Chef David Verzello
Chef David Verzello
Chef Verzello is an honors graduate of the California Culinary Academy and has worked New York, San Francisco, Italy and Napa Valley. For the past 15 years Chef Verzello has been hosting cooking schools in a villa in Lucca Italy. He has since moved to Green Valley and has been producing events and dinners for private and winery events. His cuisine focuses on the “in season” local produce and products. His cooking school has been featured on The Travel Channel.
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Pastries with Pasties
It was always exciting when my grandparents came to visit when I was growing up. My grandfather always slipped cash into my hand and my grandmother always brought sweet treats. My favorites were the cream puffs from the Victoria Bakery in North Beach San Francisco. My brothers and I could gobble down a few dozen in a single evening. Fights would often break out over the last one. To this day when we are together we will re-litigate who cheated and ate more than their fair share.
In the insightful chronicles of the Stripteuse Lili St. CYR ‘Goddess of Love Incarnate’ by Leslie Zemekis, Lili is constantly reinventing herself and running away from her past. A life that began of humble means in Minnesota and went on to reach the heights of fame. Considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, she lived a life of luxury even as she stumbled through the heartbreak of 6 failed marriages, suicide attempts and addiction. Her life ended in obscure tragedy.
Yet for Lili, one connection to her past remained as a constant in her life. The recipes her grandmother taught her. Picture the very private and independent temptress, known for bathing in Champagne, working in the kitchen, cooking up dinner for friends and her chosen family of gays and fellow entertainers. Entertaining was always a part of her life and her parties were memorable occasions filled with brilliant guests, laughter and amazing food. She was said to make the best cream puffs. Cream puffs, tempting, delicate, decadent, a bit complicated to master, and sexy; just like Lili. I can only wonder what it would have been like to be one of her guests and experience the human side of this icon. I can however bite into a beautiful cream puff close my eyes and imagine it for a moment.
Recently, while chatting with friends on a group text, I was asked to bring the pastries to a dinner. Thanks to the powers of autocorrect the request for pastries turned into a request for pasties, which led to many colorful jokes and requests to see my pasties. Never wanting to disappoint I created these Pastries with Pasties. I hope Lili would approve.
Here is my recipe for cream puffs. Why don’t you make a batch, close your eyes, take a bite, wash it down with some champagne and think of Lili.
1 cup water
½ cup butter – 1 stick
pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 of your favorite pasties
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In medium saucepan boil water and butter. Remove from the heat and add flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon and return to medium heat and cook and continually stir until a ball forms and dough does not stick to the sides of the pan.
Place the dough ball in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On a medium speed add each of the eggs one at a time waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Put dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe on to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. You should end up with 12 pieces
Beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Pipe the cream.
Cut the tops off of the pastry and pipe the whipped cream into the bases of the pastry. Replace the tops and fit each top with the pasties.