Jun 9, 2010, 1:21 AM
Post #1 of 6
Late Monday afternoon I stepped into the kitchen and started preparing a pate a choux. Tere heard me clanging around in there and is always curious about what I'm doing since it usually turns out that I'm making something she has never had before. She entered the kitchen and saw me stiring a big yellow blob of flour paste on the stove that I told her was equal part flour and water with a pinch of salt and a good-sized chunk of butter added. Then as it made a ball and pulled away from the sides I cut the fire and told her I was taking a smoke break to let it cool. I think she thought I had finally "lost it" by preparing such an unappetizing pot of glop but her upbringing would not permit her to make such a comment.
After my break I returned to the kitchen, started the oven, and was ready to incorporate 3-4 eggs into the paste but achieved the consistency I wanted with the addition of only two. I took out a double-bottomed baking pan and made eight roundish globs of dough. She started to take my pot I had prepared to dough with to wash it but I stopped her saying I wasn't done with it yet. To the dirty pot I added water and milk, a dash of salt, a long pour of sugar, one of the remaining eggs, and some maicena then took my submersible blender and mixed it to a froth and added heat. After it had thickened I cut the heat and started to add a bit of vanilla but discovered by smell that I had put in some rum extract by mistake. It was just a drop or two so I stopped, put some vanilla in and a drop of yellow food coloring, then let it cool.
About that time my puffs had risen and darkened enough so I turned off the stove, removed the tray and loosened the puffs and made a tiny hole in each and returned them to the extinguished oven then fixed myself a cup of coffee. At that point the time was right to load the rum/vanilla pudding into my pump pistol, then set it aside and rinsed the pot using my over-sized bottle brush which easily came clean and was put in the dish drainer.
Tere had stopped watching and returned to her TV program. I was just left with filling the pastries and putting them on a plate. In about 45-50 minutes from the time she first heard my clanging around in the kitchen I was presenting her with her first cream puff on a small saucer. She thought that was about the best thing she had ever tasted. Where I was a little concerned that two eggs was about half of what I thought I would be using it turned out well with just the right amount of texture and flavor from the eggs
As she ate the pastry she began questioning me about the procedure, thinking she had missed some important step, but I went over each part of the process and reassured her it was perhaps even easier than it looked, and that the pastry could be filled with egg salad, tuna salad, guacamole, deviled ham, or just about anything she might prepare as a guisado. It all turned out so well and was so easy and with minimal clean-up required I will have to make more very soon, but Tere studies everything I do and will probably be making some for me with her own touch before I get around to making them myself. It's not so much our war or competition but two allied forces battling against bland food and unimaginative meals.