As Basic As Choux Pastry, As Classic As Julia Child


A few weeks ago, I received an email invitation from Kristen Tarnol (on behalf of the marketing team for Columbia Pictures) to participate in the Julie & Julia movie’s “Blog of the Day” program. To be honest with you, at first I did not think it was real. “As in T-H-E Julie & Julia movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams about Julia Child (and Julie Powell)?…!…?” was all I could say to myself. Surely this was some kind of joke or a mistake. I was in disbelief until I received another email from her. [Sorry, Kristen!]

Unlike some of the few other bloggers featured, I grew up in the Philippines without having Julia Child on TV, not seeing Julia’s cookbooks as her mother’s or grandmothers’ go-to cookbook, or even knowing who she was until later on. And I mean, later on after my mid-twenties. Here I am, a fairly new cook who avoided the kitchen for most of her life, then decided to have a food blog that is now being featured on quite arguably the most awaited foodie movie of the year. How could this be? Tickled pink doesn’t even begin to describe it.

For those who are not familiar with Julia Child, she was an American chef who introduced French cooking to the American household. She wrote what would become a classic cookbook, with all the basic cooking techniques and recipes for the home cook:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The first volume was published in 1961; no not the one above, it’s a 1973 ed. To ‘celebrate’ being Blog of the Day, I decided to bake choux pastry puffs using Julia’s recipe.

They came out perfect from a recipe older than I am. As she said in her book, “A perfect puff is firm to the touch, tender and dry to the taste.”

Choux Pastry Puffs

She continues:

“Hot puffs will seem perfectly cooked when taken from the oven, but, if left as they are, they will become soggy as they cool because there is always an uncooked center portion that gradually spreads its dampness to the outside crust. To prevent this sad effect, small puffs are punctured to release steam; large puffs are slit, and often their uncooked centeres are removed. This is actually the only secret to puff making.”

Rarely do I fall in love with a cookbook’s text, but Julia’s is right up there. It’s very accessible, clear, easy to understand without being dumbed down, and with a little bit of mischief I would say. If you have seen some of her shows (a quick YouTube search will do the trick), you can see what a fun character she is!

I can’t blame Julie Powell for attempting to cook all of her recipes. How fun is that and why the hell didn’t I think of it? Haha. That’s what her book and the movie is about — the true story of Julie cooking her way through Julia’s 1961 book. A “deranged assignment” indeed, but what an adventure!

Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and I think she makes a great Julia: a six-foot-two-inch Mrs. Child, who’s still admired, loved and honored by home cooks and chefs alike. And because of the movie, perhaps even the masses.

Julie and Julia

I cannot wait till it’s out! I’d love to see how they portrayed Julia Child, the cooking legend and cultural icon. Watch it with me on August 7.

I’ll post the recipe for the choux pastry tomorrow. You’ll have to wait. :-)

P.S. As I’m about to publish this, Martha Stewart’s Cookie of the Day email came in and guess what it is? Cream Puffs.

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  • July 16, 2009 8:46 am

    Congrats Joy! What a fabulous honor! Your puffs look divine.
    .-= Amy I.´s last blog ..Grow Your Own #32 =-.

    • joy
      July 16, 2009 3:45 pm

      Thanks Amy! It is, indeed. I’m so thrilled! Thank you…I’ll have to give credit to Julia for a superb recipe. ;-)

  • July 16, 2009 9:47 am

    Congrats! Your choux look perfect. Great job.
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Desiree‚Äôs Pizza for Vegan Tuesday =-.

    • joy
      July 16, 2009 3:39 pm

      Thanks Wendy! This recipe is pretty much foolproof, I think. I love it when recipes just work.

  • July 16, 2009 9:58 am

    Wow this is awsome!! Congrats!! & I love cream puffs! they are light clouds and drops from heaven to me!
    .-= ROOM design studio´s last blog ..Stollen Moments.. =-.

    • joy
      July 16, 2009 3:44 pm

      Thanks Bash! I just pop one into my mouth right away. Well, the empty ones. I haven’t made a filling yet.

  • July 16, 2009 10:22 am

    i’m glad you finally believed me :) is gorgeous and delicious and i’m so happy that i found you! congratulations, kristen

    • joy
      July 16, 2009 3:38 pm

      Haha…Sorry, Kristen! I only didn’t believe because it was beyond me to even be considered for it! :) Thank you again!

  • July 16, 2009 10:40 am

    This is a beautiful p√¢te de choux that you made. I have to start cooking from this cookbook. Can’t wait to watch the movie.
    .-= H√©l√®ne´s last blog ..Frozen Peanut Butter Pie – My Recipes =-.

    • joy
      July 16, 2009 3:37 pm

      Thank you Hélène! (I love your name.) This is a lovely cookbook with expertly explained recipes that work. :)

  • July 16, 2009 2:46 pm

    Congratulations, Joy! The puffs look stunningly beautiful.
    .-= Elle´s last blog ..Julia Child, Three Books, and a Whisk =-.

    • joy
      July 16, 2009 3:35 pm

      Thank you Elle! I loooove these puffs! These are even better than our family’s usual recipe. Now it’s just a matter of making the cream. :)

    • July 16, 2009 4:18 pm

      elle will be featured tomorrow on J&J. it makes me think that all food bloggers know eachother! what a wonderful big family :)

  • July 16, 2009 4:22 pm

    Joy, this is so exciting!!! Julia is definitely the master of the kitchen. One of my favorite quiches is her recipe, a definitely fall back on, again and again!!! Congrats!
    .-= Chez US´s last blog ..The Incredible Edible Poached Egg: How to Poach an Egg =-.

    • joy
      July 18, 2009 11:04 pm

      Indeed she is! I will have to try the quiche…yumm.

  • July 16, 2009 6:05 pm

    I thought it was a spam or hoax at first too! Great post!
    .-= Shari´s last blog ..Bavarois √† la Framboise (Strawberry Bavarian Cream with Strawberry Coulis) =-.

    • joy
      July 18, 2009 11:05 pm

      Oh good, so I’m not the only one. :) Thanks Shari!

  • July 17, 2009 6:58 am

    Beautiful choux. Where’s the creme patissiere? ;) I too didn’t really know much about her till much later in life, but I know she’s really revered in American culinary tradition!
    .-= Manggy´s last blog ..Winter in New York (New York Part 1) =-.

    • joy
      July 18, 2009 11:06 pm

      Coming soon. I love that her recipes just plain work. Plus she had a great sense of humour to boot and a zest for life. :)

  • July 18, 2009 10:13 pm

    I always wonder how the outside of beautiful puffs keeps so crunchy and fluffy. Oh, that’s a secret behind of making them. Thanks for sharing.
    I was the one who were not familiar with Julia Child, until the movie trailer came into place in Australia. I guess she must be a very famous person. I shouldn’t miss the movie and her cookbooks too.
    Last but not least, CONGRATS!
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Stir-fried Broccoli with Beef =-.

    • joy
      July 18, 2009 11:03 pm

      You’re welcome! I thought my mom already had a foolproof puff recipe, but this one is even better. Her cookbooks are worth investing in. I read somewhere that for “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, the recipes were tested 20x. The recipes simply work, like the one for the puffs. She included very good tips for each recipe, too.

      Thank you so much! This is all so very exciting. :)

  • July 19, 2009 9:35 pm

    i love your blog!!! i’m going to watch Julie & Julia too! :D
    .-= twistedsunshine´s last blog ..Greenwich =-.

  • July 20, 2009 1:39 am

    MMMMMMMMMM,…they look so tasty & delicious!!

    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Sophie’s summer salad with roasted plums, sheep’s feta, pine nuts, prosciutto & a plum dressing & some latest awards! =-.

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