Monday, February 27, 2006

Shoe Cream

Almost a year ago, the last time I mentioned cream puffs, I never imagined making them. For one thing, most of my exposure has been in Japan, where they are called "shu cream," which is pronounced "shoe cream." You intelligent readers will immediately realize this is a reference to choux, the French name for the pastry part of cream puffs, eclairs and profiteroles. The connection you just made in a moment took years for me, during which I periodically and earnestly wondered what cream puffs had to do with shoes.

Anyway, cream puffs being the airy confections they are, the thought of making them at home has never crossed my mind. As much as I like to bake and cook, I shy away from attempting most recipes that seem delicate or overly difficult...and I'm afraid of yeast.

Getting to the point, the other day I thought I'd make some chocolate pudding with the four egg yolks I had left over from my recent obsession with meringue cookies. Having no idea how to make pudding, I consulted my kitchen go-to book. Though I have quite a few cookbooks and can think of more I wouldn't mind collecting, this is the one I often run back to for basic advice and instruction.

On the page facing the chocolate pudding recipe, I found the following and decided to try it and fill the end product with the pudding. It was SO easy and the resulting puffs looked as though I had known what I was doing. You'll have to take my word for it, since the ladies in my book club snapped them up before I remembered to take a picture. Maybe you can try it and send me a picture of yours!

Cream Puffs (Shoe Cream)

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Whipped cream, pudding or ice cream
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 C). In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter and salt. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.
2. Drop dough by 12 heaping tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet (or just line baking sheet with parchment paper). Bake at 400 F (205 C) for 30-35 minutes or till golden. Cool on a wire rack.
3. Cut tops from puffs; remove soft dough from inside. Fill with whipped cream, pudding or ice cream. Replace tops. If desired, sift powdered sugar over tops.


Brad & Kath said...

Oh, fantastic! I've seen cream puff recipes around but never heard first hand how difficult they are (or aren't). Have you had the profiteroles at Jacky's in Evanston? They have the very best chocolate sauce on their cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream. Do you have a good non-corn-syrup based chocolate sauce recipe? If I make these Brad may be the happiest man alive.

hadashi said...

beard papa came to Hollywood in October. i try to avoid that corner of Hollywood in normal life (it's basically where the Oscars are held and thus tourist hell) but of course there i was strapped into audio gear, working on some show, and voila! a beard papa! i immediately went in, still with gear on, and devoured two. ah, happiness.
this reminds me, i have been remiss in reporting on the West Hollywood Famima, haven't i?