Saturday, May 5, 2012

Classic Eclair with a Vanilla Filling Coated with Dark Chocolate

Creamy desserts like eclair, mousse, parfait aren't my favorite. Sure I wouldn't mind a small glass of dark chocolate mousse, but among other things on a menu, I would rather pick sorbet (if it has to be a soft dessert). I usually skimp out on the whip cream in a hot chocolate and the frosting on a cupcake. I much prefer a naked cupcake--just the crumbly buttery cake alone is enough.

But eclair is my roommate's favorite, to die for, dessert. If tomorrow is the end of the world, she would devour as much eclair as possible and die on a happy stomach. I can already picture her laying on her back with her tummy bulging out, cheeks smeared with chocolate ganache, and holding two more eclairs in her hands.

Freshly glazed eclair on the rack
Eclair isn't hard to make. It takes up a lot of kitchen space and uses up a few pots, bowls, pipping bags, and pipping tips. The Pate a choux takes up one pot, and the pastry cream another. I used a small cast iron frying pan to melt some chocolate for the ganache, so there goes another pot. If you don't have a lot of spare pots like me, then prepare the pate a choux, pastry cream, and ganache separately. 

I would recommend making pastry cream first. When you're ready to assemble your eclair, make the pate a choux. While you're waiting for the cream puff to cool, prepare your pipping bag, tip, and chocolate ganache. That way the cream puff would stay crispy. I stored my pre-filled cream puffs in a ziplock bag and they got a little moist in the fridge. Before filling them I re-heated them in the oven at 350F for 5 minutes. To avoid the trouble of reviving their crispness, just make the pate a choux on the day you want to serve eclairs.

Make your eclairs in the sequence of these recipes:

Recipe 3: For the chocolate ganache, heat 1 cup milk in a saucepan till you get bubbles around the side. On a shallow bowl, place 4 oz of chocolate chunks, pour the hot milk over. Let the chocolate melt for 3 minutes before mixing them together. You should get a thick chocolate sauce. 

What you do first is fill the cream puff with pastry cream. The best pipping tip for this step is a bismarck tip. It leaves a tiny hole on the cream puff. For me I used a small 1/4 in round tip, and I try to find air holes on the cream puff or anywhere i feel it's easy to stick my tip into. I have large holes with creams pipping out. Or you can cut the cream puff in half; almost through but not all the way, so you have a 'lid' to fold over the pastry cream. 

Big holes on the side without a bismarck tip, but just look at the other side :)

After filling the cream puffs, make the chocolate ganache. Either brush or dip each cream puff about half way into the ganache. Let cool on a rack.

This time I took some pictures while I'm making the cream puff. That way before you start making your own puffs and cream, you can visualize the process, and know how the end result should look like.

First off is the cream puff. Picture 1, melt the butter and sugar in water. Heat till the water boils. To the right, mix in your flour all at once. The bottom picture is how your dough should look like. Notice how it's a rough looking bowl and the sides don't stick onto the side.

Here's how my pastry cream looked like before I sieved it. I think my paste was a little too thick. If you overheated your pastry cream, before you pipe your pastry cream, just whisk the cream a little to loosen the stiffness.

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