Friday, July 19, 2013

Chocolate Eclairs

Just after Spring Break, Meow had to cover for a teacher for a few days.  There was this group of remedial high school science kids where they have a custom of making Fridays a movie day.  The TA (and sometimes the teacher) would bring in treats for the kids as well.  Meow asked what sort of things the kids like and the TA informed me that they like chocolate.  Perfect!  I was itching to try out something from my Laduree book, which at that time, I still haven't made anything out of it yet.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn't any more work than other pastries.



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Chocolate Éclairs
Adapted from Laduree Sucre

Chocolate filling
450 g pastry cream
     1 tsp vanilla extract
     400 mL whole milk
     4 egg yolks
     80 g granulated sugar
     30 g cornstarch
     25 g butter
120 g 70% cocoa chocolate
200 mL whole milk

Choux pastry
120 g cake flour
100 mL whole milk
100 mL water
10 g granulated sugar
1 pinch of salt
80 g of butter
4 eggs

Chocolate fondant top
200 g white pouring fondant
70 g chocolate (80% cocoa)
1 tbsp water
60 g granulated sugar

1. Prepare pastry cream

     1 (a). Pour milk into a sauce pan and add vanilla extract, bring to simmer

     1 (b). In a large pot, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale, add in cornstarch

     1 (c). Slowly stream in the hot milk while whisking the yolks mixture, stopping about a 1/3 way 
              through and stir a bit to temper the yolks.  Resume streaming in the hot milk after

     1 (d). Heat over medium-low and whisk constantly.  Once it is ready it will immediately and 
              instantly thicken up, whisk quickly at that point until desired consistency is reached.  
              Remember: this is the filling and you don't want it running out of the éclair.

     1 (e). Incorporate butter while stirring

     1 (f). Allow to cool.

2. Prepare the choux pastry

     2 (a). In a saucepan, bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil, then remove from 
              heat

     2 (b). Incorporate the sifted flour into the hot liquid and mix quickly until smooth

     2 (c). Return saucepan to low heat and stir vigorously for a minute so that the dough pulls
              cleanly away from the sides

     2 (d). Remove from heat and allow the batter to cool

     2 (e). Add the eggs in one at a time, fully incorporating it into the batter with a spatula before 
              adding the next

3. Prepare oven 350F

4. Pipe the choux dough 12 cm long with a piping bag fitted with 10 mm plain tip onto a silicone 
    mat or parchment

5. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, when the dough has puffed up, open the oven door slightly to 
    allow steam to escape.  Continue to bake for about 30 more minutes with the oven door 
    slightly ajar until golden

6. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack

7. Prepare chocolate pastry cream

     7 (a). Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator and whisk until smooth

     7 (b). Chop the chocolate on a cutting board and place into another large bowl

     7 (c). In a sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil and pour over the chocolate

     7 (d). Stir together until smooth.  If still not completely melted, heat in microwave 10 seconds 
              at a time and stir

     7 (e). Whisk together the pastry cream and chocolate ganache until well combined

     7 (f). Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm

8. Using a 8 mm plain piping tip, poke 3 holes in the base of each éclair - left, middle, right, 2 cm
    from the end

9. Fill a piping bag fitted with 8 mm plain tip with the chocolate pastry cream

10. Pipe cream into the 3 holes in each of the éclairs

11. Prepare chocolate fondant

     11 (a). Place fondant in a double boiler with simmering water and heat gently.  Fondant should 
                not exceed 34C

     11 (b) Chop chocolate on a cutting board and place into another heatproof bowl

     11 (c) When fondant has melted, remove from heat and place the bowl of chocolate over the 
               double boiler to melt

     11 (d) In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to boil to obtain a syrup

     11 (e) Mix the melted chocolate into the softened fondant

     11 (f) Add the syrup and stir until smooth

12. Dip the tops of the éclairs into the chocolate fondant and allow to cool and set

When chocolate is tempered properly, it will have a shiny lustre
Do not allow already tempered chocolate to exceed 32C
If exceeded or not tempered, heat to 34C, cool it to 27C, and reheat it to 30C
DO NOT exceed 42C as it will begin to separate

Yield: 10 eclairs
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Meow did not do the chocolate fondant for the tops as I didn't have any fondant nor was I willing to make it.  Fondant involves whipping syrup and sometimes egg whites to create.  Last time Meow whipped syrup was the Not Nougat incident, so NOPE.  Instead, Meow melted the chocolate and added a little bit of heavy cream to help it melt and make it smooth and stir-able, then dipped the éclairs.  This alternative worked decently, though the chocolate tops did not set too firmly.






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