Healing Kitchen

Cream Puffs
This cream puff makeover is courtesy of Jenny Nielsen who indicated to us she originally started making these "because my dad thought our mini-cream puffs from the store were made by me. When I heard how much he liked them, I searched for a recipe and was able to find this one, which we all love." Jenny's recipe was a pretty standard one: 1/2 cup margarine (this can often be butter), 4 eggs, flour, and water. And, like any cream puffs, the method of making them is quite simple.

Cream puff dough is extremely unfussy and, unlike most other pastry doughs, it does not need to be made with a solid shortening. This was the key to our makeover. Instead of regular margarine or butter, we used a liquid fat (you can also use one of the new "healthy fat" margarines). This reduced the amount of saturated fat right away. In addition, by eliminating the margarine, we also reduced the trans fatty acids (trans fats have been implicated in cardio-vascular disease). Best of all, the oil we used was a walnut oil, which is exceptionally high in monounsaturated fat (which in turn is connected with cholesterol reduction). Speaking of cholesterol, we also reduced the total number of egg yolks-where all the cholesterol is in an egg--from 4 to 2. We compensated in the recipe by using some extra egg whites.

Although Jenny's recipe did not include a filling for cream puffs--she says that she has used either ice cream or whipped cream--we decided to get creative here and make a filling using tofu. When we develop a recipe in the Healing Kitchen, we usually share the results with our officemates. Trust us, there are people here who would have turned up their noses at a tofu "pastry cream." But the fact of the matter is they didn't even know the difference. They thought they were eating something sinful.

Dietary fiber (g)
Total fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
Sodium (mg)


     1 envelope unflavored gelatin  1/4 cup cold water  1 pound soft silken tofu  1/2 cup maple syrup  3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Cream Puffs:

     1 cup water  1/4 cup walnut oil  1/2 teaspoon salt  1 cup all-purpose flour  2 large eggs  3 large egg whites
1. Make the filling: In glass measuring cup, sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand 5 minutes until softened. Place cup in a pan of simmering water and heat 1 minute until gelatin has dissolved. In a food processor, puree tofu. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and gelatin; pulse to blend. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 1 hour or until soft, yet firm.

2. Meanwhile, make the cream puffs: Preheat oven to 425°F. line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

3. In medium saucepan, bring water, walnut oil, and salt to a boil over high heat. Stir in flour and continue stirring vigorously for 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball and leaves sides of pan.

4. Remove from heat. Stirring constantly, add whole eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. As you add each egg, the dough will separate, but if you keep beating the dough, it will come back together.

5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets spacing them 2 inches apart and making 24 mounds. Bake 35 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Turn oven off and let puffs stand 15 minutes in the oven to dry out.

6. With a serrated knife cut cream puffs in half cross-wise. Fill the bottom of each with 2 tablespoons of the tofu mixture. Replace the tops. Serve.

Makes 24 mini cream puffs (12 servings)

Per serving: 155 calories, 6.9g total fat, 0.9g saturated fat, 1.7g monounsaturated fat, 3.8g polyunsaturated fat, 0.4g dietary fiber, 6g protein, 18g carbohydrate, 35mg cholesterol, 127mg sodium.
Good source of: selenium.

Author: the Healing Kitchen staff
Date Published: 05/01/2000
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