Posts Tagged ‘Appetizer’

The Miraculous Versatility (And Simplicity) Of Pate a Choux

May 18th, 2011 | Rachel

You’ve probably experienced the beloved pastry puff in the form of a profiterole filled with cream and covered with chocolate.  Or maybe it was filled with ice cream.  Mmmm…..

The possibilities are endless, as demonstrated by this drool-worthy photo gallery.

Fortunately for all of us, they are so easy to make!  Check out the recipe here and scroll down for photographic proof of how easy it actually is.

All you need are five simple ingredients… if you count water as an ingredient and lump sugar, salt and nutmeg together.

Melt butter, add spices, add water, add flour, add eggs, and you’re done!

Pate a Choux

A little word of warning… don’t put hot fillings in ziplock bags.  It’ll burn your hands and then explode.

Being the perfectionist that I am (news to all of you, I’m sure), I prefer neat coils of pate a choux piped with a pastry bag.  However, after my ziplock bag of pastry dough exploded, I learned these puffs will also come out just fine if you spoon out the dough.

And just like that you have hollow pastry puffs eagerly awaiting your choice of filling.  You’ll want to cut a steam vent and stick them back in the oven so the inside cooks completely.  If you make larger puffs, you’ll have to scoop out whatever is left inside before you return them to the oven.  Otherwise, they will collapse.

I made a cheese filling because these puffs accompanied my onion quiche as appetizers at the potluck dinner.

Oh, and that caveat I wrote about hot fillings and ziplock bags?  It applies to cheese sauce as well.

Take my word: be patient and let it cool first.

I only filled a third of my pastry puffs before my very last ziplock bag exploded.  The rest I reheated in the oven and drizzled with honey-butter and ate for breakfast a week later.  These things freeze exceptionally well, btw, so if you every have some free time, stock up on some pastry puffs so you can pull them out on short notice and impress your friends.


Gâteau de crêpes on the web log

April 13th, 2011 | Rachel

I’ve started noticing a few side effects of web-logging (sounds more sophisticated than blogging).

For starters, I’ve become one of those people who talks about their blog.  “I was working on an entry for my blog the other day…” or “I don’t know if you’ve seen the latest update on my blog…” or “Please please please visit my blog so my Google Analytics report will make me feel good about myself….”

I’ve also started talking to myself… even more than usual.  I find myself constantly having conversations with myself in my head about ideas for posts or what to write about a particular subject or how to say it.  This is most prevalent when I am cooking.  And, since many of these recipes take four hours to complete, I’ve had plenty of time to hash all of this out ahead of time.

Unfortunately, these helpful voices cease as soon as I turn on my laptop…

… like right now.


Maybe I should just stick to showing you photos of my food.

Tonight I created a savory gâteau de crêpes.  I was previously only aware of dessert crêpe cakes, but Julia Child prefers cheese sauces and spinach and ham fillings.

Everything you need for perfect crêpes

According to Julia, the easiest way to make a smooth crêpe batter is to throw it all in a blender.  I don’t own a blender, so I used the food processor.  The results were excellent.

Set-up for making crêpes

The recipe calls for approximately 25 6.5″ crêpes

The filling begins with a light cheese sauce, part of which is mixed with sauteed ham or blanched spinach

This recipe was definitely a labor of love.  I started around 7:00 pm and was still assembling crêpes at 11:00 pm.  Julia says crêpes freeze very well, so the next time I have an hour to spare, I just might cook up 30 or 60 crêpes to freeze and use at a later date.

Behold, the gâteau de crêpes.  It was magnificent.

Twenty five layers of deliciousness

The cake looks small (its only 6.5″ in diameter), but it is so rich that the servings should be pretty small.  This would make an excellent lunch or first dinner course for six people.

Now that this is finished, I am starting to think I should have come up with some great life metaphor about layers.  Ah well.