Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chocolate Éclairs

Today is my one year blogoversary! To celebrate the occasion, I made Chocolate Éclairs. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember that Chocolate Éclairs were once my page layout. I made those éclairs before I started my blog, so I never had the chance to post the recipe. For my blogoversary, I wanted to make a French pastry, so these were perfect! They’re not very hard to make, though they are time-consuming, but well worth it because they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Rating: six 5 out of 5!

Chocolate Éclairs recipe: Martha Stewart – Baking Handbook

- Pâte à Choux (see recipe below)
- Pastry Cream (see recipe below)
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. With a ruler and a pencil, mark lines about 3 ½ inches long on the parchment, spacing them 1 ½ inches apart. Turn parchment over, marked side down. Fill pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip with Pâte à Choux; pipe along the lines on the prepared baking sheets. Gently smooth tops with a moistened fingertip to ensure even rising.
- Bake for 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue to bake until pastries are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Transfer pastries and parchment to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat ¾ cup cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles begin to appear around the edges, about 5 minutes; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Let cool, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- To fill the pastries, insert a wooden skewer into one end of each shell. (I cut the pastries side ways open and filled them using a teaspoon)
- In a medium bowl, stir the Pastry Cream to soften. In another bowl, whip the remaining 1 ½ cups heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the Pastry Cream in two batches to lighten. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain tip, and pipe to fill with the whipped Pastry Cream.
- Dip the top of each Éclair into the chocolate glaze; let excess drip off, and place, coated side up, on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. (I doll-upped the chocolate glaze with a teaspoon over the éclairs) Refrigerate Éclairs in a single layer in an airtight container until glaze is set, about 10 minutes or up to 1 day.

Pâte à Choux recipe: Martha Stewart - Baking Handbook

- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white

- Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides and a film forms on bottom of pan, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium; add whole eggs, 1 at a time, until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. If peak does not form, lightly beat remaining egg white, and mix it into batter a little at a time until it does.

Pastry Cream recipe: Martha Stewart - Baking Handbook

- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
- pinch of salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, ¼ cup sugar, vanilla bean with seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about ½ cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. Continue adding milk mixture, ½ cup at a time, until it has been incorporated. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard vanilla bean.
- Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter, and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low speed until smooth.

This is the banner I had on my page-layout throughout most of the year. I changed it to Ladurée's Religieuse à la Rose a couple of months ago.

Pâte à Choux piped as éclairs.

Baked: they look like mini-baguettes!

"The French traditionally fill their éclairs with pastry cream; the British prefer whipped cream. Our recipe borrows from both, for a filling that is at once rich and light."

Topped with an over-the-top delicious chocolate ganache.

Et voilá! My Blogoversary treat!

Chocolate Éclairs circa 2010 ...

Chocolate Éclairs circa 2009.

The ones I baked today were much better than last years. I guess all that baking paid off!



Stephanie said...

These look delicious!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Congratulations! I love your eclairs- I can say with certainty that I will never make them (too complicated!) but I am thoroughly enjoying admiring yours :)

Lucie said...

My first time making eclairs a while back was an epic endeavor, with a spectacular fail and a happy end. I must agree they're delicious, although now I just stick to going out and buying them across the street :)

Happy blogoversary!!!

Snooky doodle said...

yummy yummy . these look delicious!

Unknown said...

Happy Blogoversary! My husband adores these so I must make them for him soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey. I don't normally leave comments, but I just wanted to say thanks for the great information. I have a blog too, though
I don't write as good as you do, but if you want to check it out here it is. Thanks again and have a great day!

Pioneer Amplifier

Bringing Lady Back said...

Wonderful improvement!

Congrats on one year!

Anonymous said...

I'm falling in love with your blog.Congratulation guy.

Paris Pastry said...

Thank you very much!! :D

little wisher said...

They look great!!! But how many can you make? from this recipe...

Paris Pastry said...

@little wisher: I believe I got 18 eclairs out of this recipe.

Anonymous said...

You are my inspiration for eclairs - please check out my blog (with many mentions of you) and thank you for walking me through this!!