I’m not a graceful eater. My shirt sees more action than my mouth. And whenever I take a manly bite of something, the same classmate, Hank, catches me every time. And then a smirk grows on his face. Except for today.
I was smart about my cream puff sneak attacks. When I popped one of these in my mouth as if it were popcorn, I knew I didn’t want anyone to see. (Think: Chipmunk with puffy cheeks.) But can you blame me? These are airy pastries filled with sweet whipped cream and sitting on a pond of chocolate sauce. Could my day get any better? I think not.
Pate a choux, or cream puffs, are the only dough that’s cooked twice: On the stove top and in the oven. Reading the recipe is deceivingly simple since it only has five ingredients. But continue reading and things get confusing: Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil. (Caveat: Don’t let the water boil before the butter melts or else you’ll lose too much water.) Then off heat, add flour. Return to the stove top, and vigorously mix until the dough dries out. Can you tell if a dough is dry enough? I couldn’t, and proceeded to follow Chef Sixto around with my piping hot pot showing him my dough every two minutes. (I’m definitely his favorite.) Then, once it’s dry enough, you need to add whole eggs. How many? Well, only the Gods of pastry know. You have to add one at a time until the batter becomes silky. A good test is to score the dough with your spatula and see if the dough slowly melds together again. If it does than it’s ready to be piped and baked. Not simple the first time you do it, but now I’m prepared to say I could teach you how to make it.
TIP OF THE DAY: Fill cream puffs with enough whipped cream so you see at least a quarter inch of cream above the base.