Thursday, February 18, 2010

E is for Eclair

the french really know what they are doing
when it comes to pastry
when i was a kid
i would pretty much have sold my soul 
for a chocolate eclair
they were so yummy
with all that delicious creamy custard
and gooey chocolate coating
all wrapped in a crispy shell
and then all at once
 it seems
they started tasting weird
and i didn't like them anymore
and when i went to culinary school
i found out why
shops were no longer using creamy custard
they opted for the pre-made chemical concoction
passed off as vanilla pudding
with purchased shells 
that will ruin a taste memory in a heart beat
also happen to be one of hubster's favorites
and today i spent the early hours
whipping up a batch
they are not difficult
just a bit time consuming

1 recipe pate a choux
1recipe pastry cream
1/2 batch ganache

pate a choux
(printable recipe)
1 cup water
4 oz unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 extra large eggs (about)
Sift sugar, salt and flour together. Place water and butter into a saucepan Heat and bring to a simmer, you want the butter to incorporate into the water, not just float on top.  Remove from heat and add flour mixture all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, until it is all mixed together. Place back on heat and continue to stir until the mixture begins to come from the sides of the pan.  You do not want to dry out too much,  but you want to reduce the amount of moisture a bit. Stir over heat about a minute or two.  Place mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Turn mixer to medium speed to assist bringing the temperature down a bit, but not fully cooled.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. After adding the last egg check for consistency.  You want the mixture to be a bit firm, and sort of webby. When I say webby I mean it has a consistency where is stretches between the parts sticking to the sides of the bowl and what is on the paddle.  3 eggs should be enough. 
Place in pastry bag and pipe in 4" rods onto a lined pastry sheet. You can use this same batter for cream puffs, or deep fry for delicious donuts. The batter can be refrigerated for a max of three days before using.  
Bake in a preheated 425 oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 until the eclairs are browned and crispy.  The interior needs to be dry.  Let cool and fill with pastry cream and dip in ganache.

pastry cream
(printable recipe)
6 large egg yolks
5 Tbs cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk ( i used 2%)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter
for pastry cream:  Whisk the egg yolks and the cornstarch in a bowl. set aside.  In a saucepan, simmer milk, sugar and salt.  Once it is simmering, temper the eggs with the hot milk.  Return to the saucepan and whisk continuously until the custard begins to thicken.  Once you see large bubbles coming up through the middle of the pot, remove from heat. Pour into a clean bowl (use a sieve if you feel you have overcooked), and stir in butter and vanilla.  Place clingfilm over top and refrigerate until ready to use.  

1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate--chopped
1/2 cup cream
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 Tbs corn syrup
2 Tbs butter
Heat cream with sugar and corn syrup over medium heat.  Once cream begins to simmer and sugar is dissolved, pour over chocolate and butter. Let chocolate melt and then whisk together until it is thick and shiny.

I am participating in alphabe-thursday over at 
you should go check it out
and see what all the fun is about
this week
sponsored by the letter E


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