Sunday, August 31, 2008

My First Daring Baker Challenge - Éclairs!

Hello readers of the Daring Bakers non-bloggers blog! My name is Emily and this is my first time.

I was very excited when I found out the first challenge was making Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé. I've never heard of the man, but éclairs are absolutely one of my favourite things and I haven't made them in years. These éclairs as per the recipe use a chocolate pastry cream as the filling with the traditional choclate glaze. My favourite local boulangerie (well, probably my only local boulangerie) sells amazing eclairs with chocolate or vanilla pastry cream. I never even thought to ask what was in them before, but now I know and I can make it myself!

I had some problems with this recipe which was frustrating. I managed to make choux pastry at age 13, but not now? I thought I had improved at this baking lark! My first batch of eclairs had not hollow, managed to deflate even despite that and were far too eggy. I think this was due to a number of things, particularly that I did the mixing of the dough by hand and did not cook them long enough.

As I have no standing mixer (I almost never meet people who do in
England) I decided on my next try to use a food proccessor forthis mixing. Thanks to whoever suggested that on the sooper-secret DB forums!

So, I had made the pastry cream the night before (absolutely delicious!). Sadly, due to forgetting to charge the camera battery I only have pictures of the end. The next morning I was up bright and early; I wanted to have them done before people arrived at midday. The food processor worked a dream for mixing the pastry up, it looked incredible. I had managed to forgot to bring my pastry bag to my boyfriend'shouse, but ended up finding it much easier to use a sandwich bag with a corner cut off.

I put a tray full of water atthe botton of the oven to help with rising and set to making the glaze. I had a problem here as the glaze consistently separated. I managed to get it reasonably together though before the eclairs were done.

cooked eclair

I think that in the end these were slightly underdone as well, but I was being over cautious. Wha felt like a triumph then was that they were definately hollow! Most deflated a bit, but I did not mind so much as I was able to fill them (using a spoon)!

filled eclair

And cover them in glaze!

glazed eclairs

They were not the prettiest eclairs in the world but they were certainly delicious! I used 70% cocoa dark chocolate and it was amazing. They were eated up very quickly and everyone loved them, even if the pastry was slightly soggier than it should have been.

Thank you and good night!

- Emily

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