Kats’ Kitchen

Chocolate Eclairs – August’s Daring Baker’s Challenge August 31, 2008

Filed under: Daring Baker Challenges,Other Desserts — stacielk @ 1:00 am
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Is it really September tomorrow!?!  I can’t believe how fast my summer went considering my husband and I haven’t had a whole lot going on.  Besides one wedding and two 80th birthday parties.  Oh yeah, and the hub studying for his CPA all summer…I guess that would make it fly.  The good news is we found out just last week he is officially a CPA!  Was that ever a long road to go through with someone! 

On to August’s challenge.  My favorite donut from Dunkin Donuts is the custard filled with chocolate glaze, which is very similar to a chocolate eclair, it may even be called that.  I actually made my first batch with more of a custard than a pastry cream, but not on purpose. 

My first batch of the Pate a Choux (don’t worry, I’m not sure how it’s pronounced either…) turned out ok.  Instead of piping them out like eclairs, I piped them so they were smaller and would be more of a puff.  I realized after  baking, filling and trying two of them why I was a little disappointed on how they turned out.  I piped the pate a choux in circles instead of just one pile…if that really makes any sense.  (See picture below)  My second batch I pipped longer strips, froze them, cut them into the size I wanted and then baked.  They turned out so much better and the pastry cream went into them wonderfully.  I also made the chocolate pastry cream given for this challenge for my second batch, loved it! 

Thanks to Tony Tahhan and MeetaK for hosting this month.  The Eclair recipe came from a book called Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Hermé.  Checkout the DB’s Blogroll to see all the different varieties of eclairs you can try!

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

Éclairs consist of 3 elements:

Pâte à Choux, also known as Choux Pastry or Cream Puff Dough
– Pastry Cream
– Chocolate glaze

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.  In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.  Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it  remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice-water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze

I used a basic ganache recipe for the glaze.  The same one I used for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars. 

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9 Responses to “Chocolate Eclairs – August’s Daring Baker’s Challenge”

  1. The freezing sure does help. I am glad you found success in the second batch.

  2. Megan Says:

    Great job – and congrats to your husband on becoming a CPA!

  3. Molly Says:

    I love your little eclairs. That’s a great idea. I wish I understood more about the freezing bit, that sounds very intriguing. Well done! I’m making mine today for a large dinner party and I sure hope I get it right.

  4. Patti Says:

    They look terrific!

  5. Shirley Says:

    Your cream puffs are so cute! Nicely done.

  6. farida Says:

    I like your eclairs a lot! They look goooood. I made basic chocolate glaze too – just wanted my eclairs done as fast as possible:) Loved the challenge!

  7. Jen Says:

    Great job on the challenge– and congrats to your husband for becoming a CPA.

  8. teaandscones Says:

    Those look really good. Great Job. Love the little puffs.

  9. Jeanine Says:

    Your eclairs look very, very yummy! That one with the bite taken out of it…mmm…I could finish that one off! :) Great job!


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