Cream puffs and profiteroles and eclairs…oh my!

March 14, 2010

Tired.

I have a stack of cookies, cakes,  and other wonderful stuff to share.  But I’m tired.  All the time.  I broke down the beginning of January and started popping a daily truckload of vitamins, hoping that would help.  Not so much.   I’m so tired that I am not sarcastic 24 hours a day; it’s more like only 15 or 16.

I’m barely playing my cheesy little games on Facebook (OK.  Now we know something’s wrong).

My blood pressure, lower than the average person to begin with (about 98 to 108/60 to 70), has on occasion dropped pretty darn low, particularly over the last month.  I still wonder if I should still be here to bless all with my wit after it hit a record low of 70/54 last week (based on a home BP cuff, not the doc).  Needless to say, I’m pounding salt like a crazy woman (how appropriate) but am still quite lethargic at times.

I am holding my own, though, and decided that I need to get back to the snarky attitude I love so much.  Maybe the increase in temperature outside and the clock change will help.  Could be the winter blahs, you know.

This afternoon, The Man came home from his “rounds” (aka a local watering hole or three) and we had a conversation on our enclosed back porch.  It went something like this…

Me: I bet Foodbuzz is regretting signing my butt.  I haven’t posted crap since November.  I need to get off my keister and put this stack of recipes together.  I think I’m going to do a final run on the pate a choux recipe I reworked on Valentine’s Day and try to get it up on the site in the next day or so.

The Man: Where’s the dog?

Me: Outside where you put her.  If I do this, are you going to help me eat it?

The Man: What’s she doing?

Me: Staring at the road.  Answer my question.  I can’t have all this crap sitting around because I.  Will.  Eat.  It.  All.

The Man:  What’s for dinner?

Half an hour later…

I am standing at the counter to the right of the stove.  In front of me is a bowl of eggs, a few empty shells, and a saucier containing the pate a choux dough with a couple of eggs already mixed in.  I am whimpering as I hand-beat each individual egg into the mix in the pot.  Enter The Man, coming in from the back porch.

The Man:  Ewwww.  What the hell is that?

Me: If you had paid attention when I was talking to you before, you’d know the answer to that.

The Man (looking over my shoulder): Is that dinner?

Me: Go far, far away.

So.  Everything you see in the photo, I am currently putting into my face as I type.  I figure the sugar rush will take care of my exhaustion for the night.  If you hear someone outside your window screaming “You can’t catch me, you purple monkey freaks”…it’s just me running around the neighborhood, overcome by sugar.  Please don’t call the police.  Or the scary people with the pretty white buckled jackets.

Or the purple monkey freaks.  I don’t want them to find out where I’m hiding.

Sweet Pate a Choux

Adapted from The Vault

1 cup water

6 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

A pinch of kosher salt

6 eggs

7 tablespoons white rice flour (sweet rice flour also works well)

4 tablespoons millet flour

7 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

Boil together the water, butter and sugar in a saucier pan (if you have one.  A normal saucepan is fine too).  While waiting for the pot to boil (DON’T WATCH IT!), combine the flours and xanthan gum in a small bowl.  When the pot is boiling and the butter is melted, add the flour and begin stirring with a sturdy spoon.  As soon as the flour begins to incorporate, remove the pan from the heat, continuing to stir the mixture until all the flour is mixed in and the dough forms a ball.  Set aside for about 5 minutes to allow it to cool a bit.

Bring a strong arm and some patience, because here we go.  If your arm can’t handle the stirring coming up, please don’t hesitate to use a hand or stand mixer.  It’s all good.  I’m just used to the stirring (and whimpering).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the first egg to the pot.  Using a sturdy spoon or rubber scraper, stir until the egg is completely incorporated.  Repeat 5 more times, until all the eggs are gone.  The dough is going to be thick and sticky.  If the dough seems lumpy to you, you can do a couple of different things: Use the rubber scraper to mash the dough against the sides of the pot to smooth it out or wait until the next step.

When all of the eggs are added, put the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a big round tip or ziploc-type bag.  I tend to use a zippy bag because I can throw it away when I’m done without dinking around with a tip.  If you’re using a zippy, squeeze the dough toward one of the corners and then cut off the corner so the opening is wide enough for what you want to do (cream puffs/profiteroles or eclairs).

Pipe your desired shapes onto the prepared pan.  I often do half of the dough in long strips for eclairs and then the other half, intended for cream puffs or profiteroles, is piped into golf-ball sized mounds.  When you’re done piping, wet your fingertips to pat down any peaks you may have left behind in the dough.  You don’t want them to burn.

Place the pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then drop the temperature to 350 and continue to bake for an additional 12 to 15 minutes.  The tops of the pate a choux shapes should be a lovely golden brown when they’re done.  Remove from the oven, then poke a toothpick into the center of each one (from the side, not the top) to let the steam escape.  Place them on a rack to cool all the way.

Now comes the sugar.  Lots and lots of sugar.

You can serve these a number of ways, of course.  I haven’t provided a filling recipe because there are so many things you can do.

Eclairs: Think custard-filled long john doughnuts.  You can fill these with pastry cream, pudding, etc.  Have to put good chocolate frosting or ganache on the top though.  You can fill them either by slicing each one in half and spooning the filling on or piping the filling into the center with a pastry bag.

Profiteroles: These are the small round golf ball ones, sliced in half.  Put a scoop of your favorite ice cream on the bottom half, put the top onto the ice cream, then drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Cream Puffs: Same as profiteroles, but with whipped cream as the filling.  Dust them with powdered sugar for serving.

Do the purple monkey freaks see me?  Oh crap, I better go hide.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie March 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm

You might want to consider seeing a holistic doctor, as you might be showing early signs of being hypothyroid or having trouble with your adrenal glands. One of the signs of thyroid problems is hair loss, i.e. you are losing your outer eyebrows, eye lashes, head hair.

I have problems with both and have been on medication almost since the beginning of my gf sensitivity diagnosis. People with celiac/gluten sensitivity tend to have other problems with their autoimmune systems than people who don’t have celiac/gluten sensitivity.

I hope you feel better!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Sheri March 18, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Natalie, you’re not the first person to mention getting checked out. Thanks for the heads-up :-)

zuzupetals March 21, 2010 at 9:39 pm

G-Free Sweet Pate a Choux? You are fantastic.
I hope you feel better soon!

Amanda March 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I think I just died and went to heaven seeing this recipe. Can’t wait to try it out!! THANK YOU!

Sheri April 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Hope it works for you!

Molly November 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Gluten Free Sweets are awesome! My best friend just found out she has a gluten allergy and so now she’s really having to adjust her lifestyle.. I thought for Christmas I’d put together a great cookbook of recipes she can do and not miss out on anything yummy! Thanks for the idea!

-Molly
Antique Jewelry

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