Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cream puffs, cake, and crêpes

OMD- oh mon Dieu- it was quite a wonderful food week for moi.  La Princesse brought in these beautiful cream puffs for her classmates.  She and her mom baked the shells and in class we filled them with whipped cream and we melted chocolate for the tops.  Her pâtisserie was delightful.  Merci, mademoiselle!
The un-ex was tired of hearing (and reading) about my obsession with cake, I suspect, because one late afternoon this week,  I got a text message from him telling me he would come find me in about 30 minutes, to stay put.  (I was hanging out at Wine Authorities with the BFF, so that was not a difficult order to follow.)   He showed up with a box and look what was inside it!!
He apologized for not being able to find raspberry cake (yes, the wedding cake in Kings of Pastry is still on my wishlist), but how about vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and cream?  Ah oui, that fit the bill.  It came from Nantucket Grill at Sutton Station on Fayetteville Road here in Durham (we were written up in the NY Times this week as "Durham, a Tobacco Town Turns to Local Food").  We eat there sometimes or just go for appetizers and drinks and I drool over their desserts-- their Mile-High Dessert Cakes, in particular.  My mom always asked us (four kids born in the span of four years, bless her heart) what kind of cake we wanted for our birthdays when I was growing up in Spruce Pine.  Strawberry shortcake was my choice every July 27.  I even shared my lovely slice of cake.  The BFF took a bite, so did the un-ex, I took a few (it was my cake, afterall) and high school-age son finished it off in record time.  He did leave me one last strawberry...
Crêpes were also offered to classmates by another young chef, La Mère Catherine.  With Nutella, bien sûr!
She did love eating and making crêpes while we were in France last month.

She has been practicing on her family.  Bravo!  Her classmates volunteered to be her taste-testers any time.
Did you know that Nutella comes in 11 pound jars in France?  It didn't take the girls long to find a jar that big in the Gourmet department at Galeries Lafayette.
And we also discovered what a mess a glass jar of Nutella makes when it is dropped on the sidewalk in Arles...
 Hmm... wonder who did that??  A very sad sight.
And how about Nutella to go-
Or Nutella & Go!
Not a bad idea.  But why is that Nutella just tastes better in France?  I honestly believe it is made differently.  The standards are probably higher there.  I will need to investigate this theory further on my next trip.  Did you know that February 2, 2010 was World Nutella Day?  Me neither until I googled it.  Wish I'd known.  I would've sacrificed for the cause and whipped up something yummy.  As if anyone needs an excuse just to open up the jar and eat a spoonful.  Nutella would be good with these cream puffs, too, instead of the chocolate chips, I think.

Cream Puffs
(yields 12 medium puffs)

1 c. water
1/2 c. butter
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 pint heavy cream
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 450F.
In medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add butter and stir as it melts, then return to a boil.  Add flour and salt all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball.  Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each until smooth.  Drop by heaping tablespoons, 3 inches apart, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 325F and bake 25 minutes more.  Remove puffs from oven, split and remove soft dough from center.  Turn oven off, and replace puffs to dry in cooling oven, 20 minutes more.  Cool completely on wire rack.
In medium bowl, whip cream with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Stir in vanilla and sugar.  Fill puffs with whipped cream.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave or in double boiler on stove top.  Drizzle melted chocolate over tops of cream puffs.  Serve immediately.

Bon appétit, to everyone who made this a delicious week!  Une semaine délicieuse!

1 comment:

manon 21 said...

Bonjour de Provence.