Chocolate éclairs # Baking Partners June Challenge - II

As I mentioned in my previous post, this month Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen, challenged us to bake éclairs and/or gougères. While the gougères baked us happy, I also wanted to try my hands at éclairs. The method used to prepare the éclairs was similar to that of gougères. the only difference was in the fact that an extra helping of sugar was used in the dough for éclairs and one had to keep lowering the oven temperature at regular intervals so that the outside of the shells becomes firm and crispy and the inner core is soft and dry..

In the words of Dorie, "Antonin Carême, the father of modern pastry was the first to pipe Pâte à choux into long fingerlike shapes. Once the pastry was baked he sliced the strips in half, filled them with pastry cream, glazed their tops, thereby creating an enduring classic which he christened éclairs (meaning lightening)." While there are several theories as to why he named them so, Dorie says, "I hold with the camp convinced that the name described the way an éclair is eaten - lightening fast." I quite agree with Dorie on this because the chocolate éclairs that i had made hardly took time to vanish even though mine were not glazed... just filled and piped with some chocolate custard on top...

As in the case of gougères,  these are best consumed within a few hours of baking. however if  you need to prepare a large-ish batch in advance, you can store them by shaping the dough, freezing the mounds on a baking sheet and packing them off in airtight plastic bags soon after they solidify and then bake them straight from the freezer whenever you want to... and if you are like me and choose not to fill some of the pastry shells and serve them later, then you can heat the shells in the oven at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes before filling them with the cream and serving...

now the recipe... For the chocolate filling I followed the recipe from Around the French Table and for the pastry shells I followed the measurements from Alton Brown's recipe and procedure from the recipe that Swathi had mailed to us. I  also used The Joy of Baking for video and reference. 

  Chocolate éclairs (makes 12 pieces)

ingredients :
  • for the chocolate filling
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 4 tbsp sugar
    • 1 1/2 tbsps cornstarch
    • pinch of salt
    • 4 ozs semisweet chocochips, melted (i melted it over double broiler)
    • 1 1/2 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature 
  • for the pastry dough 
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

       what i did :
    •  for the chocolate filling:
      • first i brought the milk to a boil.
      • meanwhile in a medium saucepan, i whisked the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until it was thick and well blended. whisking continuously, i then drizzled 2 tablespoons of the milk to the yolk-sugar blend and still whisking i added the remaining milk to the blend.
      • then putting the pan over medium heat, i whisked the mixture as hard fast as i could and brought it to a boil and whisked non-stop for another couple of minutes before turning off the heat.
      • i then whisked in the melted chocolate and after letting the mixture stand for 5 minutes, i whisked in the bits of butter and stirred the mixture until all of it was well combined and the custard looked smooth and silky. i then scraped out the mixture into a bowl, covered it with a cling wrap and transferred the bowl into the refrigerator until the pastry shells were ready to be filled.
    • for the pasty shells : 
      • first i preheated the oven to 400 degrees F; drew 4 1/2 inch straight lines 1 1/2 inch apart with a chalk on the baking tray and lined it with parchment paper. 
      • i then sifted the flour and sugar together and kept it aside.
      • next i combined the water, butter and salt in a medium sauce pan and placed it over medium low heat and stirred until the butter is melted. once the butter melted i turned the heat up and brought the mixture to a simmer.
      • then removing the pan from the heat i added the flour-sugar the mixture until it acquired a paste-like consistency. then placing the pan over medium high heat i stirred the paste rapidly for a minute until the dough began to pull off from the sides of the pan and looked smooth and glossy.
      • instantly afterwards i transferred the dough to the mixer bowl and mixed the dough on low for 30-45 seconds to release some of the heat and moisture. i then added the eggs to the dough, one at a time, beating continuously until each addition was completely incorporated into the dough before adding the next one. i continued beating the dough for another minute or two till it began to pull away from the sides of the bowl when pulled with the paddle but grabbed back on again.
      • i then increased the speed of the mixer to medium for 15 seconds to make sure that the egg and the yolk get well incorporated in the dough. next stopping the mixer intermittently over the next minute or so i checked if the dough passed the bird's peak test when lifted. that is, if it held its shape and turned down on itself without breaking off when lifted up.
      • once the dough passed the test, i spooned the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 2 inch diameter-ed nozzle and piped out the dough over the image of straight lines that could be seen through the parchment paper.
      • i then transferred the tray to the preheated oven. after 15 minutes i reduced the oven temperature to 350 degree F and continued baking for another 20 minutes. i then reduced the oven temperature further to 325 degrees F and baked for 10 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 300 degrees F and baked for another 5 minutes before turning off the heat.
      • then removing the shells from the oven i let them cool completely before cutting them in half and filling them.

    though I had intended to publish this earlier I couldn't. glad that i managed to post it before the linky tool closed... do check out what my fellow bakers have baked.. i think most of them look really professional.. do they ??



    1. U did the second one too?? Kudos dear :) It looks perfect & beautiful :)

    2. Tanu linky is open now, you can link it now. Your eclairs looks delicious and perfect.

    3. eclair Looks great. And you have tried Gougères also. Wow. I have to try that out.


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    Best, Tanusree

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