David Kachko Katzir’s favourite cream puffs

This recipe comes from Ayelet Katzir. It was a favorite of her husband David Kachko Katzir, murdered on October 7.


Photo: Dan Perez

This recipe is part of the “Place at the Table” initiative” from Asif — Culinary Institute of Israel.  The commemorative project documents the favourite dishes of those lost on October 7 with the help of their families.

In Kfar Aza, everyone knew the man with the mane of hair, the sturdy hands, and the soft and loving heart, with a flock of pigeons. David Kachko Katzir was a father, grandfather, and friend.

Everyone called him Kachko, but his wife Ayelet simply called him Dov or Mammy Dov.

Her Dov, she says, loved Jeeps and trips across the country, and would regularly organize field trips for them with five other families. He called them “Kachko trips,” and like an experienced guide, he would prepare and study the terrain in advance down to the last detail.

On Saturday, October 7, he set out for one of these trips. This time, Ayelet did not join him, she had decided to go strawberry picking with their son and granddaughter. At 6:25 a.m., he left their house in Kfar Aza, and at 6:40 a.m. he called after the shelling began. Ayelet was sleeping soundly and did not hear them. It was the phone that woke her. He told her to go to the shelter, and she told him not to come back in hopes of remaining safe, but it was clear to her that he was already on his way home. When he didn’t come back, she immediately realized that he was dead, “because there is no way he would have disappeared like that. Even if he had been kidnapped, he would have found a way to signal to me” she says. He was shot at the kibbutz gate in the Jeep he loved at the age of 72.

David and Ayelet had five children, two of them from his first marriage and three together. “I fell desperately in love with him” she confesses. “We had a stormy married life because we were both very opinionated and stubborn, but it was also a very great and special love. He was my best friend, and I could trust him with my eyes closed”.

For years, David worked in the fields on Kfar Aza and became a national expert in growing potatoes. When he retired at 70, he pursued his dream of raising carrier pigeons. “Once an idea got into his head, he wouldn’t let it go” Ayelet says. He returned home one day with two pigeons and they multiplied under his care in five dovecotes, which he built himself complete with a special water system. He fed the hatchlings with a small syringe and gave each of them a funny name. They became a real flock, with over a 100 pigeons, which would fly and hover around him.

Ayelet speaks proudly of his creativity and how he was self-taught, dedicating his life to

exploring anything that piqued his curiosity. He also always tried to help others. Ayelet recounts how he would pick up and drive soldiers from the bus station to the base, ensuring they had a way back if needed. He would also chauffeur a neighbour to visit her husband in a nursing home and help another with grocery shopping. One day, when he heard a cat howling, he discovered an injured cat with the end of a fishing rod stuck in her face. David nursed her back to health. In gratitude, the cat would follow him everywhere, affectionately climbing on him and wrapping herself around his neck.

“But he wasn’t a great cook” Ayelet says as she fondly recalls the few things he did prepare, including kugel, sofrito, and a store-bought malawach that he would fry in a pan, performing a whole ritual as he tossed it in the air to turn it over. Despite his limited cooking skills, he thoroughly enjoyed food, particularly desserts, preferably with whipped cream. “On his birthday he always asked for a five-layer cake filled with cream” she says. However, his absolute favorite treat was Ayelet’s cream puffs — particularly when she had dipped them in hot sauce.

“He died happy, and he didn’t suffer. He fulfilled all his dreams and I take comfort in that” says Ayelet.

“Two weeks before he was murdered, we sat in the living room and watched TV.

Suddenly he said: “I am so lucky, I have everything I want and everything I need: the love of my life, children, and grandchildren.”

If you cook this dish, please share a photo of it and tag it with #place_at_the_table to honour the memory of the late David Kachko Katzir.

Makes 30-35 cream puffs

Time: 1½ hours


For the dough:

100 grams (3½oz) butter, cut into cubes

½ cup (125ml) milk

½ cup (125ml) water

1 tbsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 cup (120g) plain flour

4 large eggs

Powdered (icing) sugar

For the cream filling:

2 cups (500ml) whipping cream

¼ cup (65ml) milk

80 grams (2.9oz) instant vanilla pudding mix

2 tbsp powdered (icing) sugar

For the chocolate sauce (optional):

200 grams (7oz) dark chocolate

100ml (6 tablespoons) heavy (double) cream

In this recipe 1 cup = 250ml


  • Prepare the dough: Combine the butter, milk, water, sugar, and salt in a small pot over high heat. Stir continuously with a silicone or wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil and the butter melts completely.
  • Add the flour and reduce to medium-low heat. Stir until the mixture forms a ball of dough and separates from the sides of the pot, 2-3 minutes. Cooking the dough slightly helps some of the moisture evaporate.
  • Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the bottom of the mixer bowl is warm to the touch and the dough is warm, but no longer hot, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce to a low speed and add the eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next one. Pause the mixer midway through and use a spatula to scrape down any dough sticking to the sides of the bowl before resuming mixing.
  • The dough should be sticky and elastic: Dip the paddle attachment in the dough and lift slowly. If the dough forms a V shape on the hook and drips slowly, it means that the dough has reached the right texture. If not, add a little more egg: Whisk an egg in a bowl, add half of it to the dough, mix, and check again. If the dough is not elastic enough, add the remaining half egg.
  • Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with either a large star tip, a smooth tip, or without a tip (simply cut off the tip of the piping bag).
  • Piping and baking: Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (without a fan). Meanwhile, draw circles with a 4cm (1½-inches) diameter on parchment paper spread across 2 baking sheets, spacing them 4cm (1½ inches) apart. Flip the papers over and place them on the baking trays (you can secure the edges of the paper to the tray with a little oil to prevent them from moving while piping).
  • Pipe the dough onto the circles, preferably in an even layer. Dampen your fingers and gently flatten any peaks formed during piping.
  • Lightly dust the puffs with a layer of powdered sugar and place in the oven (make sure it is a light dusting as too much powdered sugar won’t melt).
  • Reduce the temperature to 180C (350F) and bake until the puffs are golden, 30-35 minutes. Avoid opening the oven, especially during the first 15 minutes of baking.
  • Remove the puffs from the oven and turn it off. Using a small, sharp knife, create a small hole on the side of each puff. Place the puffs back in the turned-off oven for 10 minutes, leaving the door slightly ajar.
  • Prepare the cream filling: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on high to stiff peaks, 1-2 minutes. Transfer the cream to a piping bag, either with or without a star tip.
  • To fill the puffs, insert the tip of the piping bag into the side hole in the puffs and fill. Alternatively, cut off the top of the puffs, fill with the cream, and place the cover on top.
  • Dust the puffs with powdered sugar and serve.
  • Optional, prepare the chocolate sauce. If you fill the puffs by inserting the tip of the piping bag into the side hole, you can further upgrade them by dipping the tops in chocolate. Place the dark chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Alternatively, melt them together in a small pot over medium heat, careful not to burn the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Carefully dip the tops of the filled puffs into the chocolate sauce and allow them to set at room temperature before serving.

Note: The cream-filled puffs are best served on the same day and will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 day.

**This recipe appears exactly as the family makes it; it has not been edited.

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