Creamy, delicious eggs. Savory from the broth and mushrooms, with the slightest crunch lent by the onions. It’s not quite an omelet, nor yet scrambled eggs, but something like both, in that the chopped whites and yolks of hard-boiled eggs are combined in a thick, creamy sauce. It’s an interesting spin on eggs for breakfast, and a great way to use up any leftover hard boiled eggs you may have in the fridge. In fact, I bet it would be a terrific way to use up leftover deviled eggs from a party (if there is such a thing… I usually eat them all!). The mustard would be a welcome addition, I think.
I recommend expanding on the original recipe, and putting a hefty layer of the egg mixture on a slice of toast, topping with a sharp cheese, and setting it under the broiler for just long enough to melt the cheese. With this treatment, it can actually stand as a breakfast main course, rather than a side.
This recipe requires a small amount of back story, but will be well worth it, I promise you!
In the old family cookbook –For the full story on the book, go here— amidst other random bits of papers and miscellania, I found this envelope, marked with a crest. Naturally curious, I followed the paper trail, and discovered not only what might be the only surviving copy of the hotel’s Cream Puffs, but also fascinating details about the hotel and dessert.
The Hotel McAlpin was built in 1912 on the corner of 34th and Broadway in Manhattan. At the time it opened, it was the largest hotel in the world, had a veritable fleet of staff that numbered more than half the total guests, and even boasted a Turkish Bath on the top floor.
In the 1950s the hotel was lumped into the Sheraton hotel conglomerate, and in the 70s was converted to rentals. Today, sadly, it is full of condos, but in its prime was one of the striking hotels in NYC, housing guests during both World Wars and the 1939 World’s Fair.
The hotel was also famous for its Marine Grill, whose walls and ceiling were lined with custom tile mosaics depicting scenes from New York Harbor, designed by Fred Dana Marsh. Just barely saved when the hotel was renovated in the 80s, the tiles are now reconstructed in the Fulton/Broadway/Nassau subway stop. The original tiles are visible in this postcard:
Of especial interest here, though, is what was served in said restaurant, including the hotel’s recipe for Cream Puffs. Written on a sliced-open envelope of hotel stationary, the recipe is loosely scrawled in pencil. Presumably, one of my more enterprising ancestors wheedled the recipe out of the hotel chef.
As if it couldn’t get any cooler, I am keenly hoping that this cream puff recipe can be traced back to the period between the 1920s and the 1950s, when Champion Cream Puff Maker Forrest Glen worked there. As you can see from this photo, at over 7′ tall, Chef Glen was also rather tall.
Based on this reconstructed recipe, the man was indeed a Champion. A giant, if you will, among dessert designers, and a connoisseur of cream filling. Behold, his delicious Cream Puffs:
Perhaps the best part about this recipe is that it is so easy to make; in well under an hour, you can have a platter filled with these decadent Creme Puffs. The pâte à choux is straightforward process from beginning to end, resulting in tender, hollow little globes of pastry that are the ideal vessel for the filling.
Very light, but sublimely rich, the filling is the star of this dessert. The smell of vanilla curls up from the mixing bowl, enticing one to dip a finger and taste. The secret knowledge of the decadent creme lying in wait within the pastry is a promise more than fulfilled with the first bite. The pastry gives way with little resistance as the filling shifts, always seeming to overflow its bounds in the least expected direction.
A shockingly simple recipe, with stellar results, this one has made it to my permanent cookbook.
Hotel McAlpin Cream Puff Recipe
Makes about 18 Cream Puffs
Prep: 15 minutes Baking: 20 minutes Filling: 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 400F.
Melt butter in boiling water on stove. Add cup of flour, stirring vigorously until the mixture has become a sort of thick paste. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular kitchen bowl, for use with hand mixer). Break the eggs one at a time into the dough while mixing, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. The final batter should be smooth.
Transfer the batter into a pastry bag or a ziploc with one corner cut off. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper, making large blobs about the size of golf balls, set at least 1 1/2″ apart. You should get about 18 puffs total.
Bake the puffs for about 20 minutes, or until they are a rich golden color.
French Cream Filling:
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 4 Tbs. milk
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix heavy cream with the milk and beat until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until it too is stiff. Add the sugar and vanilla to the beaten egg white, beat for a few more seconds to mix. Fold the stiff egg mixture into the whipped cream. Immediately transfer to a piping bag, or set to chill in the fridge.
When the pastry puffs have cooled, the cream can be piped into them. Give each puff a good squeeze of the filling, but make sure you have enough to go around. You may also split the puffs and simply spoon the filling in, but I found that this made for messier eating, with more places for the filling to go. If you like, drizzle with a little chocolate.
The finished Cream Puffs should be enjoyed shortly after making them, but can be chilled for a few hours.
Although the dish can be sourced back to the early 1700s, the origin of the name is unclear. In any case, this is the ultimate Bag End variety of grilled cheese, this recipe is equally well suited to the savory spread of First Breakfast, or the mouthwatering array of Dinner.
The basic concept is that one combines cheddar, beer, and mustard, fluffs it up with some egg, then broils the whole thing on slices of toast. The resulting snack provides a wonderful array of textures, from the crunch of the toast to the rich, fluffy give of the topping. The taste is reminiscent of beer mustard on a pretzel, although the choice of a darker rye bread gives the whole dish a wonderful, rich earthiness that perfectly suits those agricultural savvy hobbits.
Welsh Rabbit Recipe
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 1 shallot, sliced thin
- 1 cup grated cheddar
- 1/3 cup ale or lager
- 1 tsp. mustard
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 slices of bread, your choice
- black pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the shallot until it has softened. Add the cheddar, ale, mustard, and salt. Stir over low heat until the cheese has just melted. Add the eggs and stir until the mixture has slightly thickened, around 2 minutes. Be sure to not overcook, or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!
Toast the bread, then spoon the cheesy mixture over the top of the toast. Cook under a hot broiler until the top is puffy and golden. Sprinkle generously with black pepper, and serve.
We were swamped with terrific ideas and suggestions for this meal. Combining our ideas with yours, this is what we’ve got:
We started with Kati’s idea that the meal would have to include lots of small dishes of nibbles for Dany to daintily pick at. Dylan is also probably correct in that there would have to be a “crap ton of fresh fruit”. We shopped at the local Asian market for some extra strange fruit varietals.
As per the suggestion of many, we served some spiced lamb over a bed of mixed grains. Also savory, the tea eggs from our Meereenese Breakfast. Equally exotic were the roasted grapes- half raisins with a burst of sweetness.
For a sweet finish, we followed Total Zelanity’s observation that Tyroshi Honeyfingers needed to be included. Add to that a side of Anne Clark’s suggested yogurt with honey and pomegranate, and some honey-cinnamon roasted chickpeas.
Our drinks consultant recommends a South African mead, such as the coffee, fig, or chili varietals from IQhilika, or a spicy Corsican witbier such as Pietra Columba. We also served up some of our home brewed persimmon wine. For a non alcoholic beverage, we suggest a minty green tea- a superior shade of green can be had by brewing matcha with fresh mint sprigs.
Dany really feasts like a queen (or a khaleesi, if you prefer). The grapes on their own are wonderful, but for a really incredible experience, combine a bite of yogurt, roasted grape, and lamb. The three combine for a really amazing flavor. The extra fresh fruits are luscious, but in my opinion, can’t hold their own against the amazingness that is Tyroshi Honeyfingers. I mean, fried dough, soaked in honey. Yes.
We also employed an old Jacobite tradition for toasting: Fill a small glass with water. Take your beverage of choice, and, while passing it over the water, say, “To the Queen”. In this way, any Targaryen loyalist in Westeros can secretly toast Daenerys, their queen over the water. :)
Doug suggested Ethiopian-style lamb tips, from lamb plundered from the weak Lhazareen
Min’s suggestion of something flambeed
EVERYTHING in Tami’s extensive list of courses
Faris’ suggestion of a course for each of the seven kingdoms, so she could metaphorically devour them
kkw for playing to my weakness for Turkish cuisine
Nate’s suggestion of a vintage Madeira, because it and Dany have gotten better with travel, are complex, and survive exposure to extreme heat
No wonder King Robert is so large, and there’s little question why the crown was six million gold dragons in debt.
And ale. And venison, mead, bacon, wine, tarts, and a plethora of other tasty, tasty foodstuffs. This meal left two of us utterly stuffed. The roasted veg were all soft and delicious, slightly caramelized from cooking in duck fat and cider. The venison was simply mindblowing. I have no words. The desserts were a wonderful conclusion, and proof of my theory that dessert occupies a different space in the stomach than does dinner. Sweet and delicious, we managed several of each before succumbing to a sensory overload. The honeycakes (forthcoming!) were absolutely divine, though. The Menu
“Cersei Lannister was breaking her fast when Sansa was ushered into her solar. ‘You may sit,’ the queen said graciously. ‘Are you hungry?’ She gestured at the table. There was porridge, honey, milk, boiled eggs, and crisp fried fish.” -A Clash of Kings
While Sansa might not have had the stomach for such a breakfast, we’re certain you will have no such qualms. The saltiness of the fingerfish is a flavorful counterpart to the sweetness of the honeyed porridge. The texturally aware eater will delight in the wide array provided by this spread: crunchy fish, delightful porridge mush, Oozy honey, firm egg. Wash it all down with good quality cold whole milk, and you’ll be set for whatever challenges your day might bring.
Just please, don’t set your bedroom on fire…this breakfast can be yours without the drama.
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“Dany broke her fast under the persimmon tree that grew in the terrace garden… Missandei served her duck eggs and dog sausage, and half a cup of sweetened wine mixed with the juice of a lime. The honey drew flies, but a scented candle drove them off.”
-A Storm of Swords
Breakfast in Mereen
We need a duck. To lay eggs. For us to eat. Because this was one of the most decadent breakfasts we’ve ever encountered. The yolks of these eggs stay creamy even after being hard boiled, and the texture combined with the subtle flavors imparted by its tea-immersion is just wonderful. Then you take a bite of the sausage and get an explosion of meaty, spiced nomminess.
Not feeling all that keen to search out dog sausage, let alone actually eat it, we swapped in some delicious lamb sausage instead. Lamb seems to be nearly everywhere in Westeros and Essos, so it is a reasonable substitute. We wanted the eggs to look exotic, so we used a Chinese technique for tea staining them.
The honey-sweetened wine is a variation on Ancient Roman Mulsum, and is very refreshing and very drinkable on a warm summer morning. The crispness of the drink counters the heaviness of the other elements of the meal, as does the fresh fruit.
Get the recipes in The Cookbook!