Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A non-cupcake challenge: eclairs!
My new favorite show is Martha Bakes, where the great MS bakes 3 different things all using one base recipe. After watching her show on choux pastry, I was so inspired I made it the very next day.
Choux pastry is a cooked dough that when baked, puffs up hollow inside so you can fill it with yummy things. It sounds terribly complicated but was truly easy to do.
I made both eclairs and cream puffs, the only difference being the shape. They were filled with a vanilla pastry cream and dipped in an espresso glaze. Yum! Everything was easy to make and assemble, although a bit time consuming.
After making the dough on the stovetop, I transferred it to a piping bag and piped out long strips and round circles, for eclairs and puffs.
When they came out of the oven all puffy and golden, I literally squealed with delight! It's always uncertain when baking something for the first time, and I couldn't believe they came out perfect the first time. I opened one up to see if they were indeed hollow, and they were! So I naturally had to eat the one I cut into :)
They were filled with vanilla pastry cream, which was then lightened with whipped cream, to make a truly heavenly filling. It was quite easy to fill them, just poke the tip of the piping bag in, and there you go! They're already hollow anyways.
After filling, the tops were dipped in a decadent espresso glaze. The glaze was just powdered sugar, milk and espresso powder. Yum! It smelled amazing.
Once complete, the pastries looked all professional and pretty! I still almost can't believe that I made them. It seems that they should be in the case of a French bakery in Paris, not in my kitchen :)
Now, for the taste: they were delicious! I hardly ever eat what I bake, but I could not resist. Soft and light, creamy and airy. How can something so decadent still be so light?
I had leftover pastry cream and glaze, so the next day I made another batch of pastry and used it all up. They were gobbled up quickly! Thanks Martha for inspiring me to try something new!