Sunday, August 31, 2008

DB: Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

This months Daring Baker's challenge was Eclairs. As a big fan of cream puffs this challenge really excited me. We usually fill or cream puffs with pudding or whipped cream so I was unsure what pastry cream was and how I would like it. I also wanted to do something besides chocolate as amazing as it sounds I was just a little tired of chocolate at that point. Instead of chocolate I choose to use some of my Black and Blue Berry sauce for the filling, much more summery. :) Unfortunately my camera had an off week and all I have is this blurry picture, Trust me though very very nice.
Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup whole milk
• ½ cup water
• 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

5) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.

6) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Berry Pastry Cream

• 1.5 cups whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 4 tbsp sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 1/2 cup mixed berry sauce
• 2½ tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk and berry sauce to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

The berry pastry cream turned out a chalky purple color and was way to rich for my taste so I added some Black and Blue berry sauce to the eclair when assembling it and used a plain chocolate ganache on top. My eclairs ended up being about 3 bites long, but they were so rich that I really didn't want any more.

Temper's Take:
Puff pastry is always good in my book. But after this challenge I have decided that whipped cream is my filling of choice (though I haven't tried Ice Cream yet). The berry sauce made a very nice counterpoint to the richness of the cream but the cream was just way to rich for my taste.


Lauren said...

I love the idea of the berry filling- i agree chocolate on chocolate would be too much. great job and hope your camera gets out of its funk soon!

Heather B said...

Ohhh...can I have some of that berry pastry cream? Purty Please??? Your eclairs look delicious! The blurry pic just makes me think the photog was in a hurry to eat them!

maybelle's mom said...

I used berries too. I am glad this was more of a success for you than last month (though your use of last month's cast offs was brilliant.)

HoneyB said...

Berry pastry cream sounds yummy!

Robyn said...

I thought chocolate on chocolate would have been a bit much, too. Your berry fillings sound good.

Anonymous said...

I love your filling with berries! Yum!

Aparna said...

Great idea of using fruit in the eclairs.
I agree about puff pastyr, but this choux was too "eggy" for me.:(