Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Whipped cream puffs...

No, no, this wasn't my WED treat this week - I had something very, very good tonight for my WED treat, but I'm saving that post for the weekend when I have a little more time to play around with my pictures. It's going to be a good one with yummy looking Japanese food, so check back this weekend!!

Today, I'm breaking my savory food streak to share with you my very tasty petite cream puffs. My aunt LOVED the petite cream puffs from the local NAFUKO grocery store (oh, the memories!), and we always had them around when I was growing up in Nagoya. I never liked custard all that much, so naturally, I rarely ate those cream puffs. But then, as I got older, I kinda missed them. I'd go on about how they were filled with cream that bursted in my mouth - because they did - but the Papa Bear might try to imply that I was saying dirty things, so I won't go on. That dirty old bear. Anyway, as I got older, I decided that custard was pretty tasty and that cream puffs were awesome. I'm not sure whether my advanced taste buds of adulthood let me appreciate these treats or if my fading memory of childhood days make me enjoy them... Regardless of the reason, I now love cream puffs and eclairs.

The recipe I have for the skin is incredibly simple and they always - I mean, always - puff up nicely as long as you bake them enough. I got the recipe from a Japanese every-day cooking magazine called Orange Page. I literally just now - as I was typing Orange Page - realized that perhaps Orange Page is a play on the Yellow Pages, but that they forgot to make it plural (common Japanese grammatical error)...

Since it is a Japanese recipe, everything is in the metric system and you will need a kitchen scale to make the recipe, but here it is:

Milk 60 ml (~1/4 US cup)
Water 60 ml
Unsalted butter 55 g
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Flour 70 g
Egg 2 mediums, well-beaten

I specify that the 1/4 cup of liquids are US cups, because the Japanese cup is sneakily 50 ml less than the US cup. Strange, huh? I learned this the hard way when something I was making had waaaaay too much liquid when I followed the Japanese recipe with US measuring cups...

Basically, you just mix in everything but the flour and the eggs in a pot, heat it up until it comes to a slow boil. Then add the flour, mash it all up, heat that until the batter/dough slides off of the bottom of the pot, leaving behind an "oily streak of residue" (this is a literal translation of the Japanese instruction - surely doesn't sound appetizing, I know). To this hot batter, slowly introduce the well-beaten eggs. Pour into a zip-lock bag or a pastry bag and form soft-serve ice cream type twirled mini-towers (approximately 2 inch diameter). Lightly smash down the towers as you pat tops with leftover eggs from the bowl it was beaten. Bake in 400F oven for 25 min, then in a 375F oven for another 20-30 min until golden. If you take them out before it's golden all over, it will get flat once you take it out of the oven.

This soft-serve ice cream shape - I don't know how else to call it in English - always makes me laugh a little, because it is the shape of poop in Japanese cartoons. I tried to look for interesting looking images to link to for the poop, but I ended up finding unspeakable images...

I was too lazy to make custard to fill these with, so I just filled them with whipped cream and added some strawberries for color. Petite cream puffs. So cute, so tasty, and somehow so Japanese to me. Maybe because we Japanese like to make everything small and compact, and food is no exception.

1 comment:

The Papa Bear said...

Ha ha, the "poop" reference is the same for us Vietnamese. I had always thought that the little swirly balls to be baked into cream puffs conjures up the you-know-what image. Funny!

There's something to be said about exposures, though. There were things that I abhorred as a child (well, there were not many, but chive was one of them - maybe the only one), but ended up liking it a lot. Oh, the other one was daikon pie. But it's possible that I didn't like the daikon pie because my mom put chives in it.