Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homemade Eclairs

So its the middle of finals week but that didn't change my need for dessert and after flipping through the cookbook I saw them. Beautiful, fluffy, chocolate eclairs. When I was little eclairs were one of the things that I simply couldn't fathom how they were made.  They were a pastry with this cream inside and the just blew mind mind.  But now I think I've go the secret unlocked.

Very satisfying, eclairs are a three step process dough, cream, and ganache. But satisfaction can be yours in just an hour!

Part1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Start with the dough known by its fancy name of Pâte a choux, also known as cream puff dough.  In a large saucepan, combine water, butter and salt, bring to a boil. Then all at once, add in flour and stir until a ball forms.

Let cool for 10 minutes. Then ad in eggs one at a time.

Now take either a piping bag or just a Ziploc freezer bag with about a 1 inch opening cut in the corner, and pipe eclairs onto a greased baking sheet.

Put them in the oven. If your going to fill the eclairs with a pastry bag take them out after 15 minutes and poke a hole in the small side of each of the eclairs; this will give you an opening to fill with cream. Then put them back in for 15 minutes.  If you plan to slice them and add in the cream, bake for a straight 30 minutes.

Part 2: Now for the cream, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes until thick and pale yellow. Then in a saucepan bring milk to a boil add gradually add into egg mixture.  Put everything back into the saucepan and boil 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. 

Remove from heat and add in vanilla.  Suddenly you have this delicious warm vanilla cream.

Cover with wax paper so a skin doesn't form and either put in the fridge for a while or use immediately. It's pretty hot so I put it in the fridge to cool while the Pâte a choux finished cooking.

Part 3: The chocolate ganache.  This has to be a million times easier than it sounds. Once again using a saucepan bring the cream to a boil.  And add in chocolate pieces and stir until smooth.

Now it's time to assemble. If you're going to fill your eclairs with a pastry bag insert tip into the previously poked hole. If you're husband lost your pastry tips like mine did, use a bread knife and slice the eclairs in half.  Then you can either fill a pastry of Ziploc bag with the pastry cream and pipe it on the bottom half like I did or you can spoon it on. Put it all together and spread chocolate ganache over the top. Now you have you're very own eclair.

Pâte a choux 
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease baking sheet.
  2. In a saucepan combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, add in flour all at once stirring vigorously.
  3. Let cool for 10 minutes then add in eggs one at a time. 
  4. Pipe onto greased cookie sheet.
Pastry Cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Combine sugar, flour cornstarch, and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes until mixture because somewhat thick and light yellow. 
  2. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil.
  3. Gradually add milk to egg mixture.
  4. Pour it all back into the saucepan and boil 1-2 minutes, whisking continually. 
  5. Remove from heat and add in vanilla.
Chocolate Ganache
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (8 oz) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate pieces.
  1. Heat cream in a small saucepan.
  2. Add in chocolate pieces, and stir until smooth.

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