Friday, April 17, 2009

I declare… Éclairs!

Last night I recieved the most generous gift; I was given a copper pot set! I can scarcely believe it, somebody pinch me. I love, love, love the set. Thank you Blythe and Carl, for your wonderful friendship; which is most certainly gift enough. You will always have open chairs at our dinner table.

But, what to do with copper pots for a baking blog? The answer: a marvelous concoction of pate a choux, pastry cream, and chocolate ganache; each mind you requiring its own divine copper pot.

The Éclairs, albeit tasty and delicious, were really just a pleasant side effect of using my lovely copper pots. This recipe is adapted from my L’academie de Cuisine instructor, Chef Leslie Meyers.

Pate a choux

1 cup of water
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 to 4 extra large eggs

Preheat your oven 425 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In heavy bottomed pot over medium heat add the water, butter, salt, and sugar and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Once the butter has melted all at once add the flour and baking powder. Now, get your whisking arm ready, because you will whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Once the dough has begun to thicken, stir with a wooden spoon and continue to stir/cook until a thick film of cooked starch has covered the bottom of the pot. It looks like a clear film that will be difficult to clean, and it is, just soak it. Once completely cooked and film developed, maybe 3 minutes.

Transfer to your standing mixer or food prep. Turn it on high, to let some of the heat out. When the mixture has cooled a little, add the eggs, one at a time. The dough should be glossy and sticky, if it is still flat not combined add another egg or part of it. When the dough is shiny and sticky, place it in a pastry bag with a large tip.

On the parchment paper, pipe thick lines of dough to create the choux éclairs bodies.

Bake at 425 F for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is puffed and blond brown.

Turn the oven down to 375 and bake for another 10 minutes until the choux are tough.

Turn the oven off, and let the choux cool in the oven. Opening the door, not only reduces the heat but also the humidity as well. Poke each choux with a toothpick to facilitate drying.

Pastry Cream

2 cups or an entire pint of half and half
¼ cup of sugar
5 egg yolks
¼ cup of sugar
¼ cup of cornstarch
Seeds of 1 bean pod of vanilla

In a heavy bodied pan over medium to low heat, simmer the half and half and the first sugar portion. Do not allow the mixture to boil.

Separate the eggs and add the second portion of sugar and the cornstarch in your standing mixture and whip until pale yellow. While the standing mixture is running, slowly, very slowly, stream in the warm milk mixture. When the eggs and milk is completely incorporated, transfer back to your pan and return to low heat.

Over the heat, stir for 7 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken and you can no longer taste the cornstarch. When thick, return to bowl to cool, cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in the refrigerator.

Transfer cooled cream to pastry bag with star tip to fill.

Chocolate Ganache

2 cups of dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup of heavy cream, warmed

Over a double boiler or in the microwave heat the heavy cream until it warm to the touch, but not boiling. Add the heavy cream to the chocolate; allow the heat from the heavy cream to melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth and shiny.

To assemble

Use a toothpick to create a small hole to fit the pastry cream tip into, and fill squeezing the cream until the choux is just filled. Line all of the filled choux on cooling rack with parchment paper underneath to catch the drips. Glaze, spoon, or pipe chocolate ganache over the tops of the filled chouxes. Viola you now have éclairs. Place in the fridge to allow the ganache to harden.

Serve to your happy office folk, who now on Fridays, wait in the lobby, until I bring breakfast.

Cheers, to great friends, wonderful reasons to celebrate, and excuses to eat together.

To all of you, much love, many blessings, happy baking, and may you all be blessed with caring friends who love to celebrate.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Better than Dunkin' Donuts :-)