I thought it only fitting that the very first thing I made with Lucille was my Granny’s Cream Puffs. I make them every year for my birthday because when I was growing up my Granny made them for my birthday. Momma was the master cake baker and decorator, but I always, always, always only ever requested Granny’s cream puffs.
Of course, being 93 years old Granny flat out refuses to make them anymore because QUOTE I am too damn old UNQUOTE. So I have taken over and I am very thankful I had the insight in my teenage years to make sure Granny showed me how. The secret Granny always said is that you have to make homemade pudding. She’s not wrong. Have you had pudding not from a box but cooked and just warm enough to melt the whipped cream you dolloped on top? It’s magical. I usually forgo the whipped cream and just eat it straight out of the pot–it might be the closest thing you can get to true love ;- )
The secret, Momma says is to make sure your eggs are room temp which allows the dough to bind better with a light, fluffiness. They’re both right. Now, cream puffs aren’t much of a workout for Lucille, since all she did was help make the dough, but still…it was an homage to my birthday!
So without further adieu:
Granny’s* Cream Puffs
- 1 cup of butter
- 2.25 cups of water
- 2 cups of flour
- 8 eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 400F. In a sauce pan, bring water to a hard boil. Add butter and heat until butter is thoroughly melted. Add the flour. Yes, all of it. Stir, stir, stir vigorously until a big, smooth blob forms (WARNING: if you don’t stir vigorously or continuously it will burn and that will be tragic!). Put blob into a mixing bowl and beat in one egg at a time until each is thoroughly incorporated (NOTE: This is where Lucille comes in very handy!). Once all the eggs are added the dough should be light and fluffy. Drop by tablespoon (or other implements of transfer) to a greased cookie sheet or baking stone (I find I don’t need to grease my stone…and I truly mean that only the strictest baking sense–get your minds out of the gutter!). Bake at 400F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. When cool, use a bread knife to cut off the tops, fill with warm pudding, and put the top back on. If you want to be extra fancy-schmancy you can lightly dust with powdered sugar. I prefer to just inhale them! 🙂
- 1.5 cups of sugar
- 1/3 cocoa powder
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon (yes, a whole tablespoon!)
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups of milk
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp vanilla (see cinnamon comment above!)
It says to use a double boiler. Honestly, I never do. BUT be warned if you do not, it burns very easily–so do not walk away or stop stirring! Whisk eggs lightly and add with milk to a saucepan/double broiler. Stir in dry ingredients. Bring to a slow boil, continuously stirring. Cook until it’s thick (usually 10-15 minutes–ish. I don’t know. I don’t time it–I’m stirring like a mad woman. Not vigorously like with dough, but continuously!). When it is thick, remove from heat and add butter and vanilla and gently stir until butter is melted. Let it cool for a few minutes and then add to puffs. You should have a bit leftover–it is perfectly acceptable and expected for you to eat this directly out of the pan while warm. You will thank me for that ;- )
BTW, the * is because I changed the recipe slightly from Granny’s–I add cinnamon and more cocoa, if you must know.