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August 31, 2008

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé - Daring Bakers

This month's challenge is hosted by Meeta of What's For Lunch Honey? and Tony of Tony Tahhan. After it was announced I could hardly wait to bake them because éclairs are my favourite dessert. I knew these going to be gorgeous! It was a lot of fun preparing them, altough they were a bit wrinkled on the top, so I used the bottom for the glaze. The filling is so chocolaty, so creamy and light, perfect! The whole bunch of éclairs were gone in less than ten minutes!!! Luckily I had guests, so I did not eat all by myself, which otherwise would have definitely been the case because this is the only dessert I can not resist.


Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) 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

waxed or parchment paper.
2) 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. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.
3) 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.


Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)


1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the

bottoms with the pastry cream.
3) 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 wriggle gently to settle them.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)


• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar

• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) 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) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk 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).Stir in
the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the 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.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream

• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)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 or spatula.
2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar


1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

19 comments:

Marye said...

I love how you did the tops! Beautiful job!
blessings,
marye
http://www.bakingdelights.com/2008/08/31/daring-bakers-august-challengeeclairs/

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your Eclairs look perfect and extremely scrumptious! Very well done!

Cheers,

Rosa

HoneyB said...

Looks awesome - I would totally dig into them!

Aparna said...

Your eclairs look really nice and cute.
I had the same decorating idea, in a different colour though.:0

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Lovely results! Lucky you to get to make your favorite dessert. We're eating ours for breakfast. ;)

Marija said...

Chriesi your eclairs look so yummy! Wonderful!

lilmizlynn said...

whoa!! i love your eclairs.. amazing with the tops there... Yummy! Yummy!!

Claire said...

I love the decoration on the top...so delicate! Great job!

Amy J. said...

Looking good! Mmmmm.....

Jude said...

Love the closeups and the pictures. Mouthwatering.

Houdini said...

bi scho lang nüme uf dim Blog gsih, es lohnt sich aber, wird jetzt meh cho luege, fahr halt nöd so uf Süessgebäck, jetzt mit Pastamaschine gits denn viel Pastarezept, au mmh

Sarah said...

lovely!

Kevin said...

Your eclairs look really good!

Millie said...

Wow!

Tanya said...

A job well done! These look simply gorgeous!

www.takethecannoli.us

Tartelette said...

Beautiful job! A lot of bakeries use the bottom for the glaze because it is the smoothest part, so you were on the right track!

Amber said...

I love checking the blogs from other countries. It just shows we are really all the same. Give us food and we are happy. I like the tops, they remind me of pretty buttons. I also have a give away till Saturday if you are interested in entering. I also love your name, I just do not know how to say it, but it is beautiful.

silverrock said...

Ooo those eclairs look lovely. I like the creativitiy of using the cream filling to pipe shell designs atop your delightful pastries. Way to go!

Medena said...

Oh, what a great job you did!They're perfect! Missed you all! I had a lot going on, but will be coming back to blogging soon! :)Cheers!

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