Sunday, August 31, 2008

Eclairs, how exciting..

The August daring bakers challenge was Éclairs by Pierre Hermé. I was so excited, I haven't had an eclair in ages, and haven't made them since I was in college.. so I was really really excited to 'get this show on the road". I had a few setbacks though.. my pastry tips seem to have walked away or something because I only had 2, a very small round and a star tip.. crap, Okay, I'll be the first to admit they came out less than perfect.. I blame my too small pastry tip for this one though, because they tasted really good.. when I finally got the right size pastry tip though.. I had no camera, so I'm stuck with this one picture that got salvaged from the others that got deleted when I removed all the software from the Olympus..

The choux was perfect, it baked up light and perfect, not eggy at all, my chocolate glaze was perfect, but the pastry cream.. well, it was perfect until someone thought it would have been a good idea to beat it with the mixer just a little bit.. and then it was a runny mess (but frozen it made a nice ice cream sort of treat, lol)

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

I used a standard vanilla pastry cream

  • 2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.
  5. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated.
  6. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan.
  7. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan.
  8. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
  10. Let cool slightly.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.


© Paul Anthony Ramsden 2024 said...

great layout and with a 3rd column.....great idea for a blog. My friend is a total foodie and I keep asking her to start a blog.....I will show her yours for inspiration. She might pull her finger out and get on with it.

Beth said...

Beautiful eclairs! I'm trying your brownie recipe today.

Dragon said...

I also had to go hunting for my tips! They were right where I left them; waaaaayyyyyy back in the corner of the pantry. :) Your eclairs are adorable. Great job!