You too can “Pate a Choux”…this one’s for you Mam-aw!

IMG_1437My Mam-aw was an amazing cook! Her personality and culinary skills were both “Sweet and Savory”. She made Sunday dinners that were equivalent to Thanksgiving every week. She never asked anyone to bring a dish or assist her with preparation. My Mam-aw just found great joy by having her family gather around the dining room table each week to simply share great food and conversation. These nights created some of my very best childhood memories and one of the very first memories I have of cooking with her was making “Pate a Choux”.

Although “Pate a Choux”, like my Mam-aw, could be both Sweet and Savory, it was her “go to” for Bridal and Baby Showers. She would make a tray and stuff them with her homemade Chicken Salad, which made for an amazing and creative little sandwich.

Of course you can easily morph them into amazing desserts by stuffing them with homemade Pastry Cream, Whipped Cream, fresh Fruit…the sky is the limit here. Get creative! Honestly, my favorite way to enjoy them is hot, right out of the oven just by themselves. Their taste and texture somewhat similar to a Pop Over.

I know the name alone and its’ pronunciation is a bit intimidating, but I assure you that this “PUFF” is one of the easiest and most versatile recipes to make and even store for later use. All you need to know are some key tricks to insure success and you too will be able to “Pate a Choux”.

RECIPE
1 cup butter
2 cups water
pinch salt and sugar
2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In 2 quart pot, combine the butter, water, salt and sugar. I hate sifting so just whisk together the flour and baking powder. Once the water and butter come to a rolling boil, dump the flour mixture in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon or paddle to incorporate until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. *STIR VIGOROUSLY UNTIL IT FORMS A BALL .

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl or standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. *MIX THE DOUGH FOR A MINUTE OR SO TO RELEASE SOME OF THE HEAT. Add the eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat until the dough gets thick and ribbony.

Line your baking pan with parchment paper and either using an ice cream scooper spoon dough onto pan with proper spacing for expansion. Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 25 minutes longer. *DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, not even once, DURING THE ENTIRE COOKING TIME.

Use when cool, or freeze, wrapped in a plastic bag, for 2-3 months.

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Summer’s end and a fantastic recipe with homegrown tomatoes?

I view Summer as a precious gift!  Why does it go by faster than any other season?  Does it seem to anyone else that the kids start school earlier and earlier each year?  Summer is my favorite season!  I love everything about it, the warmth, the extension of daylight, the fresh local food, the kids being home.   My fretting about Summer’s end begins around, about the 4th of July.

You might be wondering, what the heck this has to do with “cupcakes and sprinkles”?  Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with the bakery, but we’ve been reminded of the season’s end a lot lately.  Our normally “happy go lucky” visitors come in looking sullen, contemplating the return home and back to the “grind”.  Our youngest customers, including our own children appear obviously dismayed by the thought of school days, homework, projects and schedules. What happened to the days when Summer vacation started at Memorial Day and lasted through Labor Day weekend?

This Summer, in particular, seems to have vanished.  Owning a  business in a resort town, the tourist season is obviously the busiest and we’re not complaining.  Plus, “time flies when you’re having fun”!   Our children, my niece and our parents have helped us more than ever this season, working in the kitchen, at the counter, setting up at Farmer’s Market and serving during Art Strolls.  We’ve had an absolute blast!  It’s awesome owning a business and priceless watching your family take as much pride in it as you do.

Not to be a total “downer”, of course there are many exciting things to look forward to in Berlin this Fall and Winter…Fiddlers Convention, Octoberfest, Victorian Christmas and 2nd Friday Art Strolls.  Heck, in my humble opinion, September and October are two of the best months to be on the shore.  The weather and water are still warm, the monster crowds and traffic are gone, the crabs still running.  We also have exciting, new sweets and savouries that we’re working on and “rolling out” this Fall and during the holidays.

When experimenting and testing new recipes, Summer gives us the best possibility of using homegrown, fresh, local ingredients.

Tomato Pie

Super Easy and Delicious

This season we have great farmers and gardeners provide us with some of the best tomatoes I have ever eaten.  We’ve made them “every which way, but loose” and one of our favorite recipes is a savory Tomato Pie!  So to conclude my rantings of Summer’s end on a positive note, I’m sharing this super easy recipe for all to enjoy!  Savor every last day of Summer and all of the “gifts” it has to offer.

Tomato Pie

one prepared pie crust (I would give you Shelly’s recipe, but she would kill me.)

4 large tomato

1/2 cup good mayonnaise

1-1/4 cup parmesan cheese

fresh herbs to taste

Slice tomatoes, place on paper towels and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Let rest for 30 minutes.  Prepared pie crust, prick and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese on bottom of pie crust.  Place drained tomatoes in circular pattern on top of cheese.  Add remaining cheese to mayonnaise and add chopped fresh herbs to taste.  We love the combination of basil and oregano, but you can use creative license here.  Spread this mixture on top of tomatoes and bake pie in oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.   Prepared side salad, open a bottle of wine and dinner is served!