Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pâte à Choux and Éclairs

I've wanted to try something other than this cake made with pâte à choux for a while, but I've felt a bit intimidated.  Maybe it's the French name?  Last week I decided to get over it and try making a batch of éclairs.  I'm so glad I did! It's not that hard, and I found that it isn't as fragile as I had imagined.  It was also my first attempt at pastry cream and chocolate ganache!  It was all so much fun!  

I am by no means a pro after my brief exploration, but, if you want to make éclairs too, here are my brief notes on each component...

Choux...I made three different batches of the dough just to see what I liked the most.  I didn't find that one recipe was better than another.  As usual, I did find that I needed to bake for a lot longer than the recipes recommended, but that's probably just my oven.  To help the éclair shells keep their shape, I pulled them out when the were finished baking, poked holes for steam to escape, and then returned them to the oven (turned off) for a few minutes.  Also, I do prefer piping them with the star tip.  They seem to crack less than when piped with a round tip.  Next time, I will use a larger tip.  I had to squeeze very hard and move slowly to get the right size (hence, the squiggles).  

Pastry Cream...I used a recipe by David Lebovitz's book Ready for Dessert It was easy to follow, and, most importantly, very delicious.  Pastry cream can be used to fill so many things...cream puffs, cakes, other pastries...this is what I lay awake in bed thinking about.

Chocolate Ganache...I used this recipe from Ina Garten.  I've had good luck with her recipes in the past, and this one was no different.  She adds a small amount of coffee to the ganache.  It brings a richness that I found to be just right for the éclairs.  The pastry cream and choux are so gentle the chocolate needed to pack a punch.  I plan on using this for many other things in the future...also something that will keep me awake.

These were sooooo delicious!  They were worth every effort, and I am already looking forward to making another batch! final note... I froze a few un-filled, un-frosted, baked shells.  They thawed nicely.  Definitely a great way to keep from eating the whole batch in one sitting.  

1 comment:

  1. Apparently I need to come visit you while you're nesting, errr...baking. :D