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Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream
& The Joys of French Living


A small bakery in France, on the Mediterranean Sea, sells
choux pastry filled with "crème pâtissière" or pastry cream.
They sell them with either melted chocolate or caramel icing.



My favorite bakery in Cassis, France on the Mediterranean Sea


Pastry Cream

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Choux Pastry

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
2 large eggs

 Caramel Icing

 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
 1/4 cup whipping cream
 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 tablespoon whole milk
 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar


1.  Pastry cream: In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk
     in the flour and cornstarch, then milk. Strain into a 3-quart saucepan.  

     Whisk constantly over medium heat. The mixture may bubble and it

     should become harder to pull a whisk through the custard. When thick,

     remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a small bowl, refrigerate

     1 hour. 

2.  Choux pastry: Preheat oven to 400 and bake an additional 25

      minutes. They should be lightly browned.


3.  The easiest way to beat in one egg at a time is to use the edge of the

     wooden spoon to "cut" the eggs into the dough. The mixture will be

     slippery at first, keep stirring and cutting in until it becomes sticky. Stir

     vigorously at this point until well blended, repeat with second egg.

4.  It is easy to drop tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking tray OR to make

     éclairs you can fit a pastry bag with a 5/16-inch plain tip and pipe out 3

     or 5-inch strips that are approximately 1/2-inch wide. Bake in the

     preheated oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an

     additional 25 minutes. They should be lightly browned.

 5.  Set the pastries on a cooling rack, then use a scissors to cut a small slit

      in the side of each pastry to allow steam to escape. Pastries are best

      kept in a cool dry place at room temperature. When ready to serve, use

      a clean piping bag and fill with custard.

 6.  Caramel icing: In a 1-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar, cream and

      butter over medium heat until sugar melts. Remove from heat, stir in

      vanilla, milk and confectioners' sugar. Top filled pastries with warm

      icing. Place in the refrigerator if you are not serving the pastries



     Variation: Serve shells filled with ice cream and top with
     caramel or chocolate sauce. Shells may also be filled with         
     whipped cream and topped with melted chocolate.

     Makes 12 filled and iced pastries


Click here for a printable version

More Recipes







French Women Don't Get Fat

The Joy of French Living, March 11, 2005

Banish the diet book! You don't need an ideology or a technology, you need what French women have: a balanced and time-tested relation to food and life. ~Mireille Guiliano

Mireille Guiliano's writing style is pleasantly playful, entertaining and at times deliciously decadent. French Women Don't Get Fat is a celebration of the French way of life. While Americans tend to lean towards "unsustainable extremism" in diets, French women incorporate slimming secrets into their daily lives. Can they eat pastries all day and stay slim? Should you skip your morning orange juice and drink water instead? Do French women workout at a gym?

Mireille Guiliano explains her own discoveries and shows how you can implement changes in your own life as you journey through four stages. First, you analyze your current lifestyle and then you start to make tiny changes that yield amazing results. The main goal seems to be to maintain a personal equilibrium. She encourages us all to "start avoiding foods whose ingredients sound like chemical weapons."


"Women in ancient Gaul baked croissants to celebrate the rising new moon. Crescent 
cake molds have also been found in many Greek archaeological sites." ~Organic Style


The Croissants in this book are delicious! Completely addictive...
I made them twice in one week! My husband now asks me to make them. 

By page 86, I was almost in tears and by 87 I was in tears. This book made me very homesick for my childhood days and as Mireille reminisced about her childhood and told stories about her grandmother, I started to miss my grandmother's apple tree and picking mulberries as a child. I missed the open-air markets in Seattle and picking fresh peaches off a tree in the backyard of our home in Africa.

Is this a diet book, a memoir or a cookbook? When is the last time you found a diet book with a recipe for croissants? When have you ever read a diet book that made you long for your childhood or dream of chocolate you purchased in Belgium? While this contains many delicious recipes, it is an unabashed romance with cuisine. You will start to consider having fruit shipped to you seasonally and will have many moments of nostalgia.

A few of the delicious recipes include:

Apple Tart without dough
Homemade Yogurt without a yogurt maker
Chicken Au Champagne
Grilled Chicken with Rosemary
Grilled Peaches with Lemon Thyme
Lentil Soup

If you are like me, you try to go on a diet and then become insanely hungry. Your body literally rebels against the changes and the initial weight loss is mostly water. Should you throw out your scale and start to focus more on lifestyle changes and a common sense approach?


Strawberry Champagne Style Beverage
& Gourmet Style Food Finds

Mireille Guiliano shows the way a French lifestyle where you embrace pleasure and savor each moment, especially the moments when you are enjoying a piece of chocolate. Walking and water consumption could be more important than food choices, as long as you keep your life balanced and practice a French style of eating. If this book encourages you to enjoy life more and to drink more water (she includes some startling information about beverage consumption) then Mireille Guiliano has done her job well. I also enjoyed learning new French phrases.

If you love cooking and want to spend a few hours reading about the pleasures of food, then I think you will love this book. I have visited Paris and I can truly say the food is of such a high quality that even the yogurt made me almost faint with pleasure. It has occurred to me that love is the answer to most of life's problems and a love of food, when balanced with exercise and a common sense approach seems to be the secret.



Do you enjoy movies? 

See American & Foreign Movies for ideas..



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