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by on January 2, 2009 · 12 comments

Happy National Cream Puff Day.

I wish I could say I had my first taste of choix pastry in a little shop in Paris, but no; it was in the hospital. I was recovering from an illness and they brought me a tray with a Rich’s brand Chocolate Eclair. I was about 11 and it was the best and most exotic pastry I’d had in my life (granted, I was very hungry at the time). When I left the hospital I sought out the frozen eclairs and later, the cream puffs. Somewhere along the way, I learned how to make them myself and played around with different types of fillings. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten all the recipes. What I do know is I like really light and creamy fillings as opposed to the heavy custard type. I also like them filled with ice cream and served with homemade fudge sauce. One of my favorite Italian restaurants here in Austin, La Traviata, makes the best!

If you’d like to make your own cream puffs today, seeing that it’s National Cream Puff Day and all, here’s a link to a cream puff pastry recipe that sounds pretty good. The recipe is made with bread flour and a few extra egg whites…..it sounds interesting.

And then there’s this one from allrecipes.com. I’ve made it before and the pastry is very good. So is the filling, but it calls for instant pudding mix and I always imagine pastry chefs somewhere laughing at me when I use it. Then I feel bad about myself and don’t make eclairs for a while.

But I think I’m ready to make another batch. I’ll let you know later.

On another note, today I’m in the midst of making the Mark Bittman NYT No-Knead Bread — the famous one that was all the rage about a year ago. I managed to avoid it for a long time, but my friend Karen mentioned she made it with lemon and rosemary and that did. I had to try it, so I made the dough yesterday.

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Published on January 2, 2009

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue January 2, 2009 at 9:52 am

Maybe the approach of National Cream Puff Day is why I’ve seen them several places on the net? This is one of the first things I taught myself to bake. My Dad loves these filled with vanilla custard and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. I haven’t made them in years and have no idea where the recipe is. Maybe the Joy of Cooking!?
I hope you like your no-knead bread. I’ve made the almost no knead bread several times. The one from Cook’s Illustrated. That one has beer in it. People love it. I hope you like yours. It seems hard to go wrong with fresh bread. The thing is it doesn’t keep well. Fortunately it doesn’t make a huge loaf either.

Hallie January 2, 2009 at 10:28 am

Who knew? I’ll have to go get some cream puffs and celebrate!

CindyD January 2, 2009 at 10:31 am

FYI – one of the King Arthur bloggers uses instant pudding to make pastry cream. It’s in a hint in the balloon chocolate cups entry -
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2008/12/23/the-big-chocolate-blowout-chocolate-balloon-cups/

VeggieGirl January 2, 2009 at 10:40 am

Had no idea that today was National Cream Puff Day – fun!! :-D

Katrina January 2, 2009 at 10:53 am

My husband loves eclairs. I can live without them, mostly because I should. Sigh. Really need to buckle down a bit, but there’s SO many things I want to bake! I really want to make those healthy pecan chewies, and the pumpkin bread, and…..;) Happy Puffing.

clumbsycookie January 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

I have a bad of unfilled cream puffs (aka profiteroles) frozen, maybe today is a good day to defrost them!!! I’ve made them for christmas eve dessert to take over to my oncle’s. my all family loves them so much they were actually eating them before the dinner itself. I like crem puffs but I’m not so crazy about them as my family, maybe because back in the days I had to do a ton a day and I got traumatized…
Good luck with the NKB, I tried a couple of months ago too.

C L January 2, 2009 at 11:33 am

Would you believe I have never heard of No Knead Bread until today? I hesitate to take part in fads, but homemade white bread…the one baking skill that has eluded me for decades? Not to mention my husband and I are trying to consume less preservative-laden food….hmmm :) Will let you know how NKB goes for me.

Meanwhile, I will make a small batch of cream puffs and savor them in honor of National Cream Puff Day. Bon Appetit, y’all!

Jill - GlossyVeneer January 2, 2009 at 11:44 am

Lemon and rosemary… please post about the finished product, that sounds intriguing! I’ve been wanting to make the no-knead bread ever since it hit the circuit. I just barely got the right type of pot to make it in though! Soon… I will make it soon!

Anj January 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I like savory fillings and make the choix pastry and fill with chicken salad for a party or shower. Even I, being bread challenged was able to make the no-knead bread when it was all the rage. It’s pretty darn good.

Heidi January 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I usually take a choux paste recipe and make half cream puffs and the other half little cheese puffs ala Ina. mmm.

HeartofGlass January 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Omg! Eclairs were my favorite pastry from the time I was able to taste–I haven’t had one in many years. I think it’s because it’s as cute as a Hostess cake, only tastes much better. Like an excuse to freebase icing and cream.

I’m not brave enough to make them–to be honest, I’m afraid of reigniting an old addiction!

Randi January 3, 2009 at 4:02 am

CI redid the no knead bread and its supposed to be even better.

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