Daring Bakers - Eclairs!

 

Welcome to the August 2008 Daring Bakers challenge! Yeah!

This month we are doing Chocolate Eclairs.

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To start with, our hosts for this month were Tony Tahhan and MeetaK! Make sure you check out their adventures with the Chocolate Eclairs. I have made my notes in red below.

I actually made the pate choux twice. The first time they didn’t puff up much, which was partly my fault. I didn’t get them piped out very well and kind of shaped them with my hands and pressed them down too much.

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The second batch came out good.

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Verdict: Yummy! We really liked these. The taste of both tries were wonderful. I actually used some of the leftover pastry cream and chocolate sauce on waffles, decadent. I would totally make these again. This recipe does use a lot of dishes, but it doesn’t take that much time. You can easily make these in one day. The filling and glaze make enough to do 2 batches.

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The Recipe is from Pierre Hermé from a cookbook written by Dorie Greenspan: Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Hermé

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé
Éclairs consist of 3 elements:
- Pâte à Choux, also known as Choux Pastry or Cream Puff Dough
- Pastry Cream
- Chocolate glaze

First the modifications, the possibilities are endless.
1. The dough used for the eclairs must be a pâte à choux from the recipe given below.
2. Keep one chocolate element in the challenge. The recipe below is for a chocolate glaze and a chocolate pastry cream. You choose which chocolate element you want to keep. Then feel free to mix and match flavors to the base recipe.
3. Everything else is fair game. Enjoy!

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

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

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:
• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

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.

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

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk almond milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces earth balance
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature 2 TBSP egg replace whipped to soft peaks with 1/3 cup water

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. I mixed it by hand.
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 (500g) whole milk soy milk
• 4 large egg yolks tofu & soy yogurt - ¼ cup each
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature earth balance

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

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream mimic cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature earth balance
• 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.

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

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream mimic cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) 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.

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Here is the second recipe I made for the eclairs, it turned out great.

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Eclairs
2 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whipped until stiff with 1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup soy milk

1 TBSP cider vinegar

2 tablespoons earth balance vegan margarine

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with a silpat.

  2. Whip together the egg replacer and water until stiff peaks form. This will take about 10 minutes. After about 6 minutes, add the cream of tartar.

  1. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

  2. In a sauce pan, bring the soymilk, vinegar and margarine to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the flour all at once, and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the pan and the spoon and is glossy and smooth.

  3. Remove from heat and add the Ener-G Egg Replacer, about a third at a time, beating well after each addition until the dough is glossy, smooth, and pulls away from the pan.

  4. Shape the into eclairs. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 for another 15 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 2 minutes. Cut the eclairs in half, return them to the oven and turn it off. Allow to cool, with door slightly cracked for another 20 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks before filling.

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10 Responses to “Daring Bakers - Eclairs!”

  1. Shellyfish Says:

    Your éclairs look great! Wasn’t this a fun challenge? I loved it!

  2. Beth Says:

    Vive la SilPat!

  3. Maggie Says:

    The filling looks really delicious! Great job!

  4. Robyn Says:

    I’m always impressed by those making the challenges with dietary restrictions. Great job!

  5. Jennifer Says:

    Great job, Debyi!

  6. Lori Says:

    Overcame the hurdles once again. THey look great.

  7. Ruth Says:

    Great job I love seeing how you adapt the recipe. Its so impressive. Your eclairs look great

  8. Joanna Says:

    I had no idea you that adzuki and matcha were your favorites!? But that’s great :) They’re one of my favorite flavors too! Thanks for such a nice comment, your eclairs look deliciously chocolate… *drool*

  9. Chocolate Angie Says:

    Looks tasty…you said it easy to make right? Maybe i’ll give it a shot over the weekend.

  10. Dianne Says:

    Well done for trying the challenge twice! I have to say I would have given up after the first try…Perhaps I need to work on that! :)

    Your éclairs look great!

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