Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

January in Washington is gloomy, it rains, a lot. You wake up to hear the rain, you go to work in the rain, you come home in the rain. You miss the sun and blue sky, being warm, and being dry. You start to dream of spring and summer and all the wonderful sunshine to come! I think it’s why I love summer so much, it takes a really long time to get here! So I try to keep myself busy in the winter months with craft projects, and baking. Two of the things that make my heart very happy, until I can get out into the dirt and sun.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it always makes me think of sweets. Since my middle son Matthew was born on February 15th, Valentine’s Day always seems to get pushed to the side. This year though, I’m starting a little early and bringing to you sweets you can make for your sweetheart to help celebrate the day!

I have been making cream puffs for 30 years or so. It’s a recipe I learned to make from my grandma Ivys. We are Irish on my dad's side of the family, Boyle’s to be exact, and when we would get together in the summer, there were a lot of us! When grandma first taught me how to make cream puffs, I didn’t realize what they were, because grandma wouldn’t fill them with cream or custard, she filled them with crab, tuna and chicken salad. To me, they were sandwich puffs, and you had to make a lot of them for a large family like ours. I miss being in that kitchen of hers at the beach. It was always full of bright natural light from the huge windows. I would be sitting on a barstool absorbing everything I could while she divided up tasks to my cousin-in-law and I. I loved watching her hands work a knife, she was so skilled at it. I miss my kids being little and seeing them in the backyard playing on the tennis court, throwing hundreds of balls to grandmas dog Ginger to go and fetch. Huge summer bonfires at night when you could just sit and lose your thoughts in the flames. What I miss the most though, is being someone’s granddaughter and that feeling of unconditional love.
It wasn’t until I started watching the Great British Bake-off that I even knew the name of the pastry puffs I was making. It’s called Choux pastry, it’s very French and I’ve been making them for a long time! Who knew!?
This week's recipe is for the sweet variety of Choux pastry. They are filled with delicious crème pâtissière and being served on beautiful Polish Stoneware in celebration of Valentine’s Day. You can see how happy the little Angels are because the puffs are delicious! The 4.5 inch Small Heart plates in Harmonious and Soaring are regularly $17.99 and on sale 20% off for $13.99, Meow regularly $19.99 and on sale 20% off for $15.99. These are the perfect size mini plates for a sweet treat! The Blue Flower cake plate stand is 5.25 inches tall X 10.5 inches wide and is regularly $139.99 and is on sale 20% off for $111.99. This piece in the center of your table is a show stopper!
Accompanying the sweet treats are a couple of Angels one in Harmonious, on sale for $23.99, and one in Winsome, on sale for $26.99. These little cherubs can brighten anyone’s day with those darling faces! Placemats are also available in a four-pack and are sold for $29.99. They are exceptionally made, and can brighten up the darkest rainy day!

All of the pottery pictured today is available for purchase at The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name and it will bring up all of the pieces available in that pattern. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Ivy's Cream Puffs

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 eggs

Bring water and butter to a boil. Take off the heat and add flour. Stir quickly. Add one egg at a time mixing to combine thoroughly before adding the next.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes until a beautiful golden brown.

Let cool completely before filling.

Crème pâtissière

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 large egg yolks (beaten)

In a medium saucepan, bring milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks to a boil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
Reduce heat slightly and continue to boil 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to get in the corners.
Take the pan off the heat and plunge it into an ice-water bath or, if you have lumps, strain it through a sieve into a pan or heatproof bowl set in ice water.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 oz heavy whipping cream

Chop chocolate to fine pieces, it melts faster this way, and place in a bowl.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan and place it over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Keep an eye on the cream — it's not necessary to boil or simmer it. It just needs to get hot.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir gently to distribute the chocolate through the cream and then let it sit for 3-4 minutes to give the chocolate time to soften and melt.
With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the ganache. At first, it might look spotty and broken but keep stirring until it comes together in a creamy mass.
Let cool till slightly firm so you can dip your filled puff in.

Assembling

Fill a pastry bag with your cream mixture and with a piping tip, fill your puffs. Dip into a cooled ganache or sprinkle with confectioners sugar.