Cream rolls, profiteroles – call them what you will – are one of my favourite pastries. When I was little it was one of the ultimate treats on an outing, I loved biting into one with the pastry cream (sometimes it was whipped cream) oozing out, relishing the creamy coolness encased. It was magical how these little balls of pastry could be filled with cream – even explained to me, it was mystifying how they were filled.
In the words of Bertie Wooster, the mind boggled.
When I chose Carol as my adoptee it was with high expectations, of myself: making gluten-free and dairy-free cream puffs. Carol’s cream puffs have been on the very top of my list of must-tries forever; I have made her dairy-free pastry cream before but didn’t, until now, make the pastry that makes the puff. Heh.
I’m sure you know Carol, whether personally or through her blog, or maybe you’ve heard of her. She’s recently published a cookbook, Simply Gluten-Free Desserts; a cookbook that I have not yet had the pleasure of giving a proper, thorough read but when I saw it in a local bookstore I didn’t hesitate to take a peek and it was anything but short of delightful. I’m keen to try the Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream, which sounds like a grown-up version of the classic strawberry.
My decision was timely, as she’s since posted a step by step tutorial for how to make cream puffs. That and the dairy-free recipe were my guides.
Over the course of four days, I have tackled pate a choux and I’ve yet to completely master it, but it has been – at best – a lot of fun so far. These are some things I’ve learned about tackling pastry and tackling any new culinary projects in general:
- Before you set out on your new culinary project, don’t listen to stories of other people’s kitchen or recipe disasters for entertainment purposes or relive your own previous disasters. Even if you did avert that disaster or if that other person’s disaster isn’t related to your current project at hand, you’re only helping to pave the way for your own possible disappointment.
- Don’t refrigerate batter that’s supposed to be choux dough in the hopes that it will thicken. It won’t work and it won’t puff at all.
- Listening to songs like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” and singing along to them helps boost your morale. Anything positive goes.
- Don’t curse what you’re working on, even something as mild as “darn” – unless you want it to not work out, that is. If so, this post isn’t for you. We do have a happy ending.