and inexpensive. Popular for its versatility, corn
starch is great as a thickener for gravies, sauces, desserts and main
dishes. It’s perfect for preparing today’s healthy oriental specialties . .
. and nothing offers greater stability when baking pies.