In my opinion the best place for a cream puff in Rockland County is at Mt. View Deli, but I forgot it was Sunday and that they close early so I wound up getting my cream puff from The Rockland Bakery.  Another great food establishment in the county, and generally my favorite place for anything else.

A cream puff is choux pastry filled with pastry cream, whipped cream, ice cream or custard – traditionally pastry cream.  Choux is a very eggy pastry dough cooked by steam.  It consists of only egg, water, butter, and flour.  A cream puff is the American name for a profiterole (what they are reffered to in European countries like England and France).  In England the pastry titled cream puff is made with puff pastry instead of choux.  Cream puffs have been in American restaurants and bakeries since 1851 or perhaps earlier, and originated in France during the late 16th century.

Although the recipe dates back to the Middle Ages one popular myth about where the cream puff was invented comes from the cook of Catherine de Medici.  Some say he invented them for the French Royal court.  Since Catherine was a woman who enjoyed fine art, it began to circulate that she also like art in her kitchen and asked for interesting inventive desserts.  This however is most likely just a myth about the upper class since recipes have been traced back further in history.

The original Cream Puff of Europe made with puff pastry is thought to be a descendant of a cheese and herb filled puff pastry snack from 13th century Germany and France.