Eggie Does It, Monsieur Hermé!
|Well what a delight to have such a sweet gal hosting this month.. a long-time fellow blogger and someone I like to call my friend, Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey? and her equally delightful co-host, Tony of Olive Juice brought to us Daring Baker type people a recipe from the sugar daddy of all sugar daddies, Pierre Hermé!|
Meeta and Tony chose Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé from the book Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, written by one of my all-time favorite bakers, Dorie Greenspan. To say that the crowd was excited upon hearing what our challenge for August was, is definitely an understatement.
This was a fun month to watch comments on the Daring Baker forums. Many of us had problems with our éclairs deflating and there was much excellent advice on how to prevent that from happening.. advice, I happily admit, that steered me in the right direction as my éclair shells puffed beautifully with only 4 deflated shells out of 28. I went the mini route this time since I prefer éclairs small.. they are just one of those desserts that are too much for me if given a large one. I KNOW! Can you believe there is a dessert out there that's just too much for me? :P
We had the choice of making them as they were originally intended.. chocolate pastry cream filled with a chocolate glaze on top.. or we could switch one of those components to something else, as long as we kept the other. Another shocker for me, I decided to stick with the chocolate glaze and go with a lemon pastry cream for the filling. A little zest and a little lemon juice in place of the vanilla did me just fine and before I knew it, I had one of the best pastry creams I've ever tasted! ;)
I made 1/2 the way we were required.. by slicing each shell in half, filling one side with the pastry cream and topping with the other half of the shell then glazing with the chocolate goodness. The rest I decided to just fill by puncturing an end with a pastry tip and loading them up with luscious lemony pastry cream. I also decided that at the end, with just a few left and some fantastic toffee sauce in my freezer waiting to be used.. that I'd glaze those with the toffee sauce and then drizzle a little milk chocolate over. DELISH!
The only complaint I had with this recipe was that the shells were very eggy. I took the advice of many and beat the living shite out of my choux after each egg addition (5 - FIVE - eggs) and I allowed my shells to bake a little longer than what was called for, then opened the oven door and pulled the shelf out half way so that they still had some warmth to dry properly. So the only thing I can say here is that I don't really believe that many of us had eggy éclairs due to not beating long enough or baking long enough.. I just think that there were maybe 1 to 2 eggs not needed. But, who the hell am I to disagree with the pastry king of France? Now, of course, I'd KILL - yes! KILL! to try one of his éclairs.. my guess is that you'd never know there was an egg in the recipe. :)
Would I make this recipe again? No. I have another éclair recipe that I made last summer and it was not eggy at all.. they all deflated of course, but that was before I knew to bake them a tad longer and not to take them away from the heat completely until they've had time to dry. At least this is what I'm contributing my success to puffy shells this time. Would I make ANY éclair again? Probably, but not very often.. yes, I'm a dork and I actually prefer the donut type - you know, the kind that are called "cream sticks" *gasp* Was that blasphemy??? Sorry Monsieur Hermé! ;)
Nevertheless, I learned some great lessons this month on how to keep my choux nice and puffy and how to make a delicious pastry cream that I WILL use over and over again. ;)
Thanks so much Meeta and Tony!!! You have both done a stellar job this month and we appreciate it so very muchly! :) Ya'll can find the recipe on both Meeta's and Tony's blogs.