My mother hates to cook. Oh sure, she’ll enjoy a good meal, but as she will tell you, eating is a perfectly good waste of time when you could be reading in bed. Or pruning a tree. So on this mother’s day eve, I applaud her kitchen sacrifice. To this day, I can see her sitting on the counter absently stirring a tomato sauce, completely absorbed in a book about English history. She may have disdained and detested the thankless task called dinner every single night, but she always made or delegated 🙂 There were few things more important to my mother than the family sitting down together every single night.
Breakfast was the same. We gathered. Every morning, she dragged herself out of bed to make sure something was on the table to eat. I even heard rumors that after the three oldest left home, she frequently cooked a hot breakfast for my brothers – bacon and eggs! This was her way of showing love. The value of food, was always about gathering the family. So she did it, because food brought us together.
There are a few recipes my mother passed down. she laughs at the very thought. Just last night we had the most favorite baked dish of all time: Tuna Fish Casserole. Delish!
Today I have the favorite dessert: The Cream Puff.My mother also subscribes to the belief that food should be simple. She wouldn’t be caught dead with a Bon Appetit in the house. If, for one second, I could imagine her flipping through any sort of food magazine, she would roll her eyes boring and toss it aside. Which makes it all that more funny that I married a foodie, the son of a chef!
But this dessert is something my mother made frequently. It’s not hard, but has a simple complexity to it. It’s the dessert my children devour like wolves, and every single time, reminds me of my mom.
Here’s How. Remember: we are simple. this is simple.
The first step is to make chocolate pudding and put in the refrigerator the night before, or at least 5-6 hours before wanting to eat a cream puff. Now sure, you could use instant pudding, but the Cook to Serve Jello Pudding Mix is far superior. This too comes from directly from my mother, ick, I can’t abide instant chocolate pudding!
First you will make the batter, combining 1 cup of water, 1/8th teaspoon of salt, and a stick of butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add a cup of flour (whole wheat or white) all at once, stirring vigorously.
Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat. Cool ten minutes. Add four eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. It will resemble the above picture. This is where your muscles come in, missies!
Then you will drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet. No need to grease.
When they come out of the oven you will have most adorable puffs! Look at those glorious puff puffies. Sadly, those sweet puffs will deflate a bit as they cool.And then you will fill them with the pudding. And whipped cream if you so desire. The possibilities are quite endless, but I never deviate from my fillings. It’s a formed habit that I don’t deviate from. It’s a childhood thing.
Cream Puffs for Mumsie
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup or 1 Stick Real Butter
1 Cup Flour (whole wheat or white)
1. 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 that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat.
2. Cool ten minutes
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition. Muscles!
4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons (I do a bit more and come out to about 12), 3 inches apart, onto an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Split puffs in half and fill with your hearts desire. Lightly sift powdered sugar (optional…we rarely make it this far)
Did you notice? There is no sugar in the pastry puff. There are so many eggs I eat these for breakfast.
We also eat these cream puffs without the top so they last longer. And wouldn’t you know, the last time I had a cream puff from Mike’s Pastries, I liked Mumsie’s better! This dessert mimics my favorite pastry of all time: the eclair from Mike’s Pastries. It’s ever so easy but feels a little more decadent, a little more fancy pants than cookies.
I recall a time my mother made these for my sixth grade birthday party and my uninformed classmates used the pastries to throw at each other. She was not amused. And now, dear friends, enjoy the Cream Puffs for Mumsie. She’s not English, but sometimes I think it’s fun to call her names like Mumsie.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mumsie. I love you so. Thank you for doing the highest, holiest service assumed by mankind. Even when you hated to cook. #itwasmom Tweet that! 🙂