Sunday, September 4, 2011

French Éclairs


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If you've seen the Pate a Choux recipe, then you know where my inspiration for Éclairs came from. Aside from the fact that it's one of my absolute favorite desserts. My grandma makes them better than anyone (although, mine are prettier...ooooo!) and everyone requests hers when she's in town. However, these are a quick second, and are especially good when the pastry and chocolate are still warm. Seriously, try them warm with a cold Crème Patissiere... it will knock you off your feet. 

"I find it hard to disagree with the possibility that the height of luxury might not be an expensive car, a yacht in Monte Carlo, or a villa in Jamaica, but may instead be a really, really, really good chocolate eclair." -Andre K. Crump

What you'll need: 

Eclair Shells: 
* Pate A Choux Sucree (Cream Puff Dough) 
* 1 Egg, for the egg wash
* A pinch of Salt

Crème Patissiere
* 6 Egg Yolks
* 1/2 Cup Sugar
* 6 Tablespoons of Flour
* 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
* 2 Cups of Milk
* 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Icing
* 10 oz. (1 1/4 Cup) Dark or Milk Chocolate 
* 3 Tablespoons Milk
* 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
* 4 Tablespoons Sugar

How it's done: 

Éclair Shells: 
1. Preheat the oven to 400*F, and butter a baking sheet. 

2. Using a 1/2 Inch Nozzle, pipe 3-4 inch long logs of Pate a Choux Dough on the sheet. Allow adequate spacing! 

3. In a bowl, beat the egg and salt to form a glaze. Brush the top of each log with the glaze. Use the back of a fork dipped in the egg wash to score the top of each log. Drag prongs lightly across the top of the logs length, creating rows of shallow lines. 

4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown, and somewhat crisp, but not hard. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. 

Crème Patisseiere: 
1. In a bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until they thicken and are pale yellow. Fold in the flour and cornstarch. 

2. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a low boil, then pour hot milk into the bowl of egg yolks. Stir well. Then pour mixture back into saucepan and heat to a boil. Lower heat and allow Crème to thicken, stirring regularly. When thickened, remove pan from heat, pour into a bowl and mix in vanilla extract. Cover the creme with parchment or saran wrap, which prevents a skin from forming on top, and chill to cool. 

Chocolate Icing: 
1. Slowly bring butter, sugar, and milk to a low boil in a saucepan, stirring continuously to make sure sugar dissolves. Add chocolate and remove from heat. Stir until chocolate has melted and icing is a smooth texture. Allow to cool some before using. 






To Assemble: 
1. Make a horizontal slice down the middle of the length of the Eclair shell. Pipe or spoon Creme Patissiere into the cavity of the Eclair shell. Top with the other half of the shell. Spoon the warm chocolate on top of the eclair, or dip the eclair into the frosting.