Friday, May 22, 2009

When I'm Down

When something's wrong, I want to bake. When something's right I want to bake. When there's a celebration, I want to bake. When I don't feel well, I want to bake.

This means I bake a lot.

Yesterday I had the unreasonable urge to make cream puffs. It was suggested to me by a friend when I expressed the desire to bake something complicated. OK, she suggested croque en bouche, but I didn't get past the cream puff stage. Still, that's a pretty good stage!

I pre-heated my oven to 425F, then boiled 6 Tablespoons butter, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt in 1c of water. I turned off the heat and added about 3/4 cups flour. I say about because I start with 1/2, and then add teensy bits until it's right. That's how I deal with humidity differences and baking. I incorporated the flour and put the pot back on the heat until I had a beautiful shiny dough ball. I dumped the pretty dough in the mixer bowl and let it cool off for a few minutes. I cracked 4 large eggs into a cup measure and discovered that they were a whole liquid cup. What were the odds? I added the eggs about 1 egg at a time while the mixer mixed on low. I scraped down the sides and gave it a good shot of speed until the dough looked very beautiful to me. I plopped it into a ziploc bag, clipped off the corner, and piped golf-ball-sized lumps onto my silicone mat.

Don't do that, this sticks to silicone. No, I don't know how that's possible. Use parchment.

I put the lumps on a cookie sheet into the hot oven. I set the timer to 10 minutes. I got out the ingredients for chocolate pudding, plus some kirsch. I'm too lazy to tell you how to make pudding right now, that's for another post. I'll just tell you that I use skim milk instead of whole milk or cream or half and half. I made chocolate pudding. I added kirsch. It's yummy. I put it in the fridge to chill up.

When the 10 minutes were up, I turned the oven down to 350 and turned on the light so I could check for golden brown-ness. Oddly, this occurred at about 9 minutes, 50 seconds, so I let it go the full time. I removed my new puffy pastry shells, and poked them with a knife to let out the steam. They were lovely! Look!
Lovely golden brown shells

Anyway, after everything had cooled and chilled, I plopped a bunch of pudding into yet another ziploc bag, pumped some pudding into the shells, and made a pretty pile.
not nearly enough for a mountain

Cream puffs. Hooray! I ate one, I fed one to my room mate's boyfriend, I fed one to her aunt, I fed one to her mother, I wrapped up the rest and put them in the fridge.

My room mate doesn't like cream puffs.

Anyway, the ending of this story is that there are cream puffs in my fridge, and that while baking is a science, if you don't know how things are supposed to look, you really can't make them correctly. I feel really bad about not taking a picture of the dough stages, now.

Anyway - cream puffs!

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