There are five recipes for cream puffs in the cook book and I’ve only made one version. I don’t like cream puffs so I’ve been avoiding these recipes. However, my mother loves cream puffs so I thought I’d make some while visiting my parents.They are still using the same gas stove we had when I was a child. It is familiar but also a challenge to switch back to gas from my usual electric stove. I’m sure women in 1906 had the same difficulty transitioning between a wood fired stove to coal-fired stove and then eventually to gas or electric.
This recipe for Cream Puffs was contributed by Mrs. Wm. Rittinger to the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. The recipe is a bit vague so it was nice to have several other recipes on the same page to help give me some direction. I put the butter and hot water in a small heavy saucepan. Once it was boiling I dumped the flour in and quickly stirred. It became a thick dough and I removed the pan from the stove. I put the dough in a bowl and set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile I started making the filling. I put the sugar, egg and cornstarch into the cleaned saucepan. I had to guess how much cornstarch to use. Based on a larger recipe on the same page I decided to use 1/3 cup of cornstarch. I turned the heat low and then added the milk. I stirred continually as it thickened. I still ended up with small lumps so I think I’d use just a little less cornstarch.
I removed the pan from the heat once it was thick and let it cool. I added a teaspoon of vanilla once the filling was cool. Again I had to guess about the amount of vanilla. I moved on the cream puffs again and added the eggs one by one. I stirred well between each egg. When the dough was smooth I dropped teaspoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and baked them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. I removed the pan when the puffs were not only puffy but slightly browned. I set them aside to cool before cutting them in half and spooning in the filling.
Mrs. William Rittinger was Catherine Caroline Doerr, mother of six daughters.
I’m not a big fan of cream puffs but these are okay. I preferred this filling to the one I made the last time. The puffs were better when I used Mrs. May’s recipe back in April. My tasters comments were varied. My mother said “Lovely, lovely, lovely”. My father was more non-committal. He ate his but didn’t take second. My sister said the puff part was great but the filling tasted like tapioca (not a favourite for her). I’d agree that the filling resembled tapioca pudding especially with the little lumps. The puffs could be filled with other things like whipped cream or even jam. The filling could be used between the layers of a cake.
Mrs. Wm. Rittinger
1/2 cup butter, in 1 cup hot water, put in a small granite dish, on stove to boil, while boiling stir in 1 cup flour, take off let cool, when cold stir in 3 eggs, 1 after the other without beating, drop on buttered tins, bake in hot oven 20 or 30 minutes.
Filling — 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, thicken with cornstarch and flavor with vanilla.