(NOW WITH PICTURES!)
I was so excited to see that this month’s challenge was for Eclairs! We are at my mom’s this weekend, and unfortunately although we brought the camera to take the photos, we did not bring the cable to download them. So I will have to put pictures up on Tuesday when we are back!
Anyway, I have always wanted to make them, and although there were things the recipe called for that I had never made in the past – namely choux pastry and pastry cream, the process didn’t look too difficult.
I waited until this weekend to do the challenge, because I have a really small kitchen and not a lot of pastry equipment, like pastry bags and tips and the like. But my mom does, and she has made cream puffs many times before. This was a crazy month for me, and so I felt this challenge had a better chance of getting finished, if I had her help. So I waited until yesterday to do the challenge, so I could do this fun project with her.
When Roberto and I arrived here yesterday afternoon, I hadn’t even gotten the challenge ingredients yet. But I knew that I wanted to do vanilla pastry cream with some kind of summer fruits and the chocolate glaze on top. The only requirement for this challenge is that we use the recipe for the choux pastry and have one chocolate component – whether it be chocolate pastry cream or chocolate glaze on top. So we went to the store after dinner and there was an abundance of beautiful fruits. We got kadota and black mission figs, fresh blackberries and blueberries, and something I had never had before, fresh currants. They were very reminiscent of the lignonberries I had eaten when I lived in Norway, but again, I had never eaten lingnonberries. Both the currants and blackberries were tart, so I decided to combine them with the sweeter fruits.
We made 3 different fillings. Regular vanilla pastry cream, pastry cream mixed with currants and blueberries and the other with pastry cream mixed with black figs and blackberries. We also made 2 different shapes – Eclair and puffs. Of course, as per Meeta and Tony’s specifications, we made a chocolate glaze for the tops. Everything turned out beautifully, except that a lot of the Eclairs and puffs fell. My friend Judy, warned me that this might happen in sweltering humid Florida heat, but the cream and fruit perked them right up, and they turned out really wonderful. We finished the project at 11:30 last night, but before retiring, we each tried one of each flavor, and it was really hard to pick a favorite. All I can say is that I am glad there are some left and I don’t think I will turn them into ice cream. Although I am not too sure what I am going to do with the extra pastry cream!
If you want to try your hand at Eclairs, please check out the wonderful recipe that follows after the cut by Pierre Herme.