The fact that anything made with clams has not crept its way into my foodie hall of fame is because I’m a selective (um, “picky”) seafood eater. So sometimes I miss out on the sea fun because I suspiciously stereotype and elevate food options to DEFCON 1 when shrimp, octopus, oysters and the like are on my radar. Basically if it’s cold and fishy, I’m likely out. Except for the highly rated ceviche sampler I had at Stephen Pyles‘ downtown Dallas hotspot that now is closed. Boo.
This recipe daunted me because of *clam* PLUS I had never made a puff before – cream or otherwise. Surprisingly these puffs were remarkably easy to make and I look forward to a little more puff magic to come. In the end I couldn’t help but notice how similar they were in size and shape to my childhood favorite Dunkin’ Munchkins. Glazed, powdered, filled or sprinkled, these sweet treats were born in the 1970s and are still alive and living life large today.
❤ When the recipe author Mary Stephenson (more about Mary below) wrote that these freeze beautifully she wasn’t kidding! We had leftover puffs and almost 2 months after they went into the freezer Joe enjoyed some when I was out of town for work and he said they were just as good as fresh. Shazam! Joe simply reheated them in our air fryer for 7 minutes at 400°F.
❤ Mary noted that you can substitute the clam with shrimp or crab. So you can enjoy “sea inspired puffs” 3 ways!
❤ I didn’t find clam broth at the store. But I did find clam juice which is apparently the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled for either.
❤ We halved this recipe. Sans hosting a party we would have been eating puffs for weeks!
To prepare: About 20 minutes.
To bake: 35 minutes
To fill: About 20 minutes
for the puffs:
1 cup | clam broth
1 cup | water
½ cup | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
1 cup | flour
5 | cage free eggs (4 for the puffs and 1 for the glaze)
1 teaspoon | more butter (to grease pan)
½ teaspoon | milk
for the filling:
3 6.5 ounce cans | minced clams, drained
8 ounces | cream cheese and chives (I only found chive and onion)
6-8 dashes | Tobasco brand red pepper sauce
½ teaspoon | fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon | Lawry’s seasoned salt
iii. What to do
1. In a medium-sized pot heat the clam broth/juice and water and bring to a boil. Add the ½ cup butter and let it melt – it won’t take long!
2. Stir in the flour all at once and stir constantly until the dough “leaves the pan” and forms a ball. Note: the dough isn’t literally going to leave/leap or otherwise hurl itself out of the pan – you’re just looking for when it begins to stick to itself and become doughy enough to form. :)
3. Remove the pan from heat and add 4 eggs, one at a time (you’ll reserve the last egg for the puff glaze.
4. Place 1 teaspoon butter on a cookie sheet and smear to coat the pan. Form the dough by hand into about 50 balls (100-120 puff balls if you’re making the full recipe in which case you’ll need more than 1 cookie sheet). When we formed the balls we improvised by transferring the readied flour into a Ziploc bag, cutting a small corner from the bag, and piping it onto the cookie sheet.
5. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
6. Make your egg-milk mixture by whisking together 1 egg and the milk. Brush the pre-baked puffs with the egg-milk mixture.
7. Bake the puffs at 400°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300°F and bake for 20-25 additional minutes.
8. While the puffs are baking let’s make the clam filling! In a medium bowl cream together the clams, cream cheese, tobasco, salt and pepper and set aside.
9. When the puffs are golden brown remove them from the oven and let them rest until they are cool to the fingers. Cut them in half with a knife and fill them with the clam filling (a little schmear with a knife will do just fine).
Yields 10-12 dozen as penned. Remember you can half this recipe!
Seafood Lover? I have a post coming soon with a great story about the Texas Coast that stems to my childhood. In the meantime check out the other Betty’s Cook Nook seafood recipes at right by clicking on yup – you guessed it – “seafood!”
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Who is “Mary Stephenson?”
We Kikers lived at 2927 Trailend Drive in San Antonio from the early 1960s until the mid 1980s. Mary was the Mother of the Stephenson family living next door to us.
Mary was a fabulous foodie friend of ours and you’ll see a few recipes from Mary’s kitchen here at Betty’s Cook Nook.
Our two families spent many shared dinners and laughs together so I was happy to find some of Mary’s recipes tucked in Mom’s cookbook since the Stephensons were a magnificent and memorable part of my wonder years.