Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ABC - Dark Chocolate Eclairs

This is somewhat of a bittersweet blog post. Not only is it the last ABC blog post of this year, it's also the last recipes post from this year's recipe source, King Arthur Flour. For this occasion, I chose something special, a French pastry called Eclair. These pastries are so versatile. After they're baked, they can be filled with all sorts of flavored pastry creams, or simply whipped cream.

King Arthur Flour has the recipe on their website as well as step-by-step pictures for making the pastry.

Eclairs and cream puffs filled with dark chocolate pastry cream and chocolate glaze





As I mentioned in my last blog post, starting January 2015, we will be baking recipes from the wonderful blog, Scientifically Sweet, written by food scientist Christina Marsigliese. I am very much looking forward to that :o)

If you'd like to join the ABC bakers in their monthly baking adventures, please go to the ABC blog for more information.


Here are some step-by-step pictures of my Eclair adventure:

Put the dough in a large zip loc bag and attach a large round piping tip.

Made several shapes: bubble shape, traditional straight shape, and small rounds (cream puffs)

I read in the Pie and Pastry Bible that if you run a fork over the eclairs, they'll rise more evenly in the oven.

They puffed up beautifully!

I can't really tell if the "forked" ones puffed up more evenly or not...

The chocolate pastry cream was fairly thick after I took it off the stove. However, after adding 2 oz of chocolate chips to it and a Tbsp of butter, it became somewhat runny. I hoped it would eventually set after being refrigerated but it didn't set as much as I had expected. It was still tasty but I had to thicken it with some flour (and rec-cook it) before serving.

The "bubble eclair".

The round eclair or cream puff

Doesn't that look cute?

The tops were dipped in the chocolate glaze. That was much easier than spooning the glaze over the assembled eclairs. Recently I saw a Scientifically Sweet recipe that intrigued me. It stated that you could make a "ganache" like glaze without heavy cream. So I decided to skip KAF's chocolate glaze recipe and follow that other recipe. You can find it at the bottom of this post.

Filled the eclairs with the chocolate pastry cream and carefully placed the second half on top.

And voila! A plate full of eclairs. Bon appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:

  • I took these to a Thanksgiving dinner party where they were very well received by adults and kids alike.
  • Hubby enjoyed them as well but found them a bit much on the chocolaty side. He rated them 8 out of 10.
  • I liked them as well and really enjoyed the intense chocolate flavor in the pastry cream and chocolate glaze. The eclairs were filled right before serving so they were still a bit crisp and not soggy at all. 
  • It's still a mystery to me why the pastry cream didn't set properly. I expect pastry cream to be of piping consistency which this wasn't. Will have to retrace my steps as well as compare this recipe against other chocolate pastry cream recipes.
  • TIPS:
    • When you're done piping each eclair, you always get a little "tail" of batter at the end. Dip your fingers in a little water and press on the tail to smooth it out. You'll never know it was there.
    • Always (ALWAYS) run an egg-based pastry cream through a sieve (while still hot). No matter how careful you are not to cook the eggs, there will always be small bits of cooked/curdled egg in your pastry cream. So use a sieve and you'll be rewarded with a silky smooth pastry cream.
    • To make sure the pastries are cooked all the way through, shut off the oven after the baking time has expired, and put a wooden spoon between the oven and the oven door, and let the pastries "hang out" in there to finish "drying out".
  • If you would like to bake these delicious pastries yourself, you can find the recipe HERE.
  • Don't forget to check out the other ABC bakers' eclairs.

Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients
160g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp (28g) salted butter
1/3 cup (80ml) 1% milk

Instructions
Place chopped chocolate, butter, and milk in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes at 50% power for 30-second intervals. Then, stir until smooth and glossy.

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Hanaa, this was a great choice for our final KAF recipe. Curious to know why your pastry cream didn't set properly (I had no issues with the recipe) but good you were able to save it. Your eclairs look delicious!

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  3. Hanaa, I love that you played with various shapes, especially the 3 bubbles- could almost be snowmen! I'm also curious as to why your pastry cream didn't set properly. Mine was piping consistency, although it was very thick, so it may have been a bit difficult to pipe (I just spread it on).

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  4. Looks wonderful! Love all the pretty shapes. Thanks for the ganache recipe--it has ingredients that I have on hand a lot!

    Looking forward to next year's baking adventure.

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  5. Oh, interesting about the fork trick. What do you think? Yours all look even, regardless of the shape. Funny your husband thought there was too much chocolate -- I didn't think there was such a thing! :D (Actually, I often feel the same way, so I shouldn't laugh.)

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  6. There is so much chocolate goodness in all shapes and forms. What a delight! Looking at your step-by-step pictures makes you wanting to join in your baking adventure. Great tips with the moist finger and extra oven time.

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  7. Looks like you really had fun piping out the shapes. Love the bubble shape. Wonderful tips and step wise pictures.
    Thanks for picking this one as our farewell to KAF.

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