So Tasty,
You Can't Eat Just One!


Diana Endow,
a family get together is
not complete without Diana's magic touch.

Diana's cream puffs are just one example of her creativity in The Family Kitchen.

Choux Pastry   [shoo]
Also called choux paste, pâte à choux  and cream-puff pastry.

Cream puffs & Éclairs

Choux a la creme and profiteroles (aka cream puffs) are said to have originated in Renaissance France and Italy. Choux paste is different from other types of pastry because when cooked, it rises and the finished product has a hollow center. As was the custom of the day, these holes were variously filled with sweet or savory fillings. Cream puffs, as we know them today, are usually filled with custard, Bavarois, or sweet whipped creams. Chocolate (as a glaze or filling) was an 18th century addition.

"Choux pastry is said to have been invented in 1540 by Popelini, Catherine de' Medici's chef, but the pastrycook's art only truly began to develop in the 17th century and greatest innovator at the beginning of the 19th century was indubitably [Antonin] Careme..."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Jenifer Harvey Lang, editor [Crown:New York]
1988 (p. 777-8)
Source: Food TimeLine


Interesting facts about Vanilla

"Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family, the largest family of flowering plants in the world.

The Totonaca people of the Gulf coast of Mexico were probably the first people to cultivate vanilla. They taught many other indigenous people how to grow vanilla during MesoAmerican times, and they continue to cultivate the fruit that they consider was given to them by the gods.

Vanilla is the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop, which is why it's so expensive. It will take up to three years after the vines are planted before the first flowers appear. The fruits, which resemble big green beans, must remain on the vine for nine months in order to completely develop their signature aroma. However, when the beans are harvested, they have neither flavor nor fragrance. They develop these distinctive properties during the curing process.

When the beans are harvested, they are treated with hot water or heat and are then placed in the sun every day for weeks-to-months until they have shrunk to 20% of their original size. After this process is complete, the beans are sorted for size and quality. Then they will rest for a month or two to finish developing their full flavor and fragrance. By the time they are shipped around the world, their aroma is quite remarkable!

The United States is the world's largest consumer of vanilla, followed by Europe - especially France. About 1400 tons of dried vanilla is produced worldwide each year. Our worldwide interest in natural vanilla has grown considerably in the past several years, however, and the current annual demand is for 2200 tons of vanilla.

The dairy industry uses a large percentage of the world's vanilla in ice creams, yogurt (fresh and frozen), and other flavored dairy products. Despite all the wonderful ice cream choices available in the market place, most customers say, "Make mine vanilla!"

Because vanilla is so much in demand, and because it's so expensive, synthetics are often used instead of natural vanilla. In fact, 97% of vanilla used as a flavor and fragrance is synthetic."
Source: The Vanilla.Company

Cream Puffs

From Diana Endow


Cream Puffs

Ingredients

Puff Pastry

1 cup - Water
1/4 pound - Butter
1 cup - All purpose flour
4 each - Extra Large Eggs, Beaten (cooled to room temperature)

Cream Filling

3/4 cup - Sugar
3 tablespoons - Flour
3 tablespoons - Corn Starch
3 cups  -Whole Milk
2 each - Egg Yolks (room temperature)
2 teaspoons - Vanilla Extract
2 cup - Heavy whipping cream (whipped)

Preparation

Puff Pastry

Put the water in a sauce pan with the butter and bring to a full boil over medium heat melting the butter.

Add the flour all at once and stir rapidly until the flour is incorporated, then keep cooking and stirring some more for about 45 seconds – it's this last bit of cooking that will take the raw taste out of the flour. The dough is ready when the dough forms a ball around your wooden spoon and the bottom of the pan is covered with a light film of paste

Turn off the heat.

While continuing to stir briskly, blend in the beaten eggs one at a time.

The dough is finished when you lift the spoon and it pulls up some dough that then detaches and forms a slowly bending peak.

Form 10 - 15 golf ball sized balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes

Turn the heat down to 300 F and bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Take the puffs out of the oven and allow to cool.

After they have cooled cut the top off of each puff and scoop out some of the pastry from the middle of the puff to allow for the filling.

Cream Filling

Put the sugar, corn starch, flour and one cup of milk into a sauce pan over medium heat and blend all the ingredients using a whisk.

Add the remaining 2 cups of milk and continue to whisk mixture until it starts to boil.

Just as it starts to boil, boil one (1) minute, turn off the stove and take the pan off the heat and blend in the egg yolks. (Diana puts some of the hot fluid into a bowl with the egg yolks before adding them to the mixture to make sure the eggs are properly blended.

Turn on the heat and boil for one (1) more minute.

When the mixture cools down, blend in the vanilla.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator and allow to cool.

When the custard mixture is cooled thoroughly blend in the whipping cream.

Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Filling the Puffs

Spoon custard cream filling into the hollowed out puff pastry shells. Replace the top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Place into refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Servers 10 - 16

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Interesting Facts!

Cream

Cream is made by separating milk into fat-rich cream and an almost fat-free (skimmed) milk. This is usually done by centrifugal force.

There are many varieties of cream, categorized according to the amount of milk fat in it:

Light cream
, also called coffee or table cream, can contain anywhere from 18 to 30 percent fat, but commonly contains 20 percent. It can not be whipped.

Whipping cream
contains 30 to 36 percent milk fat and sometimes stabilizers and emulsifiers. Whipping cream will double in volume when whipped.

Heavy cream
, also called heavy whipping cream, is whipping cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent. It's usually only available in specialty or gourmet markets.

Half-and-half
is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream, and is 10 to 12 percent milk fat, and can not be whipped.

All cream, unless ultrapasteurized (briefly heated to 149°C/300°F and then cooled), is highly perishable and should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Whipped cream in pressurized cans is a mixture of cream, sugar, stabilizers, emulsifiers and gas, such as nitrous oxide. It is expanded by the gas into a "puffy" form. Aerosol "dessert toppings," which are usually made with hydrogenated vegetable oils, have absolutely no cream in them (and doesn't taste like cream either).

Source:
The food lover's companion by S.T.Herbst


Corn Starch
Corn Starch is an excellent all-purpose starch that’s easy to work with and inexpensive. Popular for its versatility, corn starch is great as a thickener for gravies, sauces, desserts and main dishes. It’s perfect for preparing today’s healthy oriental specialties . . . and nothing offers greater stability when baking pies.