We all know and love the light, airy, and succulent to boot cream-filled treats known as Cream Puffs. Where did this delightful treat begin? When did it come into creation? Let us find out what Cream Puff Day is all about!
History of Cream Puff Day
Cream puffs are quite unusual pastries. They originated in the 1540’s when Catherine de Medici’s pastry chef created the baked puffed shells for Catherine’s husband, Henry II of France. Although both the pastry and its name profiterole initially came from France, profiteroles are one of the main national dishes in Gibraltar.
The word profiterole (Also spelled prophitrole, profitrolle, profiterolle) has existed in the English language since 1604, borrowed from French. The original meaning in both English and French is unclear, but later it came to mean a kind of roll “baked under the ashes.” A 17th century French recipe for a Potage de profiteolles or profiterolles describes a soup of dried small breads simmered in almond broth and garnished with coxcombs, truffles, and so on.
The current cream puff is only clearly referred to in the 19th century. The “cream puff” has appeared on restaurant menus in the United States since 1851.
How to celebrate Cream Puff Day
In order to celebrate Cream Puff Day, we can do a variety of different recipes to create different and unique versions of them. Recipes varying from chocolate filled puffs to the traditional whip cream and even ice cream. So let’s get out those baking pans and parchment papers because we shall invite family and friends over to share these delightful treats. Now, there are many recipes for Cream Puffs, but for the sake of consistency and order, we shall go with only one recipe. Let’s go with the classic! Cream Puffs with whip cream filling.
Starting off with the necessary ingredients:
- 1 Cup of Water
- 8 Tablespoons or 1 stick of unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 3 to 4 eggs, plus 1 egg for egg wash
Now, for the filling:
- 2 Cups of Heavy Cream
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla
Finally, the steps to making our cream puffs!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt, and granulated sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated for 30 to 60 seconds. Return the pan to the heat and stir for 30 seconds to evaporate some of the moisture.
Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 1 egg at a time, stopping after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth, glossy, and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining egg and mix until incorporated.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe the dough onto the baking sheet in 2-inch diameter rounds or balls. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 1/2 teaspoons water. Brush the surface of the rounds with the egg wash to knock down the points (you may not use all the egg wash). Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake until puffed up and light golden brown for about 20 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often while it’s baking. Let it cool on the baking sheet.
To fill the cream puffs, place a pastry tip on your finger and poke a hole in the bottom of each puff. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until stiff. Pipe whipped cream into each cream puff and chill until ready to serve for no more than 4 hours.