Thursday, September 14, 2006

Nitty.Gritty. culinary genius, again.





These photos are a little out of order, which I think in turn makes me look 'sloppy'. I am generally fairly good at technical glitches, but this photo order thing has me stumped. So, the top two pictures should be the last two in this sequence. As for the title...that's self-imposed. I just really like to bake stuff; I'm not trained professionally. Sometimes that's what makes the best chef!
What you see here is a dessert pastry that was one of my all-time favorites as a kid. I thought everybody's mom was making stuff like this for breakfast or for an after school snack. Turns out, some of you have never had this delicious treat. I feel for you. I would apologize for having the world's best Mom, but I am smarter than that. I know I would simply start another debate, and I'm not up for arguing at this point.
All of you cream puff fans will thank me for posting this recipe. I sat down and enjoyed my slice on my china dishes- food always tastes even better on pretty dishes. Besides, for as many calories in this dessert, I figured it had earned its place on my Ralph Lauren 'Claire' china plate. Maybe that's why I don't eat off these dishes more often. =) My lunches are sometimes less than deserving of nice dinnerware. Of course, maybe that would enhance the flavor...hmmm...I see BLTs on my nice plates in my near future.
On to my dessert. Here is the recipe for what I have eaten and enjoyed through the years...
Danish Puff~
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. water, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. almond extract, 3 eggs
Directions: Cut 1/2 cup butter into 1 cup flour. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. water and mix with fork. Round into ball, and divide in half. Pat out each half onto ungreased baking sheet (approx. 12"x3" strips)- these will be the crusts.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water to rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. almond extract and 1 cup flour. Stir until mixture forms a ball. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Divide mixture in half and spread evenly over both strips of pastry crust. Cover completely and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until golden brown and crisp on top. Cool and frost. You can also top with slivered almonds.

Frosting: Mix until smooth- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. melted butter or marg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract and 1-2 Tbsp. warm water. (You may add food coloring too.)
You will be tempted to make this often, because it is so simple, but I am warning you that it may not be that great for your arteries or waistline. Or, you may want to add about 3 more miles into your daily exercise routine. =)
And now, to 'publicly' answer a couple of comments...Anonymous wanted to know where I got the brown vest I was wearing in the pics yesterday. Well, the truth is (this will blow my whole fashion cover, whatever that may be...and maybe get me nominated for the show, "What Not To Wear") that 'vest' is actually a vintage Gap stretch shirt that was jet black when I bought it probably 10 years ago. I love it and still wear it, and actually found a similar shirt in orange at Ragstock this summer. I think it's the spandex that I love about this shirt.
Next comment was made by anonymous and simply exclaimed, "You have a nanny?!" The answer to that is yes and no. We had the world's best nanny, Rachael, living with us for most of the past year and a half. She attends college (even though I told her she was hired here for life and never needs to look further than our family for employment...which she finds funny- that my kids will have all long grown up and moved out and she and I will be somewhere, like WalMart and I will introduce her to an acquaintance of mine as 'my nanny, Rachael' and my friend will look at me and say, "Aren't you like 60-something and your kids are all grown adults?"...to which I will say, "yes" and I will leave it at that, and Rachael and I will just sort of look at each other and try not to laugh, because we knew years ago conversations like this were going to come up, so we had practiced them and even laughed at thinking about our future in this way) and so she doesn't live with us at this time, but I still have her number and can call her anytime and she would be at my house probably before I could hang up the phone, and my kids miss her all the time, and I probably wouldn't have this Nitty.Gritty. blog without Rachael in my life, because she used to help me get the kids fed and bathed and to rehab appointments and she allowed me more time in my life for things like grocery shopping and scrapbooking and all sorts of stuff that I wouldn't have been able to do in my schedule, because my hubby works looong hours all the time, and I would just be an overworked, stressed-out, frazzled Mom that nobody would want to read about in blogland. {One of my favorite things is run-on sentences. I used to write them in my highschool essays, because they made me feel like a rebel...once in awhile.}
That's my short answer in regards to having a nanny. So now I still cook and clean and bathe my kids, and I do the laundry and take out the garbage and make beds and grocery shop...and I somehow manage to find time to blog and scrap a bit...without a nanny. I just need to schedule time to hang out and get caught up with Rachael and all the stories we like to share. That's the part I miss the most. In fact, I might just write her a limerick sometime!


9 comments:

beth j said...

I was a nanny for two years for an amazing little girl. I know how special these relationships are and they always will be. Even if I don't see her everyday like I used to, I know we will always be close. Being a part of someone's family is a special gift that doesn't just stop when you don't work there anymore. It's cool because your relationship gets to a different level...more of a friendship than boss/employer, which is a blessing. Thanks for sharing your side of having a nanny. (P.S. I am a Bethel grad, too)

Apron Thrift Girl said...

I wish I could eat those delicious pastries. Hmmm....

Kari said...

Okay weird! I looked at your first photo and thought...is that my kitchen? I've already commented on the similarities I've found between you and I (I hope you don't think I'm strange), but I seriously have those exact canisters and that exact mixing bowl, which I love by the way. I got mine for $5 at TJMaxx and mine has the rubber bottom so it doesn't slip while you are stirring. Thanks for the yummy recipe. I'm dying to try it AND eat off my china (I can't even name the brand, that's how often I use mine).

Kari said...

Sorry, I meant the 3rd photo. See my first post above...

Cara said...

I must say, I liked the squirly and sassy tone of that last post. People's silly sides always makes me happy. Thanks for letting it all hang out.

Joyous said...

So..yeah, that definitely looks like something i should *NOT* eat...but on the day that I walk from here to your house to visit, I'll let you make me one. :)

Anonymous said...

The pastry is an authentic Danish pastry..I will attest to that as I too make it on occasion and it's "to die for". I use either vanilla OR almond extract in mine and the latter makes it 'oh so wonderful!" M-m-m-m!! One thing about it though is humidity can ruin the texture of it so beware. To store it in Tupperware is a recipe for disaster!! Tins are best!

tammy said...

Hi Jody~ I sent you an email with pictures of the pretty pink puffs that I made today. Thanks so much for sharing! My husband and kids appreciate it, as well as myself. =) God Bless~ Tammy in Michigan

Cara said...

is that some sort of special non-stick baking pad lining your cookie sheet? maybe i would bake more often if i could guarentee that my goods wouldn't be encrusted to the cookie sheet at the end of it all!