This is the original recipe that has been in my family for at least 120 years. I have seen many versions, but nothing comes close to this one for authenticity. No southern kitchen would be without a perfect cream puff recipe, and this lovely French dessert is also perfect for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, cream puffs have been relegated to a fried, doughnut shop version filled with pudding. That is nothing at all like the light, subtle taste and texture of this fine original.
Simplicity And Elegance
This is one of the easiest, most elegant, and most versatile recipes. Since the pate a choux (pastry) is unsweetened, you can create a sweet or savory filling, making it a perfect appetizer, lighter main course, or dessert. This is the original pastry for making éclairs and the Croquembouche, the traditional French wedding cake.
From Our Archives
While I have found earlier versions of this recipe recorded in my family's cherished kitchen ledgers and journals, this 1890's entry is the earliest I have found in our ledgers of this particular version. The only thing I have added is an actual oven temperature setting, as my family's original recipe provides no information on temperatures. Do keep an eye on them as you bake yours and make sure they become dry and golden.
The original version is filled with lightly sweetened whipped cream and the top is dusted with powdered sugar. Many people add a chocolate, but this is the original recipe. There are two parts to making the pate a choux and both are quite simple.
Old Southern Kitchen
Pate A Choux
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup waterPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Add water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add butter to the boiling water. Stir until melted. Add flour to the boiling mixture, then stir for three minutes and until the dough leaves the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Once cool, stir in the eggs one at a time. Beat mixture to a sooth consistency. Drop by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 370 degrees and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and thoroughly dry. Allow to cool.
Filling and Finish
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar (or per taste)
Powdered sugar (to dust the top)
Mix heavy whipping cream with sugar, whip until fluffy. Cut through side of the cooled cream puffs and add whipped cream. Dust tops with powdered sugar.