Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chocolate Eclairs

Choux Pastry:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg, beaten (for brushing)
Pastry Cream Filling:
2 1/4 cups milk (I used 1%)
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate Topping:
1/4 cup cream
3 ounces semi sweet chocolate

1. First prepare the pastry cream. In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and 1/4 cup milk. Whisk in cornstarch and flour until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, bring the 2 cups of milk to a gentle boil. Gradually pour one third of the hot milk into the egg mixture, to temper the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour remaining hot milk into egg mixture.
3. Pour mixture back into saucepan and place over medium high heat, whisking constantly until mixture boils and thickens, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla.
4. Transfer pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, covering the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 2 hours.
5. For the eclair shells, in a small bowl mix together flour, salt, and sugar. Set aside. In a pot over medium heat, place water and butter and bring mixture to a boil, making sure the butter is completely melted before it boils.
6. As soon as the water/butter boils, remove from heat and stir in flour mixture all at once until a thick ball of paste forms. Place back on the heat and continue to stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
7. Transfer dough into the bowl of an electric mixer or a food processor. Blend mixture on low speed for 1-2 minutes to release steam and cool to lukewarm. Once mixture has cooled blend in the 2 eggs until smooth.
8. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or a large ziploc bag with the corner cut off. On a parchment lined baking sheet pipe nine, 3" long logs. Brush with the remaining beaten egg.
9. Bake shells for 15 minutes at 400°F then reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking 30-35 minutes until golden all over and dry and airy in the center.
10. Poke holes in the ends of each shell (I used my flower nail) and let them cool completely on a wire rack. For chocolate topping, place chocolate in a bowl. Heat up cream until hot and pour over chocolate, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
11. Once eclair shells are completely cooled and chocolate topping has cooled to room temperature and is slightly thickened, you are ready to assemble the eclairs. The pastry cream should be chilled by now.
12. To put together the eclairs, pipe them full with pastry cream and top with chocolate topping. Chill for a few minutes to allow topping to harden. Serve & enjoy!

Makes 9. For best keeping, store eclairs in an airtight container in the fridge.

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