Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Really Loved My Grandma Muriel (and her Cream Puffs!)

It is very possible that my Grandma Muriel was the best grandmother ever.

These are some pictures of her enjoying her great-grandchildren...you can tell from these pictures that she was a very "hands on" grandma....




Almost every Sunday we would have dinner at my grandparent's ranch - their home was on a hilltop surrounded by apple orchards. We were a large family-when the aunts and uncles and cousins all came together-but grandma had a way of making each one of us feel special.




She always met us at the door-overjoyed to have us visit- and she held each of our faces as she kissed us hello. Having family together and doting on her grandchildren were important to her. She would buy us toys and treats when we were little and protect us from our parent's attempts to discipline. As we grew to teen agers she would stock her fridge with Pepsi and our favorite snacks and she would sit with us and enjoy Madonna, Duran Duran, Prince and Dire Straits on MTV.

My grandma was Italian and French Canadian and she used to cook and bake. She made apple pie and then constructed pie crust cinnamon rolls with the leftover dough, she made peanut butter candy and divinity at Christmas time and cream puffs and eclairs to die for. She is also the reason that I am so comforted by a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.

At the end of each visit, grandma insisted on coming out to wave goodbye. She would pull my grandfather's worn denim Levi jacket around her shoulders and resist the suggestion that she should put something on her barefeet. When we were little she would line us up and conduct us in a "chugga chugga choo choo" train out the door and into the backseat of our warmed cars. It was her ritual. Without fail she came out with us and would wave goodbye until we were no longer in sight.

Below is the recipe for my grandma's cream puffs, and in time I will share with you other favorite recipes that my Grandma used to make. I can remember her lining several trays with large choux pastries and telling me to "never ever double or triple this recipe...if you need more than one batch makes, then make another batch."
You will be honoring my wonderful grandmother if you serve these to your loved ones with a little kiss on the cheek.

Cream Puffs

For the choux pastry:

1/2 cup butter
1c boiling water
1c flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs

In a saucepan, boil the water. Melt butter in the boiling water. Add flour and salt at once and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball that does not separate. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add egss one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition until the mixture is smooth. Drop by Tablespoon full 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees and then in lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 25 minutes. The puffs will be golden brown. Cool on a rack.

Grandma filled a few trays of these with whipped cream and sprinkled the tops with powdered sugar. I recall her using cool whip (she had a big family to serve!), but feel free to use homemade whipped cream too (I do). Her other tray was filled with jello chocolate pudding (follow recipe on the box) and the tops were drizzled with a chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Glaze:

(1 oz.) square unsweetened chocolate
1 tbl. butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 to 3 tbl. milk
Melt chocolate and butter over very low heat. Stir in powdered sugar and milk, blending till smooth and of drizzling consistency

3 comments:

K-Falls Farmgirl Cheryl said...

OMG Nancy, you won't beieve this.. I was thinking of making these for Wednesday when my "new friend Gail" comes for lunch!
I now don't have to look up the recipe! Thanks Honey.
Love mom

Carol............. said...

Nancy,

Your blog was very personal to me. That's the grandmother that I strive to be with my granddaughter.. since I never had that wonderful relationship with mine. Thank you so much for this post ..it strengthens my belief....it's not necessarily how my granddaughter feels about me at this moment...but of the memories she'll have of me once I'm gone.

Jen said...

What great pictures! I miss her too. Every time I visited with PJ I left feeling like part of the family. Somewhere I have a picture of her and PJ with Alex and Ahren that reminds me of the one you posted of Jake and Alex. It may have been taken around the same time.