Today I made a BIG mistake. I thought that our family dinner was going to be on Christmas Day, tomorrow so I had planned to bring a dessert to our SIL: Sister-in-law's. This meant that I was going to work on it tonight . . .
well, as it happened, dinner was tonight so I had to fastforward my plans by 24 hours. It's a good thing that we suspended gift giving years ago so I didn't have to navigate the busy malls and like a horse with blinders I only had one task on my mind so I headed to the local grocery store to purchase some supplies, after breakfast with the guys
baking was my hobby during a previous life and I still have a counter crammed with the applicances necessary to do the job. While I haven't done much baking lately I was still able to multitask a bit. Here I am getting my workstation ready
(following in the toe-steps of the Barefoot Contessa)
while the flour was presifted, I sifted 1 cup anyway
I had one cup of milk on my new gas stove waiting for 1/3rd cup of butter to be boiled
after the liquid mixture came to a boil, I turned off the heat and added the 1 cup of sifted flour, in one fast lump
I had 4 eggs at room temperature on standby. I usually bring the eggs out of the fridge and put them in warm tap water to speed things along. It normally takes about 10 minutes. The liquid mixture to which the flour was added was taken off the heat and the residual heat is what is needed to temper the eggs in the next procedure
The room temperature eggs are added, one at a time until the flour mixture appears to loose its shine (looks more dry), then eggs are added until you have used 4 or so. Vigorous mixing with a wood spatula gives your arm a good workout
After the "dough" appears to look dry and can hold a stiff point, I use two spoons to make little balls to put onto a baking sheet. The dough is very sticky. You will find with experience that using your fingers creates more problems
I have my new Gas oven pre-warmed to 400°F and put my baking sheet into the oven. After 10 minutes I reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 25 minutes. Make sure you do not take your shells out of the oven too fast as the cool air may make them collapse. Here is what they look like out of the oven
In the meantime, while my shells are cooling I put ice into my Kitchen aid mixer bowl as well as the whipping attachment, and put into the fridge to cool. The freezer would have been better but it is full of junk food. It is much better to have eveything cold before you attempt to make your whipping cream
While my shells are still cooling down, and my stainless steel mixer bowl is cooling down I get my chocolate topping ready. I use a double boiler setup with water in the bowl below to heat the semi-sweet cubes of Baker's chocolate.
you have to keep an eye on the heat as you only want to melt the chocolate, add icing sugar to desired sweetness, and whipping cream to proper consistency. I don't like it too runny and remember that it hardens a bit as it cools down to room temperature
By now I have already mixed my whipping cream adding icing sugar to taste, sliced open my shells to be filled with whipped cream, and drizzled the tops with chocolate icing. And you can see my creation (below) . . . Cream Puffs
When I was younger I used to watch my Grandmother bake and I always got to lick the leftovers. Today I got the whipping cream all to myself
As I have mentioned before, Christmas to us is not so much the material things but the getting together with friends & family. We do appreciate what we have and the things we receive from others and we are thankful for the friendships and bondings over the years and especially from our Blogging community
As I am writing this I just remembered in my haste the BIG mistake I mentioned above. I forgot to add vanilla into my chocolate icing. I hope no one notices after dinner tonight. ( I suppose I could always lick off the icing and add a new batch, I mean, who would notice ? )
Merry Christmas to all of you where ever you are and may prosperity continue during 2012.
Here's a Christmas performance I recorded a couple of weeks ago at a luncheon at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel. A choir from a local elementary school, to get you in the Holiday spirit, using my 1920 8mm vintage camcorder, in full HD