Thursday, January 22, 2009

Breaking My Leg and Cream Puffs! Finally I Had Time To Bake Again! Cream Puffs!

In March of 2007 I stepped off of a one inch unidentified step and broke my leg. I was packed and ready to go to the United States to visit my family and on the way to the airport, I stopped at Continental Airlines in Tegucigalpa at the Clarion Hotel to pick up my ticket. As I walked in the door, I fell. I and everyone else in the room heard the bone crack as my ankle doubled. Immediately tears came to my eyes and I started praying. The pain was excruciating.

I went to the hospital, had x-rays and then... I went home and ordered Jose (my adopted son) around and forced him to make Cream Puffs for me. Now let me explain about Jose. Jose was raised in a Latino chauvinist world. His mom did all the cooking and the only way that he or his father participated in cooking chores was in the form of bringing wood for the fire or water from the stream. God forbid he do anything else.
Backtracking 11 years ago to 1998, when I met Jose Benavides as a young man he was in the Honduran Special Forces Police Unit called the COBRAS. Their motto is "win or die". Jose was assigned to me by the then Vice President Vidal Cerrato. This was just days after Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras with a fury never before experienced in Honduras. Final counts showed 28,000+ dead and missing. He was assigned to protect me and the donations I had brought in from the USA. The people were so desperate for food and clothing that they literally swarmed the truck and tried to take things by force.

This photo is of Jose in his COBRA uniform several years after I met him. Now he is much "larger" due in part to my cooking and due in part to his departure from the COBRAs several years ago and the current lack of rigorous physical exercise. He is currently finishing law school.

Several weeks later when I was finally able to get around or over or through the 7 washed out places in the road to get to Valle de Angeles from Tegucigalpa, Jose COBRA went with me. This was the first time that I had been in my kitchen for weeks and I was ready to cook!
I made a HUGE mistake and asked Jose COBRA to help by slicing the tomatoes. He refused telling me, "Cooking is women's work and men don't do that." Taking into consideration that he was Latino I let it slide. The following night was a different story. I asked Jose COBRA to peel the potatoes and I got the same response. But he didn't get the same response from me. I fixed myself dinner and sat down to eat. He wondered where his dinner was and I said, "He who is too macho to help is too macho to eat." He walked off down the road and bought some tortillas and hard dry cheese from a neighbor and suffered, all the while smelling my pot of beef rib and fresh vegetable soup.

That evening meal was a turning point in Jose COBRA's life. From then on, when I asked for help in the kitchen, he helped or he didn't eat.

Background information complete, we now return to March 2007. When I hurt, I look for comfort in food. On the very rare occasions when I do not feel 100% I wish for mom's potato soup. But with my leg broken, now in a cast and still in terrible pain, I had a craving for Cream Puffs. If you have ever been to Honduras you know, NO ONE sells cream puffs.

Jose was at home with me, since I was unable to move. My leg was in a cast and I was in pain. I had an insatiable craving for cream puffs that only cream puffs would cure. I asked Jose to help me make cream puffs. The apartment has tile floors, so I scooted in a plastic chair on the tile floor into the kitchen and gave him "orders". Little did he know how much he would love those little cream puffs. He complained the entire time he made them, but when they were completed and after he had tasted them he began calling his friends on the telephone telling them that HE had made cream puffs and they were delicious.
So here it is almost 2 years later and I have extra whipped cream in the refrigerator that I need to use. So once again cream puffs have become part of the daily agenda.
There are NO photos! Why? Because everyone ate them so fast, I couldn't even get a photo. So, I have borrowed a photo from the web. It can be found at along with some of Nancy's recipes.

The recipe for Cream Puffs can be found on
Cream Puff Pastry

Active Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes
Yield: Makes about 10 servings

4 oz butter (1/2 cup)
8 fl oz water
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz all-purpose flour (1 cup)
4 eggs

Place butter in a medium saucepan. Add water and salt. Bring to boiling, stirring till butter melts. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir till mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, to flour mixture, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition for about 1 minute, or till smooth.

Scoop up some dough with a tablespoon. Use another spoon to push off the dough in a mound onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Leave 3 in between the puffs for expansion. Bake in preheated 400 degrees F. oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.. Remove puffs from pan. Cool on a rack.

Slice of the tops (or cut in half). With a fork, gently scrape out any soft, moist dough. Work carefully so that you don't puncture the crust.

Slice of the tops (or cut in half). With a fork, gently scrape out any soft, moist dough. Work carefully so that you don't puncture the crust.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved. Date Added: 01/01/2008
I then whip cream, add a tablespoon of liquor to the cream and a few tablespoons of sugar and fill the Cream Puffs. Happy eating!
PS The cream puffs must have been good for me. I took the cast off two weeks later as I received a medical team from the USA. Lots of people received free surgery and I was happy!

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