Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Les Chouquettes Canelle

Luigi Pirandello was an Italian playwright and author. At least that's what wikipedia's intro says about him. I think of him more as a philosopher, though. He believed that people are made up of layers upon layers with no solid core. We're made up of layers we give our selves, and layers others give us. It's a little too existential for me. I think we all have unique cores that tie us to God and to each other. But on top of that I think it is like Pirandello believed. We put on layers, personality traits, characteristics, habits, whatever you want to call them, that are labeled by ourselves and by others. I realized the other day that I've let go of one of my layers. I don't categorize myself as a scientist anymore, something that I've held onto for nearly a decade. It was particularly hard to let go of because it is a layer most everyone I know also puts on me. But when I think of my symbolic self, that word doesn't belong anymore. In my journey to define the self I'm happy to let go of this piece of fabric. Now, instead, I'm trying on a "baking layer" in a larger more influential way. Perhaps I'll discover at some point that baking should remain a smaller piece of fabric, but for now I'm enjoying knitting a bigger layer, which includes sharing it all with you on this blog.
Another thread to add to the square, chouquettes. Essentially cream-less cream puffs. Cream puffs are choux pastry, and if you've never thought to try the bread-y part of your cream puff without the cream, then you're not missing anything. Choux is rather bland, and I didn't really understand why there is a whole separate dessert dedicated just to the choux. But I added a bit of cinnamon (canelle) for flavor, and my opinion has completely changed. These little guys are ADDICTING! Everyone at work and home loved 'em. Definately a keeper.


3/4 water
1/4 c cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 T sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup flour
1 T cinnamon
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Combine water, cream, salt, sugar and butter in a medium sauce pan and cook until the butter has all melted. Add the flour and cinnamon all at once and stir over medium heat for another minute until the batter comes together and doesn't stick to the sides of the pot.
Transfer the batter to a bowl and let sit for about 5 minutes until it no longer steams.
Add the eggs one at a time mixing well with a hand mixer each time.
Pipe or spoon a teaspoon of the choux (batter) onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle pearl sugar (or crushed up sugar cubes because you can't really get pearl sugar in the US) on them. Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes, or until dry.


Candice said...

Here here, I agree with that layers analogy, plus a core of course as you were suggesting. Very interesting food for thought... These look very pretty, and I love the presentation in the bag with a ribbon, simple and classy!

Talina said...

I commend you on letting go of the 'scientist' label. It's tough to break from a role that you and so many others expected.
. . . I can still send you geeky science jokes and comic strips though, can't I? Cause I recently found some GREAT ones. ;)

Lena said...

I think you are still a scientist. You are a baker, and there is a ton of science in baking. You are a great baker too.

Hilary said...

Scientist or not, I'm uber-impressed by your mad baking skills! I like the new look of the blog too!

dahlhaus said...

Like the new look of your blog! These cream puffs look amazing, will have to give them a try!