Today Julia Child turns 104. Happy Birthday Julia!
I have a bit of a tradition in that I always celebrate Julia Child's birthday. I happen to think she was rather a cool lady, and she is somebody who inspires me, so in order to pay my thanks, I like to pull out her gloriously thick and heavy hardcover book (a gracious gift from my aunt, you know me too well), and bake something for her. Past years have included a cheese soufflé, quiche lorraine, and well, now I am shocked at the fact that none of them seem to be cake, or dessert like at all for that matter, and no chocolate? Who am I?
For reasons I cannot explain, my celebratory offerings have always been savoury. Mostly revolving around cheese. I've got my eye on the dessert section don't get me wrong, (I'm looking at you chocolate mousse), but I don't think anyone is disappointed when I offer them a fresh cheese puff.
My other incentive for making these goes way back. For years I have been meaning to attempt making the classic French dough known as "pâte à choux". Pâte à choux, also referred to as choux pastry is what is used in the making of such delicious creations as profiteroles, croquembouches, éclairs, French crullers, beignets, St. Honoré cake, quenelles, Parisian gnocchi, dumplings, gougères, chouquettes and craquelins basically a lot of fancy French pastries and sweet or savoury bites. I imagine that every good baker should know how to make pâte à choux, so I made it my personal mission to try it at home. I don't have the slightest idea why I thought it was such a daunting task and why I waited so very long to try, because it was remarkably easy and took hardly any time at all. It's like a Parisian one-bowl-wonder, and indeed a trick any baker or chef should have in their apron pocket.
Wanting to keep things simple to start, I just made these into cheese puffs. This simply requires adding grated cheese to the dough, and that's it. They don't even really need a filling, but I'm sure they would be delicious with one too. I just kept popping them into my mouth au naturel. And by popping, I mean tearing them apart first to admire their vastly hollow centres... Now I can't wait to make a sweet version and fill them with decadent creams or even ice cream. And chocolate sauce. Absolutement!
But these cheese puffs! Would be super fancy impressive served as hors d'oeuvres at your next cocktail party. You know I have so many of those. (NOT) but now I want to and should...
Pate a Choux Cheese Puffs
Recipe from Julia Child
makes about 20 small puffs
Next stop, croquembouche? OUI.