Daring Bakers: Èclairs!

31 08 2008

This is my first Daring Bakers Challenge, and I must say I definitely would not have made this recipe without the push from the challenge. That said, I had a fantastic time baking alongside fellow Daring Baker Liz, making my èclairs, and watching her make (and then eating some of) her delicious espresso-chocolate cream puffs.

Specifically, the challenge this month was to make Pierre Hermè’s chocolate eclairs. We could, however, change either the glaze or the pastry cream, and thus were my Floral Black & White Eclairs born!

However, it will be a long, long, LONG time before I have the urge to whisk or boil anything. We felt like all we did for hours was whisk & boil, whisk & boil, boil & whisk, etc.

Here is my setup. You can see in the back my candied lavender flowers and white chocolate medallions, and the lovely farm eggs and local dairy products Liz and I used! Also, check out my owl cannisters – my step-grandmother gave them to my stepmother years ago, but they’re not her style – so guess who gets them? Oh yeah. I have eight of these babies and they are SO cute.

I candied the lavender by boiling 1 c rosewater and 1 c sugar, then adding the 1 c lavender flowers and bringing it all back to a boil. Then I simmered it for ten minutes or so, took them out, drained them through a sieve, dried them a bit on parchment paper, and dry-roasted them in an unoiled nonstick skillet. THEN I let them cool and harden on the parchment paper. I have tons left over. They are delicious on everything ever.

There was much stirring. And bringing of things to a boil.

Nothing like some… eggs and cream and butter. Delish? (Clearly she didn’t really eat it.)

I was amused by the idea, noted in the recipe, that it would form a “thin crust.” It’s a lot less gross than it sounds, but I still wouldn’t want to eat it. We are actually not only Daring but Excessively Goofy Bakers.

The dough looked just right when we put it in the KitchenAid! Then, adding of eggs:

It never separated, and the choux was lovely, really. Piping up next:

As you can see, it’s VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS. VERY SERIOUS INDEED. I look so focused. While these were in the oven becoming gorgeous, we started the pastry cream. There are no pictures, because things got hectic for a bit.

Look how beautiful! Puffy! Lovely!

Except that one, which was definitely the saddest éclair. It was… unattractive. To say the least.

We had started to go a little funny in the brain at this point (Liz driven to drinkin’!)

Now, the chocolate glaze. The sauce, which was part of the glaze, went really well. You can see it here, to the left:

The glaze looks promising off to the right, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?

WRONG.

Oh, the horror. THE HORROR. It was pretty disgusting. Lucky us, we had tons of Chocolate Sauce, and just used that instead. Here’s Liz prettyin’ up her éclairs:

And here are my finished beauties:

The cream was a little runny, but they were still delicious. A closeup of the flowers:

We were two tired and probably no longer particularly daring bakers by the end:

Head over to Liz’s blog at http://thingsiloveaboutaustin.blogspot.com for photos of her beautiful espresso cream éclairs and more documentation of our (somewhat silly) adventures!

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3 responses

1 09 2008
Lisa

Oh my dear lord WHY did you not warn us to avert our delicate eyes? The glaze! The glaze! but seriously. You two look TOTALLY cute.

1 09 2008
John (Eat4Fun - Second Time DB)

Hi! You two are a hoot! The candied lavender sounds pretty good. I agree the eclairs were a pain to make. Onward to the next challenge!

2 09 2008
Joanna

WOW! All those pictures… looks like you two had a ton of fun. I’ll have to try baking with another daring baker, but I kinda get territorial in my kitchen 😛 Way to go on this month’s DB challenge, the eclairs look to-die-for!

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