Authentic Victorians Loved These Cream Puffs

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Eleanor Rose

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Location
central NC
chou-a-la-creme.jpg
(Public Domain)

If a list had to be made of the articles of pastry held highest in popular esteem,
cream puffs would be found somewhere near the beginning
.”

~ The American Pastry Book by Jessup Whitehead, 1894
Our Victorian friends loved cream puffs for dessert and as tea-time treats. Period cookbooks are filled with recipes. During the Mid-19th​ century, the North and South even had their own competing versions. Dixie Cream Puffs, which were made with a sweeter dough than typical cream puffs, became popular in the southern states and Boston Cream Puffs, which had a richer custard for the filling instead of whipped cream, became popular in the northern states. The latter became the most popular style by the end of the 19th​ century.

This is the original recipe taken from Practical Housekeeping: A Careful Compilation of Tried and Approved Recipes by Estelle Woods Wilcox (1883):

Cream Puffs – Boil ½ pt of water & 2/3 cup of Butter together, when boiling stir in two cups Flour, when cool add 5 well beaten eggs.
Bake 30 minutes – Boil qt of milk add 2 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 of flour mixed together boil two or three minutes and small piece of butter
Split the puffs when baked and pour in the custard.

This recipe will definitely need some tweaking in modern times. For starters, I think you'll need to use less flour and butter. I'd also suggest baking the puffs first in a very hot oven for a short amount of time, and then lowering the temperature and cooking for a longer time. The filling will also need some tweaking – specifically using less milk and flour than the original recipe. This should help create a thicker, richer custard.

I found the recipes for Dixie Cream Puffs and Boston Cream Puffs in the Dixie Cook- book published in 1833. Check out this link - pages 81 & 82.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Made me laugh! That's actually puff pastry without all the pages of mystery added. Ever look up a modern recipe online? OH good grief- you know what I mean. There's an intimidating tome's worth of " This is too hard for all you clueless amateurs out there but watch me ".

The old recipes are awesome, rarely use others.
 
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AnnaLee

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
As a baker for 50+ years, I've made many cream puffs. There are different fillings but I like the fresh whipped cream the best. Can't beat them for a breakfast with a cup of fresh made coffee.
 
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