Easy Elegance

Cream Puffs with Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce.  Easy and yummy!After serving up a meal like Boeuf Bourgignon for Christmas dinner, I knew I had to do something easy yet delicious for dessert.  After much consideration, I decided on cream puffs filled with ice cream, bathed in rich hot chocolate sauce.  Nothing wrong with that!

I first read through several recipes for pate a chou before consulting my mother. I remember my mother making cream puffs (or profiteroles) when I was a kid, and I know my mom is not a fan of complex recipes.  I thought I found a simple enough recipe from the Joy of Cooking, but Mom told me to get out my copy of the Southern Living Cookbook.  The recipe she always used was from there and, she promised, it was a piece of cake.

I'm happy to report that I took my mom's sage advice.  The Southern Living Cookbook recipe was perfection--it was easy to follow and yielded deliciously elegant results.  If you need a fancy dessert that's easy to make, I highly recommend this one.  And the best part is that you can do whatever you want with the cream puffs once they're cooked.  They can be used for savory or sweet dishes, and the only limit to fillings and pastry shapes is your imagination.

Try this one out...it's a breeze.  And, you can make it ahead of time and stick it in the freezer.  Nice!

Cream Puffs, fresh out of the oven...cooling off.CREAM PUFF PASTRY

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs

Combine water and butter in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.Add flour and salt, all at once, stirring vigorously over medium-high heat until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a smooth ball.  Remove from heat and cool 4 to 5 minutes.Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon after each addition; then beat until the dough is smooth.Shape and bake pastry immediately according to recipe directions.  Dough can be used for cream puffs, eclairs, etc.To make cream puffs: drop pastry into 8 equal mounds 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet (note: I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper).  Bale at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.  Cool away from drafts.  Cut top off of puffs and scoop and discard out the soft, uncooked dough in the center.  Add ice cream and top with hot fudge sauce.