This week, I spent about four hours making 16 bite-sized profiteroles.
I started with a choux pastry. It’s the same pastry used for crullers and eclairs. It’s a delicate pastry that requires heat, precision timing and a LOT of stirring. After the pastry dough has been created, you have to pipe the pastry and then cook it. The pastry, straight out of the oven, has to be pierced to release steam and to create the holes that filling will be piped into. Then, you wait for the cooling process to take place. In the meantime, you create your custard or filling. I chose something close to old fashioned vanilla pudding because my husband does not like the eggy taste of custards. This is also something that takes patience and attention to details. A few minutes off the heat too early and it will never set, too late and it will scorch or be grainy. Then, you wait for the filling to cool. It’s only then that you know if what you have will work.
Finally, you pipe the filling into the pastry and dip in melted chocolate. All this for one bite of pastry perfection.
In this day and age, it is harder and harder to be patient and to work diligently on something that is satisfying, but not a huge return on time invested. When was the last time you spent a few hours doing something satisfying without checking your phone? Those are just the digital distractions. There are the more physical distractions of kids and spouses. Then, there is the constant distraction of “I should be…”
Sometimes, you should be doing nothing but working to bring yourself to a place of concentration and satisfaction.
I’ll never be a pastry chef, but spending a little time making something lovely and delicate and delicious was good for me. It was an accomplishment. It, to be a little more meta than usual, cleared my mind to focus just on what I was doing without worrying about the things I should be doing.
Spending that kind of time every week might be too much for you, and it’s probably too much for me, too. If, once a month, you take four hours to do something that is just YOU, it can make all the difference in your attitude the other 740 hours of the month.
Sr. Director of Product Monetization and Audience Insights