Lou was so excited he could finally make the cream puffs. He went straight into the kitchen and started working on them. It’s a rather strange process, but the result is worth it and it doesn’t take too long. The product is an airy, soft pastry that you often find on the dessert menu under the name profiterole. It’s usually filled with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It goes equally well with icecream or custard, or even with cream cheese or a spicy dip. Lou really wanted to have the recipe in the book as it is so different from all the other recipes and it contains flour, water, butter and egg. To aid the puffing, a little baking soda doesn’t go amiss, but it’s not absolutely necessary. The pastry puffs up due to its high water content and the eggs. Don’t open the oven door during the first 15 minutes of baking as this will cause them to collapse.
Lou wasn’t keen on sharing the finished puffs with the others. If Mouse hadn’t caught him hiding in his kennel, quietly gulping down one pastry after another, the Dedes wouldn’t have found out what a skilled baker he is.
50 g butter, 1 scant cup of water, 1 cup of flour, 3 to 4 eggs, half a teaspoon of baking soda (optional).
If you have it, add 2 heaped teaspoons of cornflour to the flour.
Preheat the oven to 2100C
Put water and butter in a pot. Bring to the boil. Mix cornflour and flour and when the water boils, pour it all in at once. Move the pot off the element and stir vigourisly with a wooden spoon until it turns into a nice clump of dought that leaves the side of the pot and a white film forms at the base of the pot. Put back on the hot element for another minute while stirring continously. Remove from the heat and let cool for 2 minutes.
Stir in the eggs one after another. It doesn’t mix well to start with, but with continous stirring it turns once again into nice soft dough. Enough eggs have been added when the dough has a shiny surface. Be warned, it is a very gooey affair.
If you are using baking soda, stir it in last.
If you have one, use a piping bag to squirt the dough onto an oiled baking tray dusted with flour. Otherwise use two spoons to make little heaps. Allow enough space for them to triple their size.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until they are golden brown. Don’t open the door for the first 15 minutes while the balls are steaming up (hence puffs).
If you want to fill them, cut them immediately when you take them out of the oven. To cut the lid, use a sharp knife and cut through the middle three quarters of the way. So you won’t have to puzzle afterwards, which lid belong to which base. Then allow to cool.
They freeze very well and thaw quickly. So it is a good item to prepare for unexpected guests.