Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cream Puffs


In my neck of the woods there's a placed called Schmidt's -- an "olde" style German restaurant, which originated in our German Village area, that serves sausages, German potato salad, and other traditional German dishes, and, for dessert, Cream Puffs. Frankly, I thought Cream Puffs were more of French origin, but maybe on the borders of Germany and France traditional dishes cross over. Irregardless, Schmidt's is probably most well-known for their Cream Puffs -- delicate little shells filled with a thick, tasty whipped cream.

I don't eat at Schmidt's very often (in fact, I can't remember the last time), but my family requests their little Cream Puffs at home. (My high schooler recently requested them for his birthday.) A few years ago I set out to make a copy of the real deal, and I think these are pretty close. I don't think Schmidt's has ever published their "secret recipe" so it's as close as I can get. The recipe is not a complicated thing, but does require a little bit of old-fashioned work.

The "puff" part of the recipe comes from the green Martha Stewart cookbook -- it's just a basic cream puff. The filling is my own creation. Yes, it has instant pudding in it, but I'm not looking for an authentic cream puff, just a copy of the one my family loves.

Schmidt's Cream Puffs
makes about 25 (2-inch) puffs

Pate a Choux

1 c. water
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
4 large eggs


3 c. cold, heavy, whipping cream
3 T. instant vanilla pudding
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. powdered sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

Combine water and butter in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.

When the butter has melted, stir in the salt and the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the flour, stirring until smooth.

Place the saucepan over high heat and cook, stirring continuously until a smooth mass forms and the bottom of the pan is coated with a thin film (this indicates the flour is cooked).

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let it cool slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter until very smooth.

(Before batter is smooth)


(At this point the batter can rest, covered, at room temp. for an hour or two.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter two baking sheets, or line with parchment (I use cooking spray).

Place the pate in a pastry bag fitted with a plain round 1/2-inch tip (I only had a star tip, thus the ridges on the puffs -- it's all good), and pipe onto the baking sheets forming rounds (I made mine about 1-1/2 inches wide by 1 inch high -- you can make yours bigger or smaller, just adjust baking time if you do). I got involved here and forgot to take pictures, sorry.

NOTE: You do not have to have a pastry bag and tips to make cream puffs. You can also scoop the batter onto the sheets with two spoons -- one to scoop and one to scrape off the other spoon.

Martha says to lightly brush each puff with an egg glaze, but I skip that step -- they are pretty enough without it.You can do it if you want.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 375 degrees F. and continue baking until puffs are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Lower the oven to 325 degrees F. and bake until puffs are firm and inside is not sticky, about 5 - 10 minutes (I usually just bake them until they are a deep golden brown and it usually does not take as long as recipe states).

Cool on a wire rack.

Pour whipping cream into bowl of mixer. Begin whipping on low, slowly increasing to high. Slowly sprinkle in pudding mix and powdered sugar as you increase speed. Add vanilla, and whip until cream is firm and holds peaks.

Cut cream puffs in half and fill with a large scoop of whipping cream. Dust with powdered sugar. Chill until ready to serve.

Printer Version



Ana Maria said...

I love cream puffs! This was my one indulgence at the Oktoberfest when we lived in Cincinnati. My sister-in-law took us to Schmidt's before we moved here. I always joke that if it wasn't for Schmidt's I wouldn't have consented to the move lol. The funny thing is, we've been here for more than 5 years and have yet to get my cream puffs! Maybe after Easter. Anyway, thanks for posting this, I am salivating ;-)

Deborah said...

These look soooo good. I love pate choux, so versatile. I split my batch into sweet (cream puffs or eclairs) and savoury... I pipe a smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese mousse into the puffs. Delish.

I am so going to try your filling, it sounds wonderful and like it would be much more exciting and plain old cream!

Charlotte (Matilda) said...

Another tempting post! You might find this website interesting. We have had a lot of fun looking into the history of different foods. Here is what they have to say about cream puffs.

scmom (Barbara) said...

Ana Maria,
I don't know why we don't go there other than the fact that we hardly eat out at all!

Deborah, There'd be mutiny if I tried to fill them with anything that wasn't sweet. Ice cream is always good too.

Thank you. I wondered what "choux" meant -- little "cabbages."

Renee said...

petits choux - little cabbages. :)

Oh Barbara; THIS has to be the most scrumptious post, during Lent of all things and I'm seriously tempted to get this all whipped up here and eat them all. Oh dear, temptation is biting at me. LOL

Thinking of you and hope everyone is feeling better around your place.

scmom (Barbara) said...

Sorry to tempt, dear Renee. If it weren't for a birthday, it wouldn't have happened. ;-)