Sunday, August 31, 2008
Daring Bakers: August Challenge
My first endeavor for the Daring Bakers was this Chocolate Eclair challenge for August. I had to do it early because I knew (a) we're moving into a new house on the 23rd and (b) we'll be traveling for my friend Wanda's wedding the weekend I'm actually supposed to post this. It's been a busy month.
The baked pate a choux. I made the regular finger-shaped eclairs, plus cream puffs.
To be honest, eclairs aren't high on my list of craveables. I think because wherever you go, the fillings vary widely and some are hard to choke down. But the recipe intrigued me, though I'm not the biggest fan of double chocolate things. Plus, hey, it's my first challenge. So the rules stated that everyone makes the same pate a choux (the base pastry for the eclair) and at least one of the chocolate elements, either chocolate pastry cream or the chocolate glaze. I chose to make the pastry cream as it was least fussy, and I only made half after reading comments about how much there was leftover. After George and I nibbled at two filled eclairs, I gave up pretending the filling was good. It was far too rich for me, and the eclair base too eggy. I whipped up a cup of cream, folded in the rest of my chocolate pastry cream, and filled up half of the remaining eclairs with a more palateable filling. Of course, the chocolate ganache was also rich. But I couldn't bear to toss it. Sigh. So in another tweak, I mixed a half cup of thawed raspberries and a teensy squeeze of lime into the other half of my whipped/pastry cream. Finally. The tartness of the berries was the perfect addition, cutting the richness of the chocolate but also complimenting it. I filled the rest of the eclairs, and we didn't count how many we ate.
The fillings: a cup of ganache, testing cup of whip folded with pastry cream, big bowl o' whipped cream, the chocolate pastry cream (original recipe), a test bowl of raspberry-chocolate pastry cream.
If I were to make eclairs again, which is highly improbable unless they're FOR something, I would opt for another recipe for pate a choux. This one, very eggy and a little salty, didn't have the great puff and had a slightly disappointing texture after all the work.
And then, the eating began! I'm surprised there aren't smears of cream on the camera lens.
Anyway, recipe to come or please email me, if you still want it after that rave review! I have a lovely Word file ready. They do look delectable in the pix, and, I must say, I licked my fingers continually. Good thing I didn't share!