Skip to content

PIECE OF CAKE, PEACE OF MIND

Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time


It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Luckily, the craziness that I’m speaking off is not the same craziness that I experienced last year, when I chose to take five engineer technical classes two semesters in a row.
Yeah, it’s a different kind of craziness. A better kind, one that involves too many holiday parties and cocktails, if that were possible. The week started out with Rachel, Toni, Jill, and HIlary’s holiday cocktail party on Thursday. Even though the weather was pretty glum all last week, pretty much everyone showed up for a sort of last hurrah before dead week started. I wanted to bring something and also wanted a break from whatever I was doing that day (I don’t remember anymore but it must not have been very important…lab report maybe?). So, I remembered the grougeres I had made for Thanksgiving and thought of cream puffs.

Cream puffs and I have a special relationship. I sometimes forget that these festive pastries were one of the first things I ever made from scratch, back when I was seven or eight. My mom didn’t and still doesn’t enjoy baking that much, but for some reason she took me into the kitchen one day and pulled out a recipe carefully handwritten on a yellowing piece of notebook paper that she had received from a coworker. Cream puffs. I don’t even know if I had had a cream puff yet at that point in my life, but I was amazed at the strange technique of heating the butter, water, and flour on the stove before forming everything into a ball of dough. It was unlike anything I had ever done with a boxed cake mix (the extent of my baking at the time).

I remember our cream puffs coming out really nicely, not even burnt, which was often a bit of an issue when I was baking with my mom. The filling we used in those was pudding based, if I remember correctly, so they were a bit more custardy. In this version, I decided to stick with a basic homemade whipped cream.

Even though I don’t think I’ve made cream puffs a single time between then and now, this batch came out nicely too. The centers were perfectly hollow, and the recipe I used called for all of about five ingredients. This recipe is perfect for entertaining and since the few ingredients included are extreme basics that everyone should already have in their kitchens, it makes the perfect last minute treat.

They’re so easy and convenient, in fact, that I’ve sort of decided that these are the only dessert I will ever make again when entertaining a crowd. Seriously, I’m getting too lazy to make anything else…

Cream Puffs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • whipped cream, homemade preferred

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place butter and water in a medium sized pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Add salt and sugar and mix to combine.  Add the flour all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball.  Mix for another 1-2 minutes until a thin film forms on the bottom of the pot.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix either in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or by hand with a wooden spoon.  Make sure eggs are incorporated fully.  Dough will be sticky.
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffs are golden brown.
  7. Once cooled, use a paring knife to cut the tops off of the puffs.  Fill the puffs with whipped cream using a piping bag or a spoon. Replace the tops of the puffs, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

The rest of my hectic week consisted of another cocktail, this time a slightly more Jewish one thrown by Gina’s old employer.  She happens to be the owner/creator of Inna Jam, purveyor of some of the most amazing jams and jellies around.  She also happens to be an amazing cook and generally just a person with great taste.  Needless to say, we were wined and dined with food most college students only dream of eating (especially for free…).  It was a fabulous night filled with martinis, fancy pies, and latkes with a modern spin (brusselsprout slaw? butternut kabocha sauce?).

On Monday I went to a more college-appropriate holiday party complete with packets of apple cider and hot chocolate. Mixing my grocery store hot chocolate with a candy cane was oddly satisfying, though.

Then, it was a mad dash to finish the bulk of my LAST LAB REPORT EVER.  Yes, I am done now. DONE WITH LAB REPORTS. Ah, what a great feeling.  The rush was because I was leaving for Seattle on Thursday, a trip I planned with Nick, Shubir, and Kevin.  It was more fun than I could have anticipated and exactly what I needed.  Who knew Seattle was such a Christmas-loving city? I almost feel like Christmas has past already because of the amount of caroling, peppermint eating, and bundling up we did in the course of five days.  We even got to see the Sufjan Stevens Christmas sing-a-long concert…AMAZING.  My judgment may have been clouded by the ceaseless food coma I experienced throughout the trip, but Seattle is definitely one of my favorite cities now, way cooler than SF in my opinion (YEAH GO AHEAD AND JUDGE ME).

Unfortunately, the photos I took in Seattle were all film, so I’ll write a more detailed post of what we did, and more importantly what we ATE while we were up there later on.

And that brings me to now, studying for my final final.  It’s a weird feeling, not being drugged up on caffeine and stress this time of year.  It’s also a weird feeling to know that I’ll be going to Las Vegas this weekend, sort of against my own wishes for Michelle’s 21st birthday.  THAT will be an experience…

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: