31 August, 2008

August Daring Baker’s Challenge: Chocolate éclairs

(a recipe featured in Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé*)
All I can say is that these tasted good: turn around, touch the ground, jump up and down good. Although the choux pastry did not rise as much as I wished, the pastry cream was gorgeous; the death-by-chocolate kind. I’ll be making these again, albeit with a Pâte à choux recipe comprising simpler, less panic-inducing directions.

The challenge gave me a great excuse to acquire a pastry bag, which I used for piping both the choux pastry and the pastry cream. Thanks to the August hosts, Tony and Meeta, for a great recipe choice and the opportunity to bake creatively.

*Not having heard of Pierre Hermé before, of course I googled him. Wikipedia states that this French pastry chef has been called "the Picasso of Pastry" (Vogue) and "The King of Modern Pâtisserie" (The Guardian), and “The Kitchen Emperor" (New York Times). Even without these gushy credentials, Pierre’s chocolate pastry cream recipe is one to share. I think it would make a great chocolate tart filling and would be excellent with meringues.

Pierre Hermé’s chocolate pastry cream

2 cups full-cream milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbspn sugar
3 tbspn corn starch
200* g bittersweet chocolate, melted (70% cocoa solids)
40 g unsalted butter, at room temperature.

*Personally, I think 150 g is enough.

Bring the milk to the boil, in a small heavy based saucepan.

Whisk yolks, sugar and cornstarch together until creamy. Add a little of the hot milk to the yolk mixture to temper the mixture (the temperature is raised slowly so the mixture is not scrambled) and whisk vigorously. Continue whisking and slowly pour the remaining milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

Strain the mixture back into the saucepan. Place the pan over a medium heat and keep whisking. Bring the mixture to a boil for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Immediately stir in the melted chocolate.

Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place in an cold water bath to stop the cooking process. Continue stirring so the mixture remains smooth.

Once the cream has cooled to 60 ºC, remove from water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return to the water bath, stirring occasionally until cool.

The cream may be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.


MaryMary said...

I love the swirly chocolate deco. Cheers to your first challenge, they look fabulous!

Lunch Buckets said...

Pretty! Welcome to the group :)

Eat4Fun said...

Congratulations on completing your first DB Challenge!
Great looking photo too!

samele said...

yes turn around jump up and down good! real real good.. I loved it! and I love your photos!

silverrock said...

Oooh, that eclair looks so cute! I love the swirled chocolate glaze decoration. Way to go on your first DB challenge.