Saturday, January 25, 2014

Classic Eclairs

I've been thinking a lot this week (and giggling) about one of those eCards.  You all know what I'm talking about.  They have a cartoon of a person with a witty saying.

This one got me.

"I can eat whatever I want tonight because I cried at work today."

I laughed a lot at this one... and out loud.  I'm still giggling over it!

Why?!  BECAUSE IT'S TRUE!

About 2 years ago I was the queen of wanting to cry at work.  There were so many things that were frustrating me and not adding up that I thought bursting into tears was the only option.

Instead, I would take a deep breath and just move on.  I would think, "This is as worse as it gets.. It'll only get better from here."  And that was true!  It did get better and I no longer want to cry at work on a daily basis.  I have to admit, I have my days, but the point of this is: Take a look at the road you've traveled.

You may not be measuring your progress on crying at work, and it really doesn't matter how you're measuring it, as long as you stand back and reflect for a second.  It helps put things into perspective.  Even the smallest of progress can push you forward. 

Keep going.  Don't stop. Push forward.  You've got the whole world ahead of you.  I mean it.

Eclairs!



Eclairs are so very classy, especially when done classically.  The dark chocolate against the off-white vanilla cream?  Beautiful.

Choux Paste

200g Milk
200g Water
120g Butter
20g Sugar
4g Salt
Lemon zest
200g Flour
250g (5) Eggs 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 390 Fahrenheit.

Weigh the milk, water, butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a pot.  In a separate bowl, measure the flour.  Lastly,  crack open all the eggs in another small bowl.

Heat the milk mixture over the stove until it boils.  Once the mixture begins to boil, add the flour all at once.

Get ready to begin mixing!  Your arm will get tired but continue to stir the dough constantly over the stove until a smooth dough forms and it pulls away from the sides of the pot.  Transfer the dough to another bowl and let cool completely.  For best results, flatten the dough out on top of a stone surface.  During the cooling time you can prepare your baking tray by lining it with baking paper and your piping bag with a star tip.

Once cooled, add the eggs one at a time while mixing with your hand.  This is the best way to  mix in the eggs because the dough cannot be whipped in any way (ie. with a mixer).  The finished dough will be sticky.

Fill your piping bag with the dough and pipe out your Eclairs onto the prepared baking tray.  Make sure to leave enough space in between because the Eclairs will expand.

Bake the eclairs for 10 minutes.  Without opening the oven... I repeat DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, turn the oven down to 175 Celsius or 345 Fahrenheit.  Baking for another 20 minutes.  Once the 20 minutes is up, let the steam out the oven (open the oven for a second) and then continue to bake until the eclairs are golden brown on top and baked through; about another 10 minutes.

While the Eclairs are baking...

Light Vanilla Cream

375g Milk
1/2 Vanilla bean
50g (1) Egg
65g Sugar
80g Cornstarch

35g Butter

100g Cream

Weigh the milk out in a pot.  Add the vanilla bean and bring to a boil.  Mix the egg, sugar and cornstarch in a separate bowl.  Once the milk boils, temper the egg mixture with the milk before adding it to the pot.  To do this, take a large spoonful of the boiling milk and add it to the egg mixture, stirring.  When adding the eggs to the milk,  slowly pour them into the pot stirring continuously.  Constantly stir the vanilla cream as it thickens and begins to boil again.  Remove from heat.

Add the butter once the cream has cooled slightly.  

In a separate bowl, whip the cream.

Once the vanilla cream has cooled completely, fold in the whipped cream.

Assembling and Decorating the Eclairs:

Once the eclairs have baked and cooled, slice the eclairs in half, longways.  

For the chocolate coating:

Melt and temper dark chocolate (or whichever kind of chocolate suits your choice!).  Dip the tops of the eclairs into the chocolate and let dry onto baking paper.

For the filling, pipe out drops of the light vanilla cream onto the bottoms of the eclairs.  Top with the chocolate coated half.




















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