It’s time for a bit of a confession.
I’m a snob. A dessert snob. A home-made, baked-from- scratch, dessert snob. I know…I know…this is a disappointing revelation and it’s not exactly something I’m proud of.
On more than one occasion, this has come back to haunt me. For instance, take the time I volunteered (for the above reason) to bring dessert for a supper group for which we were one of five couples. I love chocolate and nuts, and in this instance, that spelled "D.e.r.b.y. P.i.e.". Just thinking now about a perfectly-rounded scoop of French vanilla ice cream bleeding a creamy road map over the top of a hot-out-of-the-oven slice is enough to send me to the kitchen, channeling Kentucky thoroughbreds for inspiration. On this ill-fated occasion, however, Biblical prophesy and culinary poetic justice merged to instill a little humility in me–pride came before the fall! In front of God and everybody ("everybody" in this case, my supper group), I baked a disaster! Yes, it looked beautiful, the aroma danced in the air, and dinner was even inhaled in anticipation of this delicious punctuation to a perfect meal.
But it couldn’t be sliced. When I say "couldn’t be sliced", for once, it is no exaggeration.
First, we tried cutting it with a pie server. Nothing…hard as a rock. We graduated to a serrated knife and discovered, we weren’t slicing pie, we were trying to mine diamonds! We could barely manage a crumb! One of our friends poured COFFEE over it, trying to soften it up (lol!). Nothin’ doing. Thank goodness someone had brought a sad, little, store-bought back-up dessert; ego wounded, head hung in shame, I graciously accepted the
in my mind, inferior, but at least edible substitute.
After soaking the pie plate in soapy water overnight, and STILL not being able to cut that &*()&*$ pie, I threw the pie–and the plate–in the trash, disgusted. Apparently this is what happens when you leave the freakin’ eggs out of the pie. DON’T ASK ME HOW I COULD’VE LEFT OUT ONE OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS, I’m sure one of my kids cut off a finger or found a bed of copperheads or something to distract me.
When I find a recipe that’s simple, delicious, and makes a great presentation, I’m compelled to share it with others. Even though I’m a dessert snob, I’m not territorial; I’ll share the complete recipe, offering any helpful tips in addition (if Janice is reading this, I’m STILL sorry about forgetting to tell you to add water to the pie crust recipe–IT WAS AN OVERSIGHT, I p r o m i s e!).
About six years ago, I discovered a recipe for cream puffs I’ve baked sooo many times since, I should be able to do it with my eyes closed. With only four ingredients, you cannot mess these up! Can.NOT.! If you’re hosting a bridal shower, baby shower, or just having friends over for dinner….or better yet, if you need to take a dessert to an office social or family potluck or impress your new fiance’s parents or WHOMEVER, and you wanna show off your uber-cool baking skills, this is a fantastic "go-to" dessert. I’ve made them multiple time for our Annual Mother-Daughter Valentine Brunch (masquerading as a Tea Party), they really do taste as delicious as they look.
I usually fill them with sliced strawberries and a whipped cream/powdered sugar filling, but I’m including a chocolate filling recipe, too. There are other recipes for sweeter cream puffs, these rely on the filling for sweetness. I’ve stuffed them with chicken salad before, and something was definitely lacking. Lemme know if you try them, I promise, you’ll think you’re Martha Stewart when all is said and done! (This recipe came from a member of our former church, for some reason, I’m not comfortable giving out her name. I imagine she got it from someone else, who got it from someone else, and so on :)….
*** Oops, I forgot the initial reason I decided to post this (geez…:/). Left Coast Onlooker put out an all-call for beyond-the-basics cookie recipes for a Mother/Daughter banquet. If you have any sug- gestions, please follow her link and share your ideas. Sorry LCO (and thanks for the post idea today:) ).
1/2 stick margerine
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
- Put margarine and water in saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add flour and mix well, removing from heat.
- Add eggs, one at a time. Beat very well after each.
- Drop by tablespoons on slightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 400 degrees about 30 minutes (depending on stove). Cool on wire rack.
- Split and fill with generous amounts of whipped topping mixture and sliced strawberries or your favorite cream filling. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
Notes: Great–I cannot remember how many this recipe makes, but I ALWAYS double it; I think maybe two dozen a recipe? Also, they do freeze well–unfilled–if you want to make them ahead, then split and fill later.
Whipped Cream Filling (The Southern Living Cookbook)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
Beat whipping cream and vanilla extract until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, eating until soft peaks form. Yield: 2 cups
Chocolate Filling (The Southern Living Cookbook)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
Combine cornstarch, sugar, and water in a small saucepan, stirring well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat; add butter and chocolate, stirring until melted. Let cool. Yield: 1 cup