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Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday Recipe - Cream Puffs

Raise your hand if cream puffs intimidate you. Tricky little pastries. I learned to make them in my Junior High Home Ec class. Back then, all girls were required to take it. Boys were required to take shop classes. Yep, I'm older than dirt. I lived when discrimination was all the rage. Girls did girl stuff and boys did boy stuff. You didn't cross the line or you were labeled weird. Guess what label I carried all through school.

Anyway, back to the recipe. Cream puffs can be difficult so be prepared to make them several times before you get the hang of it. If they don't puff up, just serve them as eggy, funky pancakes. Call them something French and you'll be okay.

Cream Puffs

1/2 c. butter (the real stuff works better than margarine)
1 c. water
1/4 t. salt
1 c. flour (sift it or stir it good and don't pack it into the cup, you want it about a tablespoon short of a packed cup)
4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 400° F.

Put the water, butter, and salt in a 2 qt. saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn heat down to medium. Add the flour. Stir until your arms feel like they are going to fall off and the mixture forms a thick, pasty ball. Remove from the heat. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter smooth between each addition. You should end up with a creamy, very thick dough that looks sticky but isn't because of the butter.

Scoop onto a greased cookie sheet, normal size cream puffs are about 2 T. of batter per puff. Give them room to spread and rise or they will all grow into each other.

Bake for 30 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR WHILE THEY ARE BAKING. You want the extra steam trapped in the oven. It helps them rise and bake properly. When the time is up, they should be more than double in size, puffy, and golden brown.

Fill them with whatever you want: Pudding, Chicken salad, tuna sandwich filling, sloppy joe mix, ice cream, fruit pie filling, chopped up candy bars, whipped cream...