Mom’s Cream Puffs for a Friend…

Mom's Cream Puffs...pate choux filled with homemade vanilla bean pastry cream...(for my dear friend's birthday)

Mom’s Cream Puffs…light and delicate – crispy on the outside, eggy on the inside, petite pate choux puffs  filled with homemade vanilla bean pastry cream…(a request from my dear friend Dawn for her  birthday)

I guess you could call cream puffs a retro dessert.  My Mom would whip these lovely, delicate, crispy yet creamy pastries up seemingly on a moment’s notice.  Cream puffs were popular in the 1960’s and have long been a favorite of mine.  I hadn’t made these in a couple years, but when my good friend was over last month telling me how much she would just love an eclair that wasn’t filled with an over sweet pastry cream and that it didn’t need to be dipped in chocolate either –  I told her the best recipe is actually in my Tea With Betty book (which she has) and that Mom’s Pastry Cream and Pate Choux recipes are simple to prepare.  She looked at me like, “right, I’m going to make those with two kids and a job” sooooo, I jumped in and said “I’ll make you some for your birthday”…(which was a couple weeks away).  When the time came, I was unexpectedly swamped with a work project and didn’t think I could get them done on time.  I fretted over this, as I detest not fulfilling a commitment; so, late the night before her birthday, I determinedly pulled my recipes out, read them, realized I actually had all the ingredients on hand and  concluded,  “I CAN do this!”  The next afternoon I delivered a very fresh batch to her on time…and I had fun preparing them.  As I delivered her not too sweet puffs, the fragrance wafting from the container took me right back to Mom’s kitchen … so, it was with a double special feeling that I watched Dawn and her family gobble down these delightful sweets.  Mom’s pastry cream recipe is here in a post I did a couple years ago.

Sometimes I overthink things … and make mountains out of mole hills (as my husband would attest to), and which is what I did when worrying about baking these on time.  My savior of time was dragging out my husband’s big, heavy, 35 year old,  avocado green Kitchenaide stand mixer.  I used the mixer to finish the pastry cream, then, while it was chilling in the refrigerator, I threw together the pate choux using the mixer.  Mom always made her pate choux in a heavy bottom saucepan using a wooden spoon to beat in one egg at a time (a job my sister and I took over as we got into our teens).  I must say the mixer did the work beautifully and swiftly.

Below is the pate choux, ready to put in a piping bag and pipe onto parchment for baking…then the finished product just out of the oven.  They came out perfectly, a little crisp on the outside and nice and soft on the inside with plenty of room for filling.

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I did attempt to make elongated, eclair shaped puffs but they came out rather thin and were difficult to fill…so I opted for round too…they were all just wonderful in the end.

These go really well with a cup of Jasmine pearl green tea.

Elongated eclair shapes are what I started out to make...but they were a bit too thin, but tasted great...I ended up having to split them in half to fill them, but everyone stilled loved them.

Elongated eclair shapes are what I started out to make…but they were a bit too thin, yet tasted great…I ended up having to split them in half to fill them… everyone stilled loved them.

10 Comments

  1. Num!

    • Thanks….I had to sneak a taste and they were really tender and scrumptious!

  2. I’ve pored over these in your recipe book but I haven’t attempted to make them yet. I’ve tried to make choux pastry before and it wasn’t a great success (I don’t know if I was doing it wrong but my arm ached with all the stirring in the pan – a lot of effort for a not very good outcome). However, I would be very happy to eat them and I think it was lovely of you to make some for your friend’s birthday. They look terrific, perfectly cooked and incredibly tempting.

    • Thanks Lorna,
      They are really worth the time…and if you don’t mind a sweet pastry cream, you can purchase a mix and make that up quickly.
      The pate choux seem daunting to make, but once you have one successful batch, you’ll get it…they seriously are simple to make and good for your building of arm muscles if you don’t have an electric stand mixer 🙂

  3. Yes J, they were NUM as you said. I was required to be Linda’s official taster.

    • Yes and you are a master at that!!!

  4. These look sooooo good! I love how you can see the vanilla bean!
    I’ve never asked you if you have a recipe for chocolate cream for your pate choux… do you? 🙂

    • Thanks Hils… and yes, I just love seeing the flecks of vanilla bean in anything vanilla …I have not made chocolate ones, but will give them a try — maybe we can do them together.

  5. Looking good! I’m more of a profiterole gal-love the puffs filled with ice cream and of course fudge sauce. Yours are beautiful.

    • Hi J…I almost commented that these puffs are just one step away from being a profiterole (which were my Mom’s and V’s favorites)…but we still enjoyed them with pastry cream vs. iced cream … we had many discussion on this as we tried them out at every Italian restaurant that offered them…a fun taste test 🙂 Thanks for your comment.