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Daring Bakers éclairs

I’ve just finished Pierre Hermé’s éclairs for the monthly daring bakers challenge!
It was my first DB challenge and I’m over-excited about all this!
As I have Pierre Hermé’s book that features this recipe, I’ve followed the original PH’s recipe instead of that on Dorie Greenspan’s book.
After seeing lots of images from other participants, now it’s time to share mine…

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C. Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 1,4 cm plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, about 11 cm chubby fingers.
Leave about 5 cm space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

125g whole milk
125g water
115g unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
140g all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

500g whole milk
4 large egg yolks
75g sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
200g bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Notes:

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 300g)

80g heavy cream
100g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
20g unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
110 g Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 525 g)

130 g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
250 g water
125 g crème fraîche, or heavy cream
70 g sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

My changes:

Before I bake the éclairs, I’ve brushed them with a mixture of egg yolk and water.
I’ve made a caramel custard with dark chocolate and another one with white chocolate.
Instead of spreading the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal spatula i’ve preferred to put the éclairs upside down into the glaze.

Caramel custard:

300 ml cream
600 ml milk
200 g sugar
80 g cornstarch
3 egg yolks

In a bowl mix together the egg yolks, cornstarch and a bit of milk (enough to dissolve the mixture).
In a saucepan prepare a caramel with the sugar sprinkled with water.
Slowly add milk and cream and bring to boil.
Pour the milk into the egg mixture stirring constantly.
Place the pan over the heat again and stir constantly to thick (without boiling).

I’ve divided the custard in two equal parts. I’ve added 80 g of dark chocolate to one of them and 240 g of white chocolate to the another.

While the custard is still hot, I’ve added the chopped chocolate and stirred well until perfectly combined.

Four Cuartos

Typically from Palma de Mallorca, cuartos are served with hot chocolate or a cup of sorbet.
Tender, light and soft, directly from my oven…

Cuartos

serves 18:
12 eggs
200 g icing sugar
200 g cornstarch

Pre-heat the oven to 180º C.
Prepare small paper boxes (10x6x3 cms).
Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until it doubles its size.
Add the whipped egg whites and the sieved cornstarch.
Pour the batter into the paper moulds.
In a baking sheet bake for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and hit with the baking sheet on a table to avoid wrinkles on the surface.
Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Note: you can see a picture sequence of the process of making the little paper boxes here.

Morning crepes

Crepes wake up… and washed by the morning light the tablecloth stretches itself over the table.

Crepes

Serves 20:

140 g wheat flour
2 eggs
200 ml water
200 ml milk
30 g melted butter
25 g sugar
a pinch of salt
Vanilla

Blend everything until smooth, strain if necessary.
Dip a piece of paper towel in melted butter and use to brush base of a 16cm non-stick crepe pan over medium heat.
When hot, pour in just enough batter to cover the base.
Cook on both sides until golden brown.

Serve with jam, fruit, custard, ice-cream, cheese, chocolate, caramel…

Chocolatherapy

Chocolate cake

Serves 8-10:

187 g butter
187 g sugar
187 g chocolate
70 g cornstarch
5 eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
Grease a pan (23 cms diameter) and line with parchment paper.
Melt gently together in a double boiler butter and chocolate.
Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until creamy.
Add chocolate, cornstarch and the whipped egg whites.
Bake for 50 minutes.
Let it cool down.

Frosting:
200 g chocolate
4 tbsp water
30 g butter
100 g icing sugar

Melt chocolate in a bain marie.
Add sugar, water and butter stirring gently.

Spread frosting over the cake.



Rolls on my kitchen scale

Yesterday I thought it would be the end of Augusts’ recipes.
I’ve washed so well (“extensively well”) my scale that it started to hallucinate with very strange reads… I even thought to write them down as a secret revelation of some lost recipe, but between ounces and grams at full speed I thought it was better to take it to an exorcism and I’ve put the hairdryer in action.
Without any visible results and with my blown budget I couldn’t afford another till next month…
Early this morning it was alive… and with an enormous happiness and a soft kiss we’re back to hard work!

Banana rolls with mango custard

8 rolls (12 cms diameter):
Brick pastry
2 bananas
60 g sugar
12 g butter
Rum

Mango custard:
300 g cream
200 g milk
5 egg yolks
100 g sugar
175 g mango pulp, sieved

To the custard:
In a bowl mix egg yolks, sugar and enough milk to combine all the ingredients.
Bring the remaining milk and cream to boil and pour over the egg yolks mixture stirring constantly.
Sieve and bring to low heat (without boiling) to cook the egg yolks and the custard stays at the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and add the pulp.
Refrigerate.

Prepare a caramel with the sugar and butter.
Sauté sliced banana.
Add rum to flambé.
Remove from heat.
With a spoon place the banana on a corner end of the brick pastry. Fold bottom brick pastry over filling, fold in sides, brush the end part with a thick mixture of water and flour and roll over to enclose its contents.
Deep-fry until crisp and golden.
Serve hot with cold custard.

To make this small rolls I’ve cutted 12 cms circles of brick pastry.
I’ve sprinkled the custard with some mango pulp.

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