...Hello?? Are y'all there?
It's been notoriously long since my last blog post, and boy do we have a lot to catch up on! First off, say hello to my little friends, Les Éclairs a l'érables or as I like to call them Maple Yum Bombs. I figured we might as well start off the new year with something fancy. Yes, it is March but hey 2018 has been crazy, am I right?!
Sometimes you just need to bite into something delicious, creamy, and most of all, indulgent.
Almost a week ago, my family said goodbye to my Grandma Doris. Born Doris Crews, later to become Guthrie, my grandma was the kindest, most loving, most patient woman a grandkid could ask for. As the mother of 6 (SIX!!!!) girls, I am honestly not sure how she did it, but she made all of her kids and grandkids feel loved and cherished. There's a lot of amazing memories and details about my Grandma Doris, but to be honest, I am not sure I am ready to talk about all of it. I am lucky to have the family I do, and, of course, lucky I can turn to baking when I am feeling down.
Needing something sweet and distracting, I turned to my shelf of cookbooks for inspiration. Surprisingly enough, I found a whole book on choux pastry I hadn't cracked open and new a cream filled bar was the perfect treat to dive into. A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to visit L'Éclair De Genie for the most beautiful éclair selection I have ever seen. Everything they make is absolutely stunning and perfectly coiffed BUT making éclairs at home really isn't as daunting.
Choux pastry, the base of the éclair bar, is one of the most simple pastry recipes you will find. Limited in ingredients, it really is quite simple to whip up and puffs up tremendously once you pop it in the oven. With a rich ganache to top it off, it's quite easy to hide any imperfections your dough may have.
Now for my favorite part -- the creme pat. Okay, the real name is "crème pâtissière" but let's be real: it's custard. Delicious, creamy, luscious, milky goodness. This is basically a classier Boston cream donut with a hint of maple.
Now I realize the recipe may seem complex - there's three parts to it - but I can't stress enough how delicious this is. The perfect indulgent distraction for a rainy day.
Love you all. I promise to blog more often. And BON APPÉTIT!
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 stick, unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- 1/2 cup bread flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, whisked, room temperature
- Egg Wash: 1 egg yolk, splash of milk, and pinch of salt whisked together
Preheat the oven to 425*F. In a medium saucepan, heat the water and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Once melted, reduce the heat to medium-low. Sift together both flours, salt and sugar over a medium bowl. Add the sifted ingredients to the butter mixture at one time and stir vigorously with a wood spoon. This dough comes together quickly. When the pastry starts to form a ball and pulls from the sides of the pan, slide it over into the medium bowl (from the flour). Let the dough rest for a minute or two so the temperature cools slightly. Add in half the beaten eggs. Stir until the mixture becomes glossy and then add more egg, continuing until you have a uniform dough.
While the dough is warm, pipe the dough (large plastic bag with a small hole will do, into 3 1/2 in strips onto parchment lined baking sheets. The strips should be about 1/2 an inch high. They will rise! Take a fork and very lightly drag it along the top of the eclair strips to help them rise properly. This video helped me out. Bake at 425 for about 23 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for another ten minutes. This ensures the pastry will dry out and allow for a hollow center (to fill with CRÉME!). Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
Maple Crème Pâtissière
- 2 cups warm whole milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp unslated butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp maple extract
Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until it starts to simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together until they thicken. This will take about 2 minutes. In a medium bowl, sift together the sugar, salt and cornstarch and add all at once to the eggs. Whisk until combined. Slowly drizzle in the warm milk (not to fast - don't cook the eggs!), whisking the whole time. Strain the mixture through fine mesh back into the saucepan and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. The cream should be thick enough to hold in a spoon. Put the creme into a clean glass bowl and whisk in the butter, vanilla, and maple. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it over the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using to fill your éclairs.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate
Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until small bubbles start to form on the side. Do not let the cream boil or form a "skin" on top. Pour hot cream over chopped dark chocolate and stir until melted. Let cool for a minute or two and then dip you filled éclairs. Try not to drool before serving. Chill dipped, filled éclairs in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes before diving in. Yum!