I’m not going to lie. I’m in love with the photo above. I was so caught up in trying to replicate one of those eclair pictures; the one with the pristine shaped pastry, glossy chocolate glaze and fluffy white filling that I completely overlooked the one above until I was skimming through the 137 pictures and as luck would have it, my keyboard got semi-jammed at this particular one. Granted, it underwent a considerable amount of post-editing, but this picture will be one of my favourites for a very long time.
And as for the eclair itself, my train of thoughts went something like this;
The other night Karina told me she wanted to get a watch for her father’s birthday, to which I promptly suggested getting a Tag Heuer. I then went on to look up the price list of Tag Heuer watches and saw that two of them were priced at $19,700. We both laughed off the idea and wondered who would be pretentious enough to get such a watch (with pink gold, apparently)? Only one name came to my mind. Charles “Chuck” Bass; and then I chuckled to myself, remembering an episode where there was a scene where a waiter put a “RESERVED” sign next to a plate of eclairs for Mr. Bass. I was inspired.
Not exactly the most coherent, but that’s the unadulterated truth.
Éclairs = [ Pâte à choux + Cream filling + Chocolate Glaze ]
Pâte à choux
[ 100g unsalted butter + 300ml water + 140g plain flour, sifted + 4 large eggs ]
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Grease 2 baking sheets.
Bring the water and butter to a boil in a pan. Tip in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to form a ball of soft dough. Take off from the heat. Cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer into a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment on, beat in the eggs into the dough one at a time, waiting until each egg becomes incorporated before adding another until a smooth glossy paste form.
Spoon into a piping bag with a 2cm plain or ridged tip. Pipe 8-10 eclairs to each baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of space in between each.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, swapping the sheets midway.
Set aside to cool on a cooling rack.
I decided to go with the classic filling of pastry cream instead of opting for whipped cream. You can just as easily switch the two, or mix one part pastry cream to one part whipped cream for a lighter pastry cream.
[ 300ml milk or half-and-half + 3 large egg yolks + 50g sugar + 2 tablespoons cornflour + 2 tablespoons flour + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean ]
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until a pale and creamy. Sift in the flour and cornflour and mix into the egg mixture.
Bring the milk and vanilla to a boil over low heat.
Temper the egg mixture by putting 1-2 ladles of milk into the egg mixture and whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Return the egg-milk mixture into the milk in the pan and whisk until thick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
[ 100g dark chocolate + 2 tablespoon cream ]
Microwave the chocolate and cream on high for 1 minute and stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture turns glossy.
Spoon the cooled pastry cream into a piping bag with a plain tip.
Slit each eclairs half way or make a hole on both ends using the tip of a spoon.
Pipe in the filling.
Spoon the glaze over the eclair, or just dip the eclair into the chocolate glaze.
*OPTIONAL: sprinkle some crushed pistachio on top.
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