Somebody Else’s Mom – Mela’s Cream Puffs

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Please enjoy my first column on Somebody Else’s Mom.
Carmela DeCarlo from Port Chester and her signature dish, Cream Puffs.

1 cup flour
1/ 2 cup butter
1 cup water
4 eggs

2 cups heavy cream
1 box French vanilla instant pudding

Confectionery sugar

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.In a saucepan, heat water and then add butter cut into pieces. Heat to boiling. Stir in flour
vigorously over a low flame until stiff using a whisk.
3.Remove from heat and beat in eggs one at a time. Continue beating until smooth.
4.On an ungreased cookie sheet drop by teaspoon or tablespoon (depending on the size of the cream puff
desired) at least 3 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
5.Remove from cookie sheet and let cool completely on wax paper for another 30 minutes.
6.In the meantime, with a beater, whip the heavy cream and instant pudding together until completely
blended and the cream is thick.
7.Cut off the tops of cooled puffs and fill with cream, be generous with the cream filling. Replace top
and sprinkle lightly with Confectionery sugar for decoration. Serve immediately or refrigerator
covered until ready to serve.
8.Makes 2 to 3 dozen cream puffs.
9.ENJOY – Elegant dessert made easy

Mela and I are very good friends for many years, so we talk a lot. For 30 years, I’ve asked her around the holidays, “What are you doing for the holiday?”, and Mela always responds with the same answer, “Making cream puffs for Justin”. Mela’s son, Justin, requests that his mom make them for every holiday, and I mean literally, every holiday!

She made me her cream puffs for a Christmas party once and everyone went crazy for them. This is Mela’s recipe. Till I did this story, I thought the recipe was her mother’s, but it was Mela’s co-worker, many moons ago, Dennis, who brought cream puffs into work one day. Apparently, his wife was an avid baker and she made them for the office. One bite and it was love at first taste. Mela got the recipe from the wife and it has been Mela’s signature dish ever since.

Mela shared her recipe with me and I have made them over the years. I prepared them for a good friend of mine, who was a licensed chef. She loved them so much, she asked for the recipe. A few months later we met again and she took my recipe for the cream puffs and made them into swans. They looked so beautiful and elegant; you didn’t want to eat them. My husband kept teasing me about how I never made him a swan. And he probably will never get a swan from me, but he will get a delicious cream puff!

If you, or someone you know, has a signature dish and would like to be featured on Somebody’s Mom, please email me at

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