Pastry Week

Eclairs

The baking is going fast and furious this week.  Instead of taking a week and a half to do 3 challenges, I have gotten 3 done in 4 days!  OK, not *quite* done, but I did get the baking bit done yesterday and now have to do the filling and tasting.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures taken this time.

I started with the BBC Good Food web site’s Eclairs recipe here to make the choux (pronounced “shoe”) pastry, and amazingly, everything went to plan!  One thing I noticed, just before I started cracking eggs, was that the recipe called for MEDIUM eggs.  WHO CARRIES MEDIUM EGGS?!  All I recall seeing is large and extra large at the store.  So I looked up the volume of 5 medium eggs and weighed out my 5 large eggs (cracked), and it’s just about a tablespoon less.  The recipe even says you may not need all of the egg mixture, so watch the batter carefully.  I withheld about a tablespoon of egg white and used all of the remaining egg mixture in the bowl.

Here’s the batter all mixed up–the first part is water and butter heated, then you add sifted flour all at once and “beat like mad” until it’s smooth.  Set aside to cool a bit.  Then dump into your upright mixer (I used the paddle attachment…I’m not sure what it’s actually called–not the whisk or the dough hook) and add the 5 beaten eggs a little at a time.

I borrowed my daughter’s decorating thing for this, though the batter was so thick it had a hard time settling into the tube, so there were air bubbles.  It was kind of a pain in the butt to fill, too.

The directions said to make 10 lines 12cm long.  I’m not clear if this was per sheet or if these eclairs were supposed to be ENORMOUS, but I was able to make about 9 per sheet, off-set so they didn’t grow into each other (the photo has 5, then I filled in when I realized how tiny they were).

35 minutes in the oven and they’re *beautiful*!  Light and airy…gorgeous!

Since I didn’t start this project until after dinner, it was kind of late by the time these got out of the oven, so I tucked them into a food container until morning.  Hopefully they’ll still be fresh enough.  I still have the crème pâtissière and the chocolate ganache stuff to put on top.

Crème pâtissière:  This is also pretty easy, but like any custard making, you can’t walk away after you put the milk on the stove.  I’d start with taking 3 egg yolks, sugar and corn starch and mix until it’s nice and smooth.

150 ml heavy cream and 300 ml milk, heat til simmering…JUST simmering…so when the bubbles just start forming around the edges.

Pour the milk into the egg mix, just a bit at first, and mix a little, then add the rest.  Mixy, mixy, mixy…put back into the saucepan.

Put it on the stove on medium heat and keep stirring until it thickens, about 5 minutes.  And I mean pudding-thick.  Stick-to-a-spoon thick.

“Sieve into a jug” is the next step.  I just poured it into a glass measuring cup.  Cover with cling film and chill for 3 hours.  OK.  I won’t be able to assemble these things until much later.

The recipe on BBC Good Food doesn’t include the traditional chocolate topping.  Hunting around I found a few recipes that had shortcuts like “Make the filling–take vanilla pudding…” NEXT!  After hunting around a bit, I found this one that has no Jello pudding shortcuts.  1/2 c. heavy cream and 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate.  Easy enough, although I think the chocolate was too runny.  I’ll have to investigate this further to find a better recipe.  It may mean adding corn starch.

Lovely open structure, all ready for stuffing yummy things in them!
Like a bunch of little soldiers… and three rebels.

After melting the chocolate and cream together, and crisping the pastry in the oven for 5 minutes, I cut the eclairs in half.  Gotta let them cool for a few minutes…then pipe the crème pâtissière in them.

Put the tops back on them.  Then coat in the cooled chocolate.

ENJOY!

And I mean, pray that you can stop eating these.

One thought on “Eclairs

  1. My mom used to use choux pastry a lot with various fillings in an attempt to use as many eggs as possible from her flock of hens. Sometimes they would be filled with the traditional, vanilla, custard. Other times We would warm them slightly (without gutting them) and eat them kind of like an odd version of Yorkshire Pudding. One time she made a filling with crab and cream cheese and added that to the centers. She often didn’t add a chocolate topping, but when she did it looked a lot like a ganache. It was only runny at first, but it set fairly quickly. My favorites were the custard filled with just a little powdered sugar dusted on top for decoration. 🙂 I hope you all are enjoying the baking adventures.

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