Nun's puffs

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Nun's puffs
"Nun's farts" or "nun's puffs" are a light, airy dessert pastry.
"Nun's farts" or "nun's puffs" are a light, airy dessert pastry.
Alternative namesNun's farts
Place of originFrance
Serving temperatureHot or room temperature
Main ingredientsButter, milk, flour, sugar, eggs; sometimes honey

Nun's farts (also euphemized as nun's puffs) are a dessert pastry originally from France, where they were known as pets-de-nonne, and which are now also produced in French Canada, the United States, and England.


The recipe is included in an 1856 "cook book" and Oxford University's Household Encyclopedia from 1859.[1][2] The dessert is made from butter, milk, flour, sugar, eggs, and sometimes honey.[3] Recipes call for pan frying (traditionally in lard), re-frying and then baking, or baking straight away.[4][5] The best-established recipes suggest cooking the butter, milk, and flour in a pan then adding the eggs (whites last) and sprinkling sugar on the mixture before baking.[3] Choux paste is also cooked twice, to prepare the paste and to "transform it into puffs". It dates to medieval times and is a cross between a batter and a dough.[6] A cream filling can also be inserted.[4]

The dessert has been described as "light tender morsels" that are "heavenly".[3] Another description describes them as a "cream puff batter that bakes like a popover.[7] Recipes for nun's puffs are also included in two Virginia cookbooks.[5][8]


The similarly-named French-Canadian dessert pets de sœurs (literally "farts of [religious] sisters") is sometimes confused with this dessert, but actually is a completely different pastry.

The lightness of deep fried beignets is said to have inspired the French name pets de nonne (literally "nun's farts").[6] The French Wikipedia identifies an earlier term for the dessert, paix-de-nonne ("nun's peace"), which is pronounced the same as pets de nonne, and likely the origin of the later term. The origin of the English name "nun's puffs" is said to be a mystery.[3]

A certain butter mixture is called "nun's butter", made with butter, sugar, wine and nutmeg.[9] Nun's farts are one of several foods that reference the church (others include nun's sighs, angel food cake, cardinal mousse, hermit's food, twelfth-night cake, scripture cake, Christmas cake, Quaker cake, Jerusalem pudding, and devil's food cake).[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] The household encyclopedia Published 1859 Original from Oxford University Digitized Jun 10, 2008 page 257
  2. ^ Hannah Widdifield Hannah Widdifield Widdifield's new cook book; or, Practical receipts for the housewife Peterson, 1856 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Aug 7, 2008 410 pages page 181
  3. ^ a b c d Tricia Laning New cook book Edition 12, illustrated Meredith Books, 2005 ISBN 978-0-696-22732-5 pages 639 Better Homes and Gardens page 126
  4. ^ a b Mrs. C. M. Crawford Houston Civic Club cook book Authors Houston Civic Club (Houston, Tex.), Publisher s.n., 1906 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Jul 22, 2008 128 pages
  5. ^ a b Mary Stuart Smith Virginia cookery-book (from a South Carolina lady) Compiled by Mary Stuart Smith Harper, 1912 Original from Harvard University Digitized Jun 29, 2007 352 pages page 29
  6. ^ a b Harold McGee [2] On food and cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen page 552
  7. ^ REDISCOVER GREAT HOME- BAKING Architecture v. 63, nos. 1-6 - 1985 Better homes and gardens
  8. ^ [Housekeeping in old Virginia: containing contributions from two hundred and fifty of Virginia's noted housewives, distinguished for their skill in the culinary art and other branches of domestic economy] Compiled by Marion Cabell Tyree Favorite Recipes Press, 1965 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized Aug 28, 2009 528 pages
  9. ^ [3] page 135
  10. ^ Lucy Maynard Salmon, Nicholas Adams, Bonnie G. Smith Editors Nicholas Adams, Bonnie G. Smith The family cookbook (1923) History and the texture of modern life: selected essays Edition illustrated University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001 ISBN 0-8122-3587-8, ISBN 978-0-8122-3587-6 Length 276 pages page 66

Further reading[edit]