Eclairs (Pâte à Choux)

Eclairs

Hurray for the 100th post of SimplyDelicious! For this post, I chose a dessert that can be served at any occasion or celebration. Pierre Herme’s eclairs are something else. After seeing so many pins of them on Pinterest, I was inspired to make my own version of sophisticated and modern eclairs. The key I found was to use a different type of topping on each eclair so that the finished picture has a lot of variety and complexity to it. You can use whatever you have handy. I had a few blueberries and strawberries so I used those. I also had some green tea chocolate chips I had made and stored so I chopped a few and added those along with some chopped walnuts and chocolate for a complete colorful look overall. The first time I made these I was so surprised at how easy it was! Do not let the long recipe fool you, I just put detailed directions so that the first try is a success. The same eclair recipe can also be used for making cream puffs and filling them with whipped cream. The dough is one of the most versatile as other options include making gnocchi, churros, funnel cakes, or profiteroles.

Eclairs

Eclairs

Full Printable Recipe Here

Pate a Choux

Ratio: 2 parts water, 1 part butter, 1 part flour, and 2 parts egg

Preheat: 425 Fº

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces water (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces flour (a scant cup)
  • 8 ounces eggs (4 large eggs)

Directions

  1. Add the butter, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the flour. Stir quickly until the flour absorbs the water and begins to gel turning into a paste. The dough formed will start to pull away from the sides of the saucepan.
  3. Take the pan off the stove and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. The dough has to be warm but not too hot.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until completely incorporated. It is better to transfer it to a standing mixer and use an electric beater, but they can also be mixed in using a wooden spoon.
  5. The dough will incorporate with the eggs and turn into a paste once the eggs are fully in.
  6. Using a large round tip, pipe out the eclairs, about 4 to 5 inches long.
  7. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 F for about 15-20 minutes. To test if they are done, remove one from the oven and wait for a few minutes. If it collapses, it still needs more time.
  8. Set aside to cool and prepare the pastry cream.

Adapted from Ratio (book)

Eclairs

Pastry Cream (will need half of this cream for the eclairs recipe)

Makes: 3 pounds

Ingredients

  • 1 quart milk (4 cups)
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 7.5 ounces granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 6 ounces egg yolks (10 yolks)
  • 2.5 ounces cornstarch (½ cup)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter (½ stick)

Directions

  1. Bring the milk, vanilla bean, and 3 ounces (.40 cups) of sugar to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar and the cornstarch. Whisk the sugar mixture into the egg yolks.
  3. Add ¼ of the boiling milk to the egg yolks and stir. Return this mixture to the pan and whisk rapidly until it starts to boil. Keep on whisking it for 2 minutes as it starts to thicken.
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and transfer the pastry cream to a clean mixing bowl.
  5. Fold in the butter until it is just melted taking care not to over mix.
  6. Place plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream so a skin does not form and place the bowl into an ice bath.

Eclairs

Chocolate Glaze 

Makes: 13 oz

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces butter (1 stick)
  • 1 ounces light corn syrup (4 tsp)

Directions

  1. Melt all the ingredients using the double boiler (bain-marie method).
  2. Remove from heat and stir the glaze until it is slightly thickened.
  3. Use instantly, before it starts to dry.

Assembly

Take the cooled eclair shells and pipe in the pastry cream from one end using a piping bag fitted with a circle tip. Make sure the cream fills the whole shell. In a single, smooth stroke, drag the top of the eclair through the warm chocolate glaze. Refrigerate the eclairs and serve within 8-12 hours.

Eclairs

Be creative in your mix of toppings for the eclairs!

Eclairs

Simple eclairs in their purest form.

Eclairs

Finished product with the right pop of color!

 

 

What is the most unique twist on eclairs that you have made/tasted?

(could be flavor, filling, toppings, etc.)

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Larger Version of My Strawberry Chocolate Bundt Cake

Let me just warn you. If don’t own a bundt cake pan and go out to buy one now, you will not be able to stop making bundt cakes! Trust me, there are plenty of flavors out there for you to try. Oh and plenty of toppings as well. The options are pretty much endless. Whenever I have too much free time on my hands I like to bake something. It takes forever though to choose the perfect recipe from foodgawker.com, so due to my laziness I decided to use my classic chocolate Hershey’s cake recipe. Yup, and I just had to use that bundt cake pan! After the cake was done, another dilemma came up. What frosting to use?! For some reason, I am a fail at frostings and have yet to find the perfect healthy one. My original one I’d use is basically butter and powdered sugar but I’ve been trying to experiment with different recipes to find something different. If you are lazy, the easiest frosting is just to melt baking chocolate squares and pour that allll over the cake, as I did :) My only mistake that I realized later was that after you refrigerate it, that the chocolate will harden and make it even tougher to cut the cake. Not too big of a deal, certainly didn’t stop me from eating it haha. For the end, I topped it off with sweetened coconut and my favorite- the glazed strawberries.

P.S. and yes, those mini strawberry chocolate bundt cakes I made in an earlier post helped inspire this! I just had to make the big version :)

OMG almost forgot, but this recipe was not just any chocolate cake, it was a TRES LECHES CHOCOLATE CAKE! Really Easy. Just mix a combination of evaporated milk (1 12oz can), sweetened condensed milk (1 14 oz can) , and heavy cream (1 1/2 cups) and pour it over the cake. Let it soak for a couple hours. And by the way, the measurements for the milk mixture to soak it in do not have to be exact. There are many variations as to how much you put of each type of milk, but I chose these.

Mini Chocolate Glazed Strawberry Bundt Cakes

Wowwww. So just typed up this blog post but it didn’t save. Oh well, anyways… I just bought these mini bundt cake pans and I’ve been so obsessed with them! We were having dinner at a family friend’s home so my mom asked me to make some dessert. Perfect opportunity! Guess I’ll just make some bundt cakes. For the recipe below I used my favorite chocolate cake- Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake found here. I didn’t know what to put in the hole of the bundt cake so I tried mini chocolate chips, but they were too dark. To brighten it up a bit I then tried this raspberry jam, but the colors still didn’t look right. In the end, I decided that what I needed was- FRUIT! The bright colors complement the darkness of the chocolate perfectly. I originally wanted to use raspberries, but the grocery store was out of them :( Guessed I’d just have to do with strawberries. I got some and then saw some strawberry glaze on my way out so I just bought that as well.

Homemade Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 white chocolate baking squares
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions:

Mix together all the ingredients and pour onto each bundt cake in a circular fashion. If the glaze is too runny, add more confectioner’s sugar to it. You can adjust the ingredients based on what you have available (it is usually made only with the sugar and milk but I added the other ingredients myself).