The story behind some of the foods we enjoy can be fun and fascinating to learn about. I made some puff pastries the other day and turned some into snacks, fairly healthy ones and I turned some into cream puffs. I was curious as to where the cream puff originated so I did a little research. I know where it all began in my life but where it all really began, I had no clue. Cream puffs are a very old treat once cherished by royalty and served to guest of honor. Today anyone can enjoy them and that is nice because I really do, once in awhile.
THE STORY OF CREAM PUFFS
My grandmother used to make the most heavenly cream puffs, not those tiny ones you can buy in the frozen food section of your local grocers, she made big ones, the size of biscuits or dinner rolls and filled them to overflowing with whipped cream, vanilla flavored and sometimes mixed with fresh fruit. Oh those cream puffs were a special treat. Of course they were not only heavenly delicious, they were hellishly fattening (probably a thousand calories per bite; just a guess but they definitely were very rich) and we were only allowed one; and since they weren’t made very often, they were a real special treat.
I make them now too, off and on, and even though mine are good they can’t hold a candle to Grandma’s wonderful cream puffs. Maybe that is because they were made by Grandma because I have her recipe and I follow it to the letter but they are still not quite as heavenly delicious as hers always were. She’d make the cream puffs, let them cool, stuff them full with all that delicious cream filling, drizzle a simple glaze over the top and then sprinkle them with a wee bit of confectioner’s sugar or the coarse sugar crystals used for cake decorating.
I don’t always fill mine with whipped cream. Sometimes I use a mock cream or a mousse or a non-dairy topping flavored with a gelatin or even ice cream or orange sherbet and a chocolate glaze, those are yummy. You can make up a whole bunch of the puffs at once and then freeze them before filling them and then thaw them out one, two or a few at a time as needed. That works great and you will be less tempted to over indulge.
My neighbor used to make these puff pastries too but she didn’t always use them for a dessert like my grandmother did. My neighbor owned and operated and was the chief chef of a small country inn. She was a marvelous cook and not only would she occasionally make “cream puffs” as a dessert, she often made tiny puff pastries about the size of an American half-dollar as an hors doeuvres that she served her guest along with wine or a before dinner cocktail while they were waiting for dinner to be served. These were usually filled with cream cheese or brie mixed with chopped nuts and raw vegetables, herbs and spices or alongside the salad and filled with a pâté of some sort. She used to make some wonderful ones filled with salmon that were really delicious.
Published in: Cooking