The writer’s grandson, 11-year-old Jude, makes cream puffs. Karen Schneider

This week the column is really about cream puffs, but before we get to those, I know you expect to have a healthful main dish recipe!

This cozy pairing of sautéed pork chops and flavorful beans can be easily tweaked to your liking. Just change up the type of beans and herbs to make it your own. Add a crisp salad or a seasonal vegetable such as roasted squash or caramelized Brussels sprouts, and you’re all set.

Now, back by popular demand, is the ultimate cream puff recipe, a favorite with my 11-year-old grandson. We deemed last Sunday as Cream Puff Day and after he had made me a lovely veggie omelet for breakfast, Jude set to work on these delicious beauties. (I was relegated to the role of dishwasher and filling taster.)

These simple pastries are the perfect nests for all manner of pudding, ice cream, fruit and berries, and can also serve as cradles for hot crab dip or lobster salad. They are best served on the day you make them but can be stored in a closed paper bag if necessary.

Jude stirred together the old-fashioned vanilla pudding, then embellished the crusty golden puffs with warm fudge sauce and whipped cream. This sauce recipe makes enough for all the puffs, plus extra for highly enjoyable spoon-licking.

We ate the puffs after a brisk woodland walk, then wiped the chocolate off our faces and took a much-needed nap.


Pork Chops with Beans and Herbs

4 (8-ounce, 1-inch thick) pork chops

4 slices bacon

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

4 cloves garlic, crushed


1 shallot, minced

3 cups chicken stock

2 cups dry shelled cranberry, lima, or cannellini beans

1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) thyme or sage leaves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard


1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Wrap a piece of bacon around the outer edge of each pork chop and secure with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic and shallot and sauté until slightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add beans and herbs and simmer until beans burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and cover.

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Sauté pork chops on both sides until they are golden brown, 4-6 minutes per side, reducing heat if needed.

Divide warm beans among 4 dinner plates and top each serving with a pork chop. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Yield: 4 servings


Cream Puffs

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

4 eggs

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Melt butter in water. Turn off heat and with wooden spoon, stir in flour until mixture forms into a ball. Stir in eggs one at a time, beating until mixture becomes stiff and thick and all trace of each egg disappears.


Spoon mixture in rounds on to parchment-lined cookie sheet. Put cream puffs in a cold oven, turn temperature to 400 degrees and bake 50 minutes, until all bubbles of moisture have disappeared and puffs are brown, crisp, and sound hollow when tapped. Cool before filling.

Yield: 12 small puffs

Vanilla filling

2 cups milk

1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt


2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Scald milk in top of a double boiler. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a separate bowl. Beat eggs slightly then combine with flour mixture. Stir in small amount of scalded milk then add it all to the milk in top of double boiler. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Cook 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Cool and add vanilla. Chill. Spoon into cream puffs. Serve with a drizzle of fudge sauce and garnish with whipped cream.

Yield: 2 cups

Fudge Sauce


1/2 cup butter

5 tablespoons cocoa

6 tablespoons milk

1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in a medium-size saucepan. Stir in cocoa and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth, adding more sugar or milk to get the consistency you want. This can be refrigerated for future use and reheated in the microwave.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

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