Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chocolate Eclairs!





This month, our Avid Bakers group will be baking the King Arthur Flour recipe for eclairs.  I chose chocolate eclairs.  Hubby loves chocolate, and I wanted to make sure I would have help eating them.

I've never made this type of eclair pastry, which also makes cream puffs, so this would be interesting--if I can get a chunk of time to make the ingredients. Although we are showing our house a lot to sell it, I gambled that there would be very few showings on a Monday.  I made them on a Monday, and didn't have any agents interrupting me.  A good gamble!

The dough seemed strange to make, because it is cooked before being blended. Water, butter, and salt are heated in a medium-sized saucepan until the butter has melted.  The mixture is then brought to a rolling boil. After the batter is cooked some so that its thickens, it is set aside to cool.  The eggs are added before putting the dough onto cookie sheets in the desired shape.  Here's a link to the recipe for the pastry:    King Arthur Flour Puff Pastry/Eclair Pastry recipe

I had some half and half that I used to make my favorite recipe of chocolate pastry cream.  It's from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" book.  YUM, very rich with half and half.

I already had ganache in the freezer.  I made it to use up some heavy whipping cream not long ago.  Waste not, want not!  :)

In shaping the eclair pastry, I tried using a 1/2 cup scoop.  However, it made an irregular sized éclair.  Therefore, I thought I would pipe them.  Why not use my cake tools to make the job easier?



However, I didn't know how to make them thick enough. I think that next time I'll get a bigger icing tip if I do it this way.  There was a lot of batter leftover, after piping the 12 for the recipe.  I didn't really want to make more than 12, so I went back and added more of the thick batter.  They came out quite "bumpy," because the batter was too thick to mingle with the rest of the dough on the baking sheet.



Then I found this video on making ladyfingers.  In the video, she shows how to pipe them the same size.  She has some really great tip on how to make a template.  This method can be used for many shapes of pastries, even eclairs!

Check out the AWESOME tip for preventing the batter from coming out of the pastry bag while you are filling it (at about 2 1/2 minutes):



After seeing this video, I had one of those "I coulda had a V8 moment!"  I just received a wonderful Hostess Twinkie pan as a gift from my wonderful cake buddy.  I wanted one to make "shark cupcakes."  It would have been perfect for making small eclairs!!!

I'll be using this pan to make many types of cookies and pastries, not just Twinkies, in the future!  Tiramisu anyone?

Meanwhile, we will just enjoy these awesome eclairs!  You may notice that I didn't put the eclairs on a rack to pour on the chocolate.  I didn't want to lose any yummy chocolate!!!


If you want to know more about the Avid Bakers Challenge, check out this website.Avid Bakers Challenge

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you get a chance to try making these yummy eclairs.

13 comments:

  1. Yum! They look delicious, Judy. I bet they were devoured at your doctor's office. Thanks for the reference to the chocolate pastry cream recipe in Mark Bittman's book (which I have). I'll have to try that recipe. Didn't have much luck with the KAF choc pastry cream recipe (didn't set very well).

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    1. Thanks, Hanaa! That's my go-to pastry cream recipe. Very simple. After your wonderful comment that 1% milk works for you, I tried it with this recipe. Works great. However the higher butterfat worked wonderfully.

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  2. Your eclairs look wonderful with all of that shiny ganache drizzled on them. The pan is a great idea - twinkie sized is the perfect size for an eclair.

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    1. Thanks, Zosia! I was going to put the ganache on them over a cooling rack so they would look neater. However, we didn't want to lose any of the chocolate!

      Love those light bulb ideas, don't you?

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  3. I had some difficulty getting the size right and had to go back over the pastries, but then there was a double row... oh well! I'll have to look for that pan, or just use a bigger pastry tip! They look fab

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    1. Thanks, Trisha! I agree. I'm just lucky to have the pan. Check Ross or TJ Maxx for the best prices on the pan.

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  4. Pastry cream with half and half! That is SOOO decadent!

    I also had trouble knowing how thick to make the pastry lines. It worked out in the end, and now I know. (I used a pastry cone made of parchment.)

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  5. I have never thought to look at Ross or TJ Maxx for pans. Great eclairs and wonderful suggestion for shopping!

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  6. It is a wonderful thing -- when you see trouble in the making and the light bulb turns on. Thanks for sharing those moments and ideas for better baking!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, flour.ish.en!

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  7. They look good. The twinkle pan looks ideal for making eclairs.
    I agree with you, the joy of baking video is very helpful. I follow her recipes and videos. She has great tips.

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