Celebrating "Cream Puff Day" and St. David's Day

Sopillas filled with Natillas

Tomorrow - February 27th is "Cream Puff Day" at my house!

Many cultures recognize "Fat Tuesday" - the Tuesday before Lent (the beginning of the fasting period preceding Easter) - as the day to make merry and stuff themselves in preparation for the fast; and families in Poland, Estonia, Sweden almost always enjoy eating creme filled buns - similar to cream puffs. But the day is also known as "Pancake Day" and since I am usually busy eating pancakes on that day, on the Thursday before Lent (when many pre-lent carnivals begin), I make it a point to eat cream puffs!

But this year, I am treating myself to something very special that caught my eye and fired my imagination several years ago in "The Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook" by Cheryl and Bill Jamison.

Apparently a frequent patron of the famous New Mexican restaurant loved to fill warm sopillas with cold silky Natillas topped off with a bit of whipped cream. I just have never been able to get the idea out of my mind. And it turns out that is a very good thing because if like me you are a lover of Sopillas and Natillas, together they make a delicious version of a cream puff!

Natillas, a very silky, soft custard resembling crême anglaise or crème patissière, originated in Spain - most likely the Basque regions - and is often flavored with cinnamon. The lucious dessert eventually arrived in New Mexico by way of Spanish settlers, and over time (centuries in fact) infusing the custard with cinnamon became optional! Most recipes simply call for it to be sprinkled on top just before serving. Long slow cooking over low heat is key to success.

I've included links to a couple Natillas recipes on line here and here, but the method used in the cookbook is completely different and delivers an incredible custard. Well worth purchasing the cookbook! In fact, any of the many cookbooks written by this fabulous husband/wife team is worth seeking out and owning!!


Saturday, March 1st is St. David's Day!

St. David is the patron saint of Wales. My great grandfather came to this country from Wales and as I begin to learn more and more about my cultural heritage and the magically beautiful countryside he left behind, I make it a point to observe the day in small ways.

I always try to force or purchase daffodils. This year, however, things got left to the last minute and I had to settle for the very last daffodil left in the whole store!

Set against a stark background of wintery bare branches outside my kitchen window (above)Â…

Daffodils waiting for St. David's Day

Â… the blossom heads are a joyful sight - full of promise that golden flowers should be bursting forth in just a few more days! I love how the blossom treasure hidden inside each green head appears shadow-like in early morning sun. (Look closely - I worked very hard to capture it for you!)

Although Welsh Cakes are frequently served on St. David's Day, I prefer making a lovely lamb, leek stew - sometimes with barley and sometimes with carrots and potatoes. Here are a couple links to Welsh recipes traditional on this day: here and here.

And you can find more ideas for celebrating and see gorgeous pictures of countryside in Wales here on Filth Wizardry- including how to make a paper leek - symbol of St. David.

If you are celebrating either of these two days, I would love to hear how!

Oh oh oh! Thanks for the

Oh oh oh! Thanks for the daffodil reminder! Last year Lucy of Attic24 posted instructions for a sweet crocheted daffodil pin. I bought the yarn and then forgot all about it :-). My Mom's 92nd birthday is Saturday; I'll buy her daffodils! I'm making korknisse for party favors; thanks for making me branch out in the color department!

Nancy - I am a big Attic 24

Nancy - I am a big Attic 24 fan too!  

But I missed the daffodil pin!  I am sure your mother would love receiving daffodils on her birthday!  Give her a birthday hug from me as well!

And.... you are welcome!  I love making Korknisse in lots of colors and textures.  Bet you ARE having fun - when you are using different yarn colors and kinds, each one is a new adventure!!

Hello Pam, My grandfather had

Hello Pam,

My grandfather had a Dairy farm on Anglesey in North Wales, where my mother grew up, so I celebrate St. Davids day too. Infact I am just returned from a flying visit to Wales to see a dear friend. I noticed the shops were full of welshcakes and everywhere the daffodils are just glorious!

I shall decorate the house tomorrow (Today I need to pack away our Valentines day things!)with the daffodils I brought home with me, a welsh costume doll, my love spoon and some knitted lambs. I also have a book about St David and some welsh folk tales to share with my children. Lamb and leek stew with barley sounds just the thing for Saturday lunch! Happy holidays!

Gill, I am so happy to hear

Gill, I am so happy to hear that your trip to Wales went as planned desite the weather.  

I remember my great grand mother always planted daffodils and made welsh cakes, and my grandmother taught me to make the lamb and leek stew with barley (hers was far and away so much tastier so I don't think she taught me everything!) and when my mother and grandmother visited Wales together the gift they brought to me was a love spoon.  

But the day was never officially marked to the degree that as a child I would have noticed.  It took YOU my friend to bring me back to celebrating my own roots!!!


I'm growing daffodils,

I'm growing daffodils, too!!!
Mine are blossoming in these days and they smell so good!!!

Silvia!  I did not know

Silvia!  I did not know daffodils could be fragrant!!!  But - growers are always playing aren't they?  We found some remarkabbly fragrant tulips last year and orchids - at least in this country - have been hybridized somehow so that that they can better withstand the rigors of living in our homes!