Introduction: Fancy Eclairs & Cream Puffs
I don't know about you, but sometimes I have a taste for something light, cake like and dipped in chocolate. What's better than a fancy eclair. The fact that it's filled and coated makes this dainty treat super versatile, and the flavors are endless! In my video tutorial I made a fun array of delicious eclairs at home! Pat a choux is a classic cooked french dough and comes with a small set of rules to get right. So watch the video tutorial below to see how I made these delicious desserts.
Pat a choux recipe
1 C water
1/2 c butter
1 1/4 c flour
4 large eggs
Mock pastry cream:
1 pack instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c milk
1/2 c cream
Step 1: Pat a Choux
In a small sauce pot:
Bring water and butter to a simmer until the butter is completely melted. Remove the pot from the heat and gradually add in flour while stirring. You want to stir with a spatula (preferably rubber) until a dough is formed and no longer sticks to the sides of the pot.
Allow the dough to cool slightly then transfer to a mixing bowl and gradually add in your eggs. At this point you can use a handheld mixer or standing mixer to add in eggs. We don't want to beat in too much air so once the eggs are completely incorporated, stop mixing. Put the dough in a piping bag with a large round or star tip.
Step 2: Pipe and Bake
Lay a piece of parchment or rubber mat down on a sheet tray and begin to pipe your eclairs.
A great measurement is between 4 and 5 inches in length. The piping may be slightly tricky at the break away from the piping bag. Pull the piping bag away sharply and simply fix any imperfections by tapping the ends of the eclairs with a wet finger. You can also pipe a few round cream puffs.
Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees, for 10 minutes. Then, lower the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes. When finished, the eclair should be light and fluffy, and springy to the touch. The ultimate test is to break one in half, there should be no wetness in the center.
Step 3: Easy Pastry Cream
This is a cheat version of a technical custard
In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer: Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and whip for a couple of minutes until it reaches a thick custard like consistency. The custard will thicken as it sits. Put this in a piping bag with a small round tip.
Naturally the flavor here will be vanilla, but feel to use a different flavored pudding such as pistachio or chocolate.
Step 4: Fun Part
There are two ways to fill your eclairs. Split them in half like sandwiches or fill them with a piping tip. I loved the look of both, but with the sandwiched version you have the option of adding fruits and other fillings.
To fill with a piping tip: Flip the eclair over and insert the tip into the center, apply pressure to the bag until you fill that you've piped a decent amount. Be careful though, this is a delicate pastry and is easy to tear. Then, go to each end of the eclair and pipe more cream.
Sandwich version: Slice the eclairs in half long ways and pipe dollops of pastry cream onto the bottom layer then sandwich with the top layer. You can also slice berries, and place a layer down before adding your pastry cream.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
These are the final touches of your eclairs, and here's where you can really fancy them up.
Chocolate ganache: This is a classic topping of eclairs. To make, melt down equal parts of chocolate and cream over a double boiler (be sure not to burn the chocolate). Whip until it reaches the perfect dipping consistency. Carefully dip the eclairs in and allow to set.
You can also just use chocolate which is great because it will harden back up after cooling.
Candy: I found a cookies and cream hershey bar! I melted it down and dip my eclair in, it was amazing. So visit the candy aisle of your local market and go crazy. (not literally).
For the berry filled eclairs, I loved just sprinkling them with powdered sugar. They were simply gorgeous.
However you like your eclairs, have fun and make sure to indulge in them with a spot of tea.
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