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Eclairs

 
Recipe adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

Makes 20-24 éclairs

Ingredients:

Choux Pastry
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 115g unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

Pastry Cream (from Dorie Greenspan)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornflour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons Frangelico liqueur OR 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 100g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 20g unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 7 tablespoons chocolate sauce (see recipe below)

Chocolate Sauce
  • 130g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Method:

  • To make the chocolate sauce, place all ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring for 10-15 minutes with a wooden smooth until the sauce thickens. When it is ready, it will coat the back of your spoon. This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
  • To make the pastry cream, bring milk to the boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, in a medium size saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornflour until thick and well blended. Still whisking, dribble in about ¼ cup of the hot milk. When combined, while continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk.
  • Transfer the saucepan to the stove. On medium heat, whisk vigorously and constantly until the mixture starts to boil. Whisk for 1-2 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and Frangelico OR coffee.
  • Stand for five minutes and then whisk in the butter, stirring until the cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate until cold. This can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To make the éclairs, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Position racks in the upper and lower halves of the oven. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  • In a heavy bottomed medium-sized saucepan bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil. When mixture is at a rolling boil, add the flour, reduce the heat to medium and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough will come together quickly. Stir for another 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. It should be soft and smooth.
  • Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. By the end, the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted, it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
  • Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2cm plain tip nozzle with the warm choux pastry. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in chubby fingers, about 11cm long. Leave about 5cm between each to allow them room to puff.
  • Slide both baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After this time, keep oven door ajar. When éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Bake for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be about 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, make the chocolate glaze. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stirring gently, add the butter one piece at a time, followed by the chocolate sauce.
  • To fill the éclairs, slice them horizontally using a serrated knife. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of baking paper. The glaze should be barely warm to the touch. Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set.
  • Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wiggle gently to settle them. Serve the éclairs as soon as they have been filled.

many thanks to Lisa from Spicy Icecream
 

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