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Puff Pieces

24 May 2006

The classic combination of choux pastry and custard filling makes a menu comeback with an array of sweetly indulgent interpretations.

This article first appeared in the 1 April 2006 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).

R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website www.foodservice411.com.

By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor
Caramel Crème Puff (above)La Madeleine Bakery, Cafe & Bistro, multiple locations. Baked in the Dallas-based chain's central kitchen and shipped regularly to restaurants, pastry shells are filled just before they hit display shelves. Two layers of flavor are tucked within: caramel-flavored pastry crème and whipped cream. Prepared fondant icing laced with caramel finishes the treats.

Vanilla-Bean Cream Puffs

Vanilla-bean-cream-puff 100x100
Vanilla-bean-cream-puff 100x100

Puff & Pao, New York City. Cream filling enhanced with vanilla beans is one of six flavors made daily at Stephen Elliot's 9-month-old shop, where sugar-free choices include vanilla and Belgian chocolate. Two types of equipment pipe double-layered shells to order: a doughnut-filling machine for high-volume flavors and cream-whipping chargers for the rest.

Jumbo Cream Puff

Jumbo-Cream-Puff 100x100
Jumbo-Cream-Puff 100x100

Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus, Columbus, Ohio. Size is a selling point for cream puffs at this historic eatery, where the desserts bursting with a blend of whipped cream and vanilla pudding weigh nearly three-quarters of a pound. The pastry shells, made from a family recipe in use since 1967, are cut at 45-degree angles and filled using ice-cream scoops.

Strawberry Cream Puff

Strawberry-Cream-Puff 100x100
Strawberry-Cream-Puff 100x100

Beard Papa, multiple locations. Two layers, one made of choux pastry and the other from piecrust, distinguish the 11-unit Japanese chain's shells, filled to order and dusted with confectioners' sugar. For specials such as Strawberry Cream Puffs, flavored syrup is added to a proprietary whipped-cream-custard recipe flavored with vanilla beans and made daily.

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