Right before Thanksgiving, our Governor’s orders halted indoor dining at restaurants (among other things) in an effort to manage the rising COVID-19 rates and protect our healthcare workers.
We are grateful for our continued employment and order take-out rather frequently. My recent favorites are P.J. Murphy’s bakery in St. Paul for croissants, doughnuts, and breads (the new owners have stepped up the bread game), Everest on Grand for delicious Nepalese food that’s really really spicy (if you want it that way), and Regina’s Candies for dark chocolate covered pretzels.
I’ve attended plenty of baby showers but this is my first virtual shower. Iowa bloggers Stephanie of Been There Baked That and Yudith of Blissfully Delicious are co-hosting this virtual baby shower for Ally, of Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats. I’ve enjoyed following all three of their food blogs and got to meet Ally and Stephanie at a blogger meet-up last fall. Ally graciously connected me with this group of bloggers and I’m excited to contribute a recipe to her virtual shower. We send our congratulations and best wishes to Ally and her family.
I recreated the savory, salad-filled cream puffs that I used to serve at Josie’s Coffee Corner Cafe in downtown Fargo, ND. Customers looked forward to the days the owners offered them as summer, chalkboard specials.
Cream puffs are made from pate a choux, a dough you begin preparing on the stove top. I made it for the first time when I baked Lois’ Cream Puff Sticks and was happily to find it wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated. Most recipes for cream puffs are essentially the same. Really precise recipes will instruct you to weigh the ingredients and measure out a cup of eggs. I’ve followed less precise recipes with good results.
For this batch, I followed Steamy Kitchen’s recipe and made my own piping bag from a ziplock.
You can also fill these pastries with sweet foods like fresh whipped cream and berries. I like making my pate a choux dough with very little (or no) sugar in either a sweet or savory application, but you could certainly add more sugar.
Cream Puffs Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 425℉.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter in the water over medium heat.
- Stream in the flour and incorporate it into the water-butter mixture by stirring quickly. Let the dough cook briefly and remove from heat.
- Allow dough to cool until it’s warm. For quicker cooling, transfer dough to a stand mixer bowl or wait longer before adding the eggs. If you add the eggs when the dough is too hot, they will scramble.
- Once the dough is not screaming hot, quickly stir in one egg at a time. Don’t be alarmed when the dough becomes slippery and separates. Just keep stirring and it will come together.
- Stir in the salt and sugar.
- Pipe the dough onto a greased baking sheet (or one lined with parchment) or drop by the spoonful. Leave a little room for them to expand. Try to make the dough balls the same size and squish down any points to avoid burning.
- Bake for about ten minutes. Reduce heat and bake small cream puffs for about 20 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown. Remove earlier if you think they will burn. Larger puffs may take about 30 minutes.
- Final words of advice: Try not to open your oven too often, otherwise you’ll release the heat. If you undercook the cream puffs, they will deflate and have a gummy texture inside. Look for a pronounced golden brown color.
- Cool completely before storing in a bag or container. I store them in the fridge after a day.
Jeni’s Favorite Egg Salad
Egg salad is another food that we made so often in culinary school that I can practically make in my sleep. I never measure, but add whatever I like and taste as I go. Here is my not very precise method:
Hard boiled eggs
Onion, finely minced or grated
Celery, finely chopped
Pickle, your favorite variety finely chopped (or relish). I used part of a sweet and spicy pickle spear.
- Prepare as many hardboiled eggs as you’d like. I used six for a small bowl of egg salad. It’s an adequate amount to fill one batch of cream puff halves. I put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. I bring them to a boil, remove the pot from heat, cover and let sit for about 12 minutes. Then, I submerge them in ice water until cool and peel.
- Cut eggs in half. Add the yolks to the bowl and chop the whites.
- Add a couple dollops of mayonnaise, a good squirt of mustard, and minced onion, celery and pickle. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper and dill.