Sunday, August 31, 2008

White chocolate pastry cream, dark chocolate glazed éclairs with crushed raspberry foil

Hi Guys

Well I wanted to join DB for the experience and the challenge of baking new things…and actually being told what I HAVE to bake, so there are no excuses or opportunities for me to wimp out.

I have to say, these éclairs definitely were challenging…not counting my insistence on using my oven, which has no temperature markers, and a fan force that doesn’t actually work properly, to bake them in.

batch number one

I had two attempts. Trial 1 failed completely. My éclairs puffed up lovely and golden in the oven, and then fell flat as a pancake. I hurriedly tried to resurrect them by shoving them back in the oven before anyone noticed. They looked like they were coming good, until I took them out again and the same thing happened.

very flat

Obviously they hadn’t cooked properly, and I had an idea they could be too thickly piped to cook enough in my oven with its temperamental temperature. I had piped a profiter roll type shaped éclair, as I had a little bit of dough left, and that was the only éclair in the first batch that cooked properly.

By this stage I had made up the pastry cream, and had no more eggs for a second attempt there and then. So I trialled the small éclair and my mum thought it was nice with the pastry cream, although there was no glaze at that stage.

batch number one (2)

I made up the pastry cream, but flavoured with white instead of dark chocolate, as I planned to use berries in the mix as well. Because I had white chocolate left over, and only exactly enough bitter dark chocolate to make the glaze, I ended up having to use white chocolate to make the chocolate sauce that went into the dark chocolate glaze…? Anyway, it worked out well, and the glaze was bitter dark, but not to bitter to be enjoyed in a chocolatey way. :)

So my when I could get another 5 eggs to room temperature, I tried the pastry again. I never had trouble mixing it up with the hand mixer, although I didn’t get the ‘shiny, ribbon’ texture quoted in the recipe. The second time I piped the éclairs thinner, and made closer to the amount of éclairs the recipe said I’d get, so I think my first ones must have definitely been too thick.

batch number one (1)

This time I had the oven realllly hot the first time. Popped the éclairs in and watched and waited. 7 minutes went by, and I decided they didn’t look cooked enough on the top shelf, so I left them a few more before popping in the wooden spoon. I kept a close eye on them, and in the end, probably cooked them for a total of 30 or so minutes, even trying to raise the oven temperature again. There were still some floppers resulting from this batch, but not so many that it wasn’t a successful bake. Probably 4 out of the 24 flopped beyond use.

shiny glaze

I had also still made little profitter roll ones, as they were cuter and bite size, good for me . Filling and glazing was easy, but I added in some defrosted, slightly crushed raspberries on top of the pastry cream before putting on the glazed tops. I was impressed with how nice they looked, especially the glossy glaze, and the studded red of the raspberries, which perfectly went with the white and dark chocolate in the cream and glaze.

teeny eclairs

I will not be making these again for a long…long while, not because they weren’t delicious, it’s just that I’ve never thrown out a whole batch of anything before, even if a cake doesn’t bake I can usually spoon it through ice cream. Binning the whole lot was really horrific, the more I think about it. My reluctance to make them again also wasn’t helped by much sampling of the pastry cream, glaze and sauce along the way, spoiling my desire to try a finished éclair, although, thankfully none of these mixes were a problem to get together.

This was a great first experience with trying something new and learning to show some perseverance. I will look forward to more challenges from now on.

- Monique

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