Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chocolate Éclairs




Eclairs were this months Daring Bakers Challenge has come. I was quite excited about this months; as I am with any of them. I had decided to do this months challenge at the beginning of the month for I knew that I wouldn't be able to do anytime later. I would've never had to time.

I've never made Eclairs before. I've also understood the name of Eclairs. It's means "flashing." I wonder what that has anything to do with food. Nonetheless, Eclairs are awesome and I was quite excited about actually making one myself. I've always heard that they're hard. I don't know why people think this. It's kind of like cream puffs. People make them out to seem so difficult when in fact, they're not that hard at all. Making Eclairs isn't that hard at all. You just have to take the time to try.

These were pretty rich. One was enough for me. My little brother, the pickiest person in the house, even liked them. He saw them and actually asked me if he could try one! It took me by surprise, that's for sure. He's an honest kid, like me, so he'd tell me the truth. He said they were really great. He wanted me to make more. He loved the filling and I have to say, so did I. They were great all together. This was a great challenge!





Recipe

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

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup 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
boil.

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.

Notes:
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.


Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch, sifted
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2. Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4. Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5. Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Notes:
1. The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2. In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3. Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.


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

1/3 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp 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.

Notes:
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.




Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)


4 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup crème fraîche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar

1. Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2. It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1. You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Start Baking
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3. Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1. The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.


Assembling the éclairs:

1. Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2. The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3. Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1. If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2. The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.




31 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Your éclairs look wonderful to me!

Aran said...

great job tarah

Vicki said...

Those look great! I love that you're not afraid to try something that a lot of people would shy away from.

Marija said...

You eclairs look beautiful! The dough seems perfectly puffed.

Mcwhisky said...

Preetily done up eclairs! Love how it looks when it's all sliced up! :)

Christie @ fig&cherry said...

The chocolate glaze looks delicious and so neat too!

HoneyB said...

Lucky little brother to have eaten your eclairs! The eclairs look yummy!

Passionate About Baking said...

Good for you Tarah...these look delicious & am glad your picky brother loved them! Yours look so nicely filled! Yes, choux is never difficult to make; one of the easiest pastries! My kids had a party too! Great challenge fellow DB & fellow Scorpion!! Cheers Deeba

cindy* said...

i love eclairs. these look so good. since summer is coming to a close chocolate has been on my mind a lot.

Tartelette said...

Well done Tarah! I love how rich they turned out!

Katie said...

Mmmm how delightful! They look sinfully delicious.

The Irreverent Cook said...

Glad you enjoyed your challenge! Loving your pictures =)

Jenny said...

Tarah,
Your eclairs look beautiful! Great post!

farida said...

Your eclairs look good! I loved the challenge, too, it was soo much fun!

Michelle said...

This was a fun challenge! Yours look near perfect!

Stephanie said...

Mmmm, looks delish. Thanks for the comment on my blog! EVERYTHING on your site looks great! You live in Orlando? I go to UCF! :)

Kevin said...

Your eclairs look good!

Caviar and Codfish said...

Great photos... i love the color scheme.

Leslie said...

Yum YUm! You eclairs look yummo

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen said...

All of the ecclairs around the blogosphere are making me want to give them a try. You did a great job!

Y said...

How great that you can even convert the fussiest of eaters with a simple recipe such as this one. Great looking eclairs! :)

Angela said...

Your éclairs look fantastic, Tarah!

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