Eclairs + Pastry Cream + Chocolate = YUM

These are the eclairs we made in our cooking class the other day.  I am sure it is obvious by now that I like to read lots of cookbooks, websites, newspapers, and magazines.  I am constantly on the hunt to introduce a new seasoning, ingredient, texture and taste to my family.  This goes for both sweet and savory dishes.

Sometimes, I have to learn to stick to what works.  Put that recipe in my binder and write a note on it, something to the effect of this is the perfect recipe.  I should have done that with the choux paste I made a while back.

I was a little disappointed in this particular recipe.  I have made choux paste in the past (see this post) and it was perfectly delicious.  The recipe was from Sherry Yard’s Desserts by the Yard.  The pastry puffed up perfectly and didn’t taste at all egg.  Sometimes, this kind of pastry can taste very eggy.  Hers did not.
This choux paste was from Tartine and although the Tartine cookbook is my go-to, no-fail book, these are not going to be on my list of favorites.  On the other hand, her pastry cream was silky, smooth and creamy and the chocolate glaze did not disappoint either.  Two out of three isn’t bad!
The girls seemed perfectly happy with them.  I am a tougher critic.  The fun part of the whole eclair adventure was doing them together. Get a bunch of people in one room, give them a pastry bag and the energy instantly changes!

Choux Paste, Pastry Cream, + Chocolate Sauce


choux paste
1/2 cup non fat milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
5 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp

pastry cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbls. cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 Tbls. sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbls. unsalted butter

Chocolate glaze
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp. light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream


Choux paste
• preheat oven to 425*.   Line baking sheets with parchment
• In a heavy saucepan combine the milk, water, salt, sugar, & butter & place over med heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil.  Add all the flour, stirring vigorously.  Keep stirring until it forms a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes.
• transfer the mixture to a standing mixer w/paddle attachment.  add the eggs, one at  a time and beat on medium high speed.  it should be thick, smooth & shiny.
• transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with #6 or 7 tip.  Pipe out 5” long logs, spacing 2” apart.
• bake until puffed about 10 minutes.  reduce oven temp to 375*, until they feel hollow, about 12 minutes.  they should be nicely browned all over.
•let cool on racks.  they should be used immediately or tightly wrapped and frozen (up to 3 weeks)
pastry cream
• have a bowl ready for cooling the pastry cream with a fine-mesh sieve resting on top.
• pour the milk into a heavy saucepan.  split the vanilla bean half length wise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod halves into the milk.  add the salt, place over medium high heat, and bring to just under  a boil, stirring occasionally.
•meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk  the cornstarch & sugar.  add the eggs and whisk until smooth
• when the milk is ready, slowly ladle about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  pour the egg mixture back into the  hot milk and continue to whisk over medium heat until the custard is thick like whipped cream.  this must come to a boiling point but don’t let it curdle.
• remove from heat and pour through the sieve into the bowl.  let cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
• cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces.  when the pastry cream reaches 140*, whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
• to cool, cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the cream.
• pastry cream will keep well covered for 5 days in the fridge
chocolate glaze
• combine the chocolate & the corn syrup in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream to just under a boil in a small saucepan.  pour the cream over the chocolate, wait about 2 minutes and then stir gently with a rubber spatula, until smooth and shiny
• let cool until just warm
to assemble
• stir the pastry cream (must be very cold) and spoon it into a pastry bag.  Punch a hole in each end of the pastry shell and fill 1/2 way on each side.  fill until they feel heavy
• dip each filled eclair into the glaze, shaking gently to allow the excess to drip off and then place upright on a wire rack.  allow to set.
• can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours.  they should be eaten the same day

The Urban Baker /

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