Sunday, 31 August 2008

Daring Bakers : Chocolate Éclairs

Ok so firstly I would just like to say that today is the opening voting day for Iron Cupcake is today and I would really appreciate it if you could all vote for my cupcakes at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner!
But anyway back to the real reason for this post, none other but the Daring Bakers challenge of the month! This month it was delicious chocolate éclairs, I actually only made them a couple of days ago, as I have been so busy this month, so actually we are still all enjoying!
I used choux pastry and instead of filling the éclairs with a chocolate pasty cream, I altered the recipe and produced a mint pastry cream...which was DELICIOUS! I then topped the éclairs with a chocolate glaze which was so rich and creamy!
Despite reading countless posts on how to stop your éclairs deflating a few of mine still did :(; however I still did get a couple of puffy ones! I put a jug of water in the bottom of the oven and baked for 7minutes, I then used the wooden spoon turninbg technique and then continued to bake, after baking I left them in the oven with the door cracked open to let them cool in a still warm environment...but some still deflated! Oh well! I'll most likely be trying this recipe again so hopefully all should be big puffy éclairs next time hehe!
I only got 13 out of this recipe (wooo a "Daring" Bakers dozen hehe) but thats because we're all so greedy we like our éclairs bigger hehe!
I really enjoyed making this recipe although disastor nearly struck when I was making the pastry cream and had it in the ice bath! The ice bath was overflowing into the pastry cream, I had butter in one hand and the wooden spoon in the other with stuff all over the floor and all over me, my phone was ringing and the doorbell was going! It was really a time where you just feel like screaming hehe!! Can't wait until next month! :D
If you want to see what other Daring Bakers did click here.

Chocolate Éclairs

Choux Pastry

Ingredients Needed for everything

Bringing the milk, water, sugar, butter and salt to a rolling boil

Beating the eggs into the dough

Beating with a wooden spoon to achieve the correct consistency

Piping the dough (caterpillars)ready to be baked!

A puffy éclair out of the oven

Mint Pastry Cream

Bringing the milk to a rolling boil

After whisking the eggs in, stirring in the peppermint and green food colouring

After stirring in the butter, allowing the pastry cream to cool

Chocolate Sauce/Chocolate Glaze

Attempting to thicken the chocolate sauce

The finished chocolate glaze


Halving the éclairs

Spreading the tops with chocolate glaze

Piping the mint pastry cream onto the bottoms

Finished éclairs

Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
*makes 13 biiiiig éclairs*

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
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 theboil.
2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to mediumand start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together veryquickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. Youneed to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the doughwill be very soft and smooth.
3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using yourhandmixer 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 donot worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time youhave added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted itshould fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used.
5) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds bypositioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets withwaxed or parchment paper.
6) 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.
7) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip thehandle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in theoven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continuebaking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Chocolate Pastry Cream Recipe
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 *I omitted this*
*3 teaspoons peppermint extract* - I added this
*3 teaspoons green food colouring* - I added this
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. * I stirred in the peppermint extract and green food colouring here*
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.

Chocolate Sauce

4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 g) water
½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
*I also added 3tablespoons corsnstarch mixed with 15ml cream to form a paste as I couldn't get mine to thicken*

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Chocolate Glaze

1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce, warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Assembling the éclairs

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside thebottoms 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 – 40degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops ofthe éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill thebottoms with the pastry cream.
3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottomswith enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry creamand wriggle gently to settle them.


Cristine said...

Ooooh.... mint! YUM! Looks wonderful!

Dhanggit said...

You've done a fabulous job!! your eclair went gorgeous!! and by the way I love love your site :-)

BC said...

I made teeny elcairs compared to yours! Well done - good multi tasking too.

ARLENE said...

Fantastic blog! Loved your DB eclairs.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Oh lovely! I fancy the peppermint cream with chocolate too - wonderful combination.

Marija said...

It's good you haven't missed this challenge, your eclairs are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Now I know that mint cream goes fabulously well with choux pastry and chocolate. Yum city.

Courtney said...

mint is a great idea. your eclairs look awesome and the pics have very puffy ones!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Your Eclairs look so pretty and delicious! I love the pastry cream flavoring you used...



Veron said...

Your eclairs look fantastic!

hexe said...

Why is it when your right in the middle of a project that's the time for the doorbell and phone to ring? The eclairs came out lovely despite the interuptions.

Zita said...

Yum... I love mint cream, the idea of caterpillar choux sounds fantastic, but I know the oven heat is always playing around :)

maybelle's mom said...

love the mint cream. great job.

HoneyB said...

Chocolate and Mint sounds divine!

Anne said...

MINT! Oh! Why did I not think of that? What a great, great idea! You did a wonderful job! :)

Angela said...

Mint-chocolate! Such a fabulous idea for the éclairs. They're beautiful :)

Natashya said...

What a great idea to use mint! Ours deflated too, but they still tasted good, I bet yours were yummy.

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Mint! Yum! I did something similar with my extras and they were so wonderful. Great job!

Katie said...

I hadn't seen éclairs with peppermint pastry cream until I read this post - what a brilliant twist! Peppermint makes everything better.

Pinky said...

There just aren't enough mint flavored thing in this world... I really wish mint would become a new vogue flavor because it is the best! Right up there with lemon.
Your eclairs look a touch pale, which could be why they deflated. I left mine in the oven for what felt like and eternity. Until they were nice and nut brown, not just golden.

Half Baked said...

Love the mint cream. What a gorgeous color! I bet it was great with the chocolate sauce!

jo said...

Oh yum, what a combination, chocolate and mint! Lovely.

Aparna said...

Your eclairs look great. Love the green mint and chocolate colours in them.

Leslie said...

What an awesome flavor combo!
Sorry about the deflating issue..but I am sure they still tasted delish! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Stop back by anytime

Claire said...

Looks great! Mint is a good idea. I like the way you plated this.

Tartelette said...

Mint and chocolate! Brilliant! Great job on the challenge!

ingegerd said...

its look great!yummy!

Jude said...

Love the step by step progression. Great post and presentation!

Dragon said...

Oh, I wish I had thought of using a mint cream. YUM!

Angela said...

What beautiful éclairs! I love that you've used peppermint. Chocolate and mint... such a classic (and perfect) combination.

Sophie said...

The mint pastry cream is so pretty! Cool ingredient choice :D.

Ingrid said...

I have a friend who adores the combo of mint and chocolate...she would be over the moon for these!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow! Mint, what a great idea! :)

Katie said...

Ahhh...all of these éclairs are making me hungry...