Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Bakers, August: Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

It's Daring Bakers time, it's Daring Bakers time, it's Daring Bakers time, it's Daring Bakers time (sung to the tune of the Howdy Doody theme song).

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At the beginning of the month, the designated DB host(s) assign a register to be worked on secretly by the growing ranks of Daring Bakers. At the end of the month, on an assigned day, the DBers reveal their projects on their blogs! This month's hosts, Tony Tahhan and MeetaK assigned Pierre Hermé's chocolate eclairs!

This shot makes me want to watch "Hunt for Red October."
Daring Bakers August: eclairs



This wasn't my first time with choux paste--that piped pastry dough that you bring together in a pot over heat then pipe onto sheets and bake so your forms puff up and dry out. In fact, one of my first baking projects when I first came to realize that cooking and baking could be enjoyable was cream puffs and eclairs.

I went on to make more in a couple of my baking classes. Observe my pate au chouxstriches:
Swans__Ducks__Ostrich
Bless my patient chef-instructors whimsy-appreciating heart.

And at home the one and only time I made those stinky gougères, but we needn't speak of those. On to the project!

I try to be good and pipe my choux paste with enough room around each piece.
Daring Bakers August: eclairs

And so they have room to puff up (I piped two lines, one on top of each other, so they'd come apart, sorta like hot dog buns).
Daring Bakers August: eclairs

But then I get impatient waiting for sheets to cool and only baking a few pieces at a time, so I just plop as many out as I can fit on a sheet.
Daring Bakers August: eclairs

Because I know that, unless it's a runny cookie dough, I won't have many, if any, problems (yet).
Daring Bakers August: eclairs

I served them on a sushi platter. Four inches was just the right length! It made me realize how gargantuan a lot of bakeries make their eclairs these days--they remind me of long john donuts (maple bars, for your more refined types).
Daring Bakers August: eclairs

Sometimes, eclair glaze is a bit dull or stiff (see below); this is usually because it's allowed to cool too long, and it sets up into a frosting. If you dip them while the chocolate glaze is still warm and flowing, it will come out shiny.
Daring Bakers August: eclairsv

When life hands you choux paste and some homemade honey vanilla frozen yogurt, make profiteroles. See the chocolate frosting. Yom.
Daring Bakers August: eclairs

In truth, as much as I want to love choux paste, I usually don't. The dough is usually pretty bland, and all too often, soggy from sitting around with its feeling's moisture seeping into the crust. If you're going to have things like eclairs, making them at home is, hands down, the best way to do it. You get the crisp shell that you're supposed to, the delicious pastry cream, which I do love, is fresh and cool, and you get the flavors and textures you should without sacrificing them to time spent in a display case. Try at the recipe, available at the hosts' blogs (way up top). I know for a fact that choux pastries also make for good shells for tuna and chicken salads and the like!

Check out the other Daring Bakers' blogs here!

15 comments:

Rosa said...

What adorable little pate au chouxstriches! You are very talented.

Natalie... said...

Wow yours look excellent and they all puffed up hehe! Your swans look amazing too!

Ahmad said...

Your eclairs are so perfect! Great regularity I didn't achieve. Bravo!

Dhanggit said...

You've done a fabulous job with this eclair!! Im falling in love with them!! You are indeed one talented baker!!

ARLENE said...

They're so big and puffy! Good job!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Perfect shape and very delicious looking!

Mcwhisky said...

Your eclairs looked firm and all puffed up. Beautiful eclair you have right there! The glaze are even too! Good job!

Marija said...

Oh you made all kinds of them! They all look wonderful, but the chouxstriches, they are perfect!

Tablebread said...

Julie it's no wonder why you became a Chef! You have such amazing talent to turn such an ordinary dough into art! Beautiful as always.

Angela said...

Beautiful eclairs! And all the same size and shape, too. Bravo!

Eat4Fun said...

Great looking eclairs and photos!
The pate au chouxstriches are a hoot... I guess that would be an owl. lol.

Dragon said...

You have talent. Both with baking and photography. Great job!

Rebecca said...

Wow, thanks for all the tips! Great post.

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

These look so great - I could reach right thru my monitor and grab one!! You nailed this one for sure.

amy said...
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