This post comes from Camille Macres at Paleo Kitchen TV. Check out her free 3-day video course that will guide you in transitioning to paleo or simply eat paleo on a budget, when you’re busy or constantly on the go!
I remember the first time I made cream puffs. I was a senior in high school, and our very fun and lax French teacher gave us the assignment to make a French dish of our choosing and bring it in the next day for everyone to try.
I followed the recipe just right and was delighted with my little pillows of gluten filled with whipped cream. I ended up eating the whole first batch with my friend and having to make a new one for school. I even remember falling asleep on the couch after my gluten-induced coma set in!
I was really excited to find this recipe using cassava flour instead of regular wheat. The texture and consistency are just as I remember and these were a hit with the whole family. This has been by far the most popular video I’ve ever made, so I think it’s fair to say that you’re in for a treat!
The Problem With Most Baked Treats
It’s not that having a treat every once in awhile is such a bad thing, but the ingredients that go into many of them should be avoided. When you buy pre-made baked items, not only are they usually made with white flour, white sugar, and conventional seed oils, they often have artificial colors and flavorings that have been carefully selected by food scientists to make hyper-palatable to your taste buds.
Sugar and refined grains set off the dopamine receptors in your brain, similar to if you were taking drugs. When you say “my kid is addicted to sugar,” this is quite literally true!
Even when you make at home, but use these ingredients, you’re doing yourself a disservice since you can so easily use better ingredients, make them healthier and taste better!
It’s Not Just The Gluten
Over the last decade, we have all become familiar with gluten and all of its many alternatives. But why has gluten just become a problem even though we’ve been eating it for hundreds of years? And why can some people eat some versions like spelt, sourdough, and whole grain versions and feel ok?
It turns out that the actual gluten protein may be a real problem for some people, but for many, it’s the combination of the hybridized high-gluten versions of wheat on the market combined with compromised immune systems and digestion.
According to The Healthy Home Economist*:
“The real crux of the problem is the complete mess that the vast majority of Westerners have made of their gut environment with all the processed foods, sugar, rancid vegetable oils, antibiotics and other pharmaceutical use.
An imbalanced gut environment will most assuredly not be able to digest wheat that is high in gluten and undigested food rots in the gut producing excess gas, bloating, growth of pathogens, and breakdown of the gut wall that results in – you guessed it, “wheat belly” as well as autoimmune symptoms such as food allergies or gluten sensitivity.”
All that said, most people feel better on a gluten-free diet, and are well-served by it as long as the gluten is not simply replaced by other refined grains without any health benefit. Over time as the gut heals, many can reintroduce some high-quality grains especially if they have been soaked, sprouted or fermented as was done by traditional cultures.
A Grain-Free Alternative To Gluten That Actually Tastes Like It!
A gluten free flour that I have come to love is called cassava flour. Both cassava and tapioca come from yuca, but cassava uses the whole root with the fiber intact while tapioca is just the starch extracted from the root. This means that cassava root flour is the healthier option as the fiber helps blunt the blood sugar spike that comes with carbohydrates stripped of fiber.
As far as alternatives for gluten, cassava is the only one I have found that I can often swap in recipes without using several others as well. The brand Otto’s Natural has produced the best results for me.
Paleo Cream Puffs
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 25-30 Cream Puffs
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt
1 cup Otto’s Cassava Flour
Whipped Coconut Cream:
2-3 cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled 6-8 hours (look for BPA-free can)
sweetener of choice, to taste (coconut or maple sugar, stevia, xylitol as paleo options)
Coconut Chocolate Ganache:
16 ounces good quality dark dairy-free chocolate, coarsely chopped (Lily’s and Enjoy Life make great chocolate chips)
1 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
In a saucepan boil butter with pinch salt and water. Lower heat and add cassava flour, all at once and stir vigorously till all combined. Remove from heat. Allow to cool 4-5 min. Quickly beat the eggs, one at a time. Transfer batter to the piping bag, pipe in mounds onto parchment paper, bake at 425F for 25 minutes.
To make the coconut cream, open cans of coconut milk and separate the watery part from the very thick hardened cream. You should have 2 cups of thick cream, which will come from 2-3 cans of milk. Reserve watery part for another use. Beat coconut cream in a large mixing bowl or food processor, adding sweetener of choice about halfway through.
To make chocolate ganache, heat coconut milk and blend with chocolate until fully melted.
For best results, store each part separately for best results and assemble before eating. Or if already assembled, store all in the fridge and eat within 3-4 days.
Cream puffs in a plastic resealable bag or air-tight container for a week in the fridge and bring back to room temp before filling.
The cream filling in the fridge for a week in a sealed container.
Chocolate in the fridge for a week. Gently warm on stovetop or microwave to allow to drizzle.
Here are a few more delicious dairy and gluten free desserts you have to make next time you have a craving!